Follow Slashdot blog updates by subscribing to our blog RSS feed


Forgot your password?

What Can You Find Out About Yourself, Online? 179

TexTex asks: "So, I'm doing the usual looking-up-of-phone-numbers-and-addresses thing today, and I'm starting to wonder exactly how detailed some of these engines get. and are giving me different address with the same phone number, but a reverse phone lookup on spits out a third. Granted, I haven't moved around that much in the past five years...but somebody thinks I did. Certain folks who sell background checks and missing persons searches seem to have access to all the cool toys. Land purchase records, post office change-of-address cards, the works. Are these kinds of listings available on the Web?" You'd be surprised at the amount of information about yourself that exists in public records. What are the tools these searching services use, to gain access to this online and how can we (not some company making a profit) gain access to them?

"Freebie searches aside, it seems it is much much easier to find information on someone who's dead than it is on our living friends. does an amazing job of providing info, most of all for free, but I want more. I want more complete info and I don't wanna pay $29.95 for it from the man."

This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Is There a Better Way to Find Someone?

Comments Filter:
  • Well, as more information goes online, expect more to go through carnivore!

    (Hey, how much do you trust your local ISP?)

  • Privacy advocates are going to whine about this, but I think that more information is a step in the right direction -- after all, as the saying go, "data wants to be free." If people want to your address, they're entitled to do so. After all, that's just information, and no one should be able to own a "fact" like an address.

    Now, you might argue that this is going to result in a lot of harassment, either from individuals (not too likely) or from spammers and business (likely). But the same argument used against gun control applies here too. If data is outlawed, only outlaws will have data. If everyone has access to information on everyone else's personal lives, nobody will actually make use of it for fear of repercussion. Is DoubleClick annoying you? Post information about the CEO's secret affairs and watch the media jump all over the company!

    We can only fear data when it is not available to everyone. Privacy is not a "right"; it is an encumberment to freedom. You can't have both free data and privacy. And when it comes to down to the decision, data can only help us move forward. You can't say that about privacy.

  • how can we prevent our info from getting on these sites in the first place? I don't know about everyone else, but I don't like the idea of every Tom, Dick and Harry being able to look up my address and other personal contact info. I know this information is publically available in regular phone books, but last I checked, we have the option of remaining unlisted.
  • Check out . A friend of mine works there. You can find out just about anything if you've got the nickels. I got a report that told me my own stats plus those of my neighbors and the median income level of my neighborhood.
  • by Hrunting ( 2191 ) on Saturday July 22, 2000 @02:53PM (#912788) Homepage
    I found myself on 555-1212, much to my surprise as I've only lived in this location for 2 months and I was entered twice (both with incorrect spellings). What's even worse are the tie-ins that companies like these use. At 555-1212, I could search public records, that required me to provide even more information, or I could look for classmates from high school, which required a host of information about my high-school years. And people will just enter this stuff. They have no worries.

    Personally, I'm careful with the information that I give out, but I'm not paranoid. I know people can find out a lot about me with just very simple searches like this, but at the same time, I don't fill out surveys, I don't fill out sweepstakes registration, and I'm sure as hell not giving out any more personal information than I need to. Unfortunately, many of these sites present that personal information as information necessary to look up your request, which just isn't true, and people freely give it cause they're greedy for the specific information they want.

    But again, I'm not intent on hiding my information. I just want to make sure that it's protected so that only I can change it and so that I can determine how it's used. I haven't heard any successful ideas on how to manage that.
  • Give Egosurf [] a try... it gives some rather interesting results.
  • by SEWilco ( 27983 ) on Saturday July 22, 2000 @02:54PM (#912790) Journal
    Well, you can get some of it directly from the source. Some government agencies sell their public records on magnetic media or through direct queries -- but they're oriented toward commercial access and you may have to pay tens of thousands of dollars and get one set of records for everyone in the state. That's excessive when you just want one individual.

    Some public records are not on line, but private companies wade through them and sell the info. Most of these companies are set up to distribute to the same large companies which deal with the large government collections.

    Individuals and companies who need such info then subscribe to those large collectors, or buy individual records through private investigators and credit reporting services. There also is cross linking, such as when you hire a P.I. in your city and they hire one in another city to go look up records in a distant courthouse.

    But it's often easier for individuals to just pay one of those services than go get individual copies from the original sources.

  • Well, except that the "If x is outlawed then only outlaws will have x" is just as stupid and meaningless when applied to data as it is when applied to guns. If guns were outlawed then less outlaws would have guns.

