Too much information

Last night I spent quarter of an hour on the phone explaining how to hook up a Belkin wireless router to an NTL cable broadband connection for multiple computers.

Even now I don’t know who I was talking to and he didn’t know me, but he did know my name, phone number and presumably my address. He also knew that I had a Belkin router and NTL broadband. How? Because of an Amazon review I posted.

So pleased was I to install some hardware that just worked, I had the urge to tell the world all about it. Foolishly, it seems, I posted my full name and home town with the review. Armed with that information it is easy to find someone’s phone number, particularly if that person has a fairly uncommon surname.

For the most part, I’m happy to help strangers (hopefully I occasionally succeed in that on these very pages), but this incident was somewhat unnerving. It drove home just how much information about us is out there in the public domain, and not just behind the Data Protection Act in company mailing lists.