I’m following the guidance in Michael Bazzell’s book “Hiding from the Internet” to take control of my internet presence.

image: damage

Perhaps I shouldn’t be surprised, but I’ve found myself reducing my presence by adding to it. I’ve filled in some gaps in my preblog. In other words, it feels like I’ve gone backwards, and increased by presence. All the same, what I’ve actually done is simply add to my website some things relevant to me that already exist elsewhere online. Since one role of my website is to act as a dull autobiography and aide dd’ennui, and since these things are already out there, I’m not really increasing my presence.

I am surprised, though, at some information that’s online. I had thought I’d carefully kept some things out of the public space, but it turns out that’s not the case. For example, I don’t use my middle name, and it’s not on this site. It is, though, online in some official forms.

Some of the once essential elements of many bank security processes, such as one’s date of birth, is published in electoral register publications, information available for a small fee online. Companies House publish full names of directors. Both publish addresses, past and present. It seems that a lot of the information necessary for stealing someone’s identity is to be openly online, published by institutions or their agents. I’d carefully kept that information offline (and that’s not changing), but I have to now assume it’s public, and act as such.

Having said all this, I believe the state is right to post (most of) that information online, for other reasons, so I’m not going to do anything about it, beyond remember that if someone uses my middle name or knows my date of birth, it means nothing. Unless I can: I’ll have to check that.