    BTW, Americans who try to repel an attack or a robbery using a gun are more likely to wind up dead than those who don't. This is a fact. Check your own government's statistics if you don't believe it.

    Consciousness is not what it thinks it is
    Thought exists only as an abstraction
  • I have an unlised phone number and I've tried to find my information online and have thankfully been unsuccessful. The only place that I've been able to find myself is and that is something that I actually registered for.

    I would bet that all of the information that they are getting is coming from public information e.g. documents filed by the court, phone book, web sites you've registered at...
  • (Preface: this article is not about mp3. - Ed.) Carnivore may or may not be a infringement upon our entitlement to privacy. The issue here concerns the implementation, and possible abuse, of the system. Furhermore, IMHO there is an implicit issue of trust in federal government. 'How far are they going to go?' Remember, The FBI exists outside the realm of checks and balances; not that a federated republic can sustain such effectively.... I am cynical. The only reason the populace is hearing about this now, IMNSHO, is on account that the technologies handling Carnivore are already more than ten years old.
    The Fed is letting us know, isn't it?

  • by kabir ( 35200 ) on Saturday July 22, 2000 @03:01PM (#912794)
    > Privacy is not a "right"; it is an encumberment to freedom. You can't have both free data
    > and privacy. And when it comes to down to the decision, data can only help us move forward.
    > You can't say that about privacy.

    While I can see that privacy might be
    considered an "encumberment to freedom" in an ideal situation, I can't help but think that that is a very nieve point of view in the real world. As far as I can tell, privacy is an enabler of freedom, not a hinderence. Privacy, and to a certain degree anonymity, are in fact essential for a tolerable life in a data rich environment. Why do I say this? Because historically detailed and accurate information regarding individuals has been used rather often for oppression, containment, and supression of ideas.

    It's also worth pointing out that privacy and a data rich environment are not, IMHO, nearly as contradictory as your post would have us believe. For example, there is a good deal of information regarding me available in the world. You can find out who I am (assuming for a moment I've been honest) by checking out my domain, web site, people searches, etc. From this data you can link me to an IP range, and potentially monitor my online behaviours. Throw well crafted cookies into the mix and you just get more accuracy. But the fact that so much identifying data is available regarding me, the person, doesn't mean that my privacy need be so thoroughly comprimised every time I log on to the net. Anonymizer services, networks like, group tracking for demographic purposes (as opposed to individual tracking), these are all ways that there can still be a wealth of data freely available while still maintaining a certain degree of privacy.

    Ultimately it isn't data which is a threat to privacy (and by extension freedom) but how that data is linked to actions. And for my money, greater linkage between that data and my actions does not "move us forward" by any means. The whole point of privacy, really, is that deep at the root of our freedom is the freedom to recognize that our governement/organizations in power are corrupt, or no longer capable of serving the people, and to organize against them. The true political reason for privacy is to ensure the posibility of revolution.

    So I don't think that we should let privacy go the way of the wind, but neither do I feel that the cause of privacy is inherently in conflict with the freedom of data.

    Just my $0.02
  • In all three of the directories mentioned in the article.

    I haven't spent any amount of effort in trying to hide myself. I wonder how they put this data together. They're not checking phones, since I've got a whole three of them. They're not checking emails of web registrations. They're not checking property ownership records, because I do own a home.

    I think I used to be able to find myself when I used, and get lots of really ancient addresses, phones and email addresses, going all the way back to '91. But it looks like I've been deleted from there!

    I think I probably ought to be happy about this. But it still makes me wonder how they try to fill those databases up.
  • First off, just browsing through the sites, it seems that they're just collections of info from physical records, and can be dealt with as such. The phone/address lookups, unless the people who run the sites are out of it, seem to reference to the CO of your phone prefix. So, even though you live in Town A, if your CO is in Town B, it will give the ZIP of Town B. Also, this means that you can deal with this information just like any phone book, by choosing to have an unlisted number.

    Also, there are companies out there that have subscription services that will perform almost real time searches through the public records and those records are incredibly accurate. These services don't have an "opt out", which is why collection agencies, subpeona services, etc subscribe to them, because it means that they can find a client and serve them in an afternoon

  • Well, try to avaoid giving any *real* info when filling out forms for those web "freebies" (like free email accounts, etc.). I've checked, doesn't look like there's any truthful info on/about me on the web :).

  • by jesterzog ( 189797 ) on Saturday July 22, 2000 @03:04PM (#912798) Homepage Journal

    Doesn't the US have laws about reverse lookup?

