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The perils of search engines in the wrong hands

By Mauricio Freitas, in , posted: 16-May-2007 15:42

Last weekend I was talking to friends about the risk of search engines releasing information - any information - about your searches on-line, and unintended consequences, such as insurance companies changing the premium on your life insurance based on knowing that you have searched for information on a known disease.

This was an interesting discussion because it was timely. What if a person searching on you is not qualified to assess the value or quality of the information retrieved?


Andrew Feldmar, a Vancouver psychotherapist, was on his way to pick up a friend at the Seattle airport last summer when he ran into a little trouble at the border.

A guard typed Mr. Feldmar’s name into an Internet search engine, which revealed that he had written about using LSD in the 1960s in an interdisciplinary journal. Mr. Feldmar was turned back and is no longer welcome in the United States, where he has been active professionally and where both of his children live.

Mr. Feldmar, 66, has a distinguished résumé, no criminal record and a candid manner.


This is not the first time I read about border guards searching people's names on Google and deciding to turn the visitor away based on those results. But what if someone has been the victim of a Google Bomb?








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Mauricio Freitas
Wellington
New Zealand


I live in New Zealand and my interests include mobile devices, good books, movies and food of course! 

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