    It caught me a bit by surprise because for a long time, we've had legislation that restricts various types of searching on databases - electronic or not. (This is in New Zealand, and I'm sure many other countries also.)

    The flagship example is that phone companies aren't allowed to make directories searchable by phone number - by anyone outside the phone company, at least. (Similarly, a phone book can't be indexed by number.) I'm not sure of the specifics, but I think anyone who slapped their own reverse index on someone else's database would also be in trouble.

    For the same sorts of privacy reasons, we're not allowed to use one organisations primary key as a primary key in a second organisation's database. Does the U.S. have something like this? It's annoying sometimes that I can't just use someone's IRD number (like a social security number) for a primary key, but there are important ethically based database synchronization reasons for why it's not allowed.

  • BTW, Americans who try to repel an attack or a robbery using a gun are more likely to wind up dead than those who don't. This is a fact. Check your own government's statistics if you don't believe it.

    From the information that I have read in the past, robbers fear people who have guns at home, and it acts as a deterrent. Of course, robbers don't know in advance who has a gun, but as a result they'll tend to avoid the entire robbing residential homes crime segment. Unless they're suicidal or want some extra adrenalin, I suppose..

  • AFAIK, it's perfectly fine... We even had a magnet from the phone company with the reverse lookup telephone number on it. I had used the service a couple times... pretty useful, but it DOES scare me that someone could get your address from just your phone number THAT easily...

    ESPECIALLY because of something they forced us to do at my job... (I'm a cashier at a grocery store.. hey, stop laughing!) If someone had forgotten their little savings card thing, we'd ask 'em for their phone number so we could put it in and still track what they buy (you didn't think that your info was just used for check cashing, did you? tsk...) Well, nearly everyone that was asked just blurted out their number (and that was a LOT of people... probably about 1/3 of the customers we got were too friggin lazy to PICK UP A CARD before they left the house...). I wonder how many of those people got unwanted 'visitors' because someone got their address from that service...

    -- Dr. Eldarion --
  • Actually, you're wrong. If you outlaw something, you don't affect criminals who already have shown that laws won't influence their behavior, but you do have a strong influence on law-abiding citizens and those who don't follow the law then become criminals and are one step closer to other crimes.

    One interesting statistic is that very few home burglaries in the US happen while the family is home while most in Britain happen while the family is home. Prisoners will state flat out that they fear that someone at home might be armed.

    The most commonly quoted statistic about home-owners defending themselves with a gun being more likely to be shot with their own gun is a complete and utter fabrication.

    Personally, I agree that all data should be open. I strongly support companies publishing all salary information, for example. That way, you'd know where you stood. If the company wanted to pay one guy more than others, then it is quite reasonable that it justify that pay.
  • BTW, Americans who try to repel an attack or a robbery using a gun are more likely to wind up dead than those who don't. This is a fact. Check your own government's statistics if you don't believe it.
    There's a lot of evidence out there that refutes that, such as the fact that usually the statictics used compare people who kill the attacker against those who are killed by the attacker. They don't look at the attackers who are scared off by the person just wielding the gun, which is a rather significant number (Justice dept. estimates that self defensive usages of firearms occur between 1.5 and 2.5 million times anually.) Of course, the media never reports on people saved by having a gun, except occasionally in the fkyspeck of the police blotter section.
  • If the phone companies provided a service like that, I'm sure the government would 'give a flying fuck'.

    ... and you know, the government is so full of flying fucks that they have a lot to spare.

    -- Dr. Eldarion --
  • Reverse look-up of phone numbers isn't new. You used to be able to (maybe still can?) look through a printed reverse look-up phone book at a city or county government office. They were a tool for journalists, but probably pretty inaccurate with people moving and whatnot.
  • The first time I did a search on google for my name []. I have wondered ever since who has linked to those ZDNet talkbacks. Every time I go back I always get surprises.

    For instance Usenet articles from the early 90's have be immortalized by David Rusin. A very bad example of my early code has been rediscovered, a random letter in soc.culture.bahai has turned up, etc.

    Sometimes I just have to wonder...

    If you have been online for any time, try your own name. You may be surprised...

  • I must be doing something right. I ran searches on each of the mentioned directory searches, and NONE of them had a listing for me in any of the locations I have lived in for the last three plus years. And I haven't tried living anonymously.

  • Put your money where your mouth is and set the precedent. Fill in the following: Real name: Main email: Home address: Home phone: Social security number: Current place of employment: Salary:
  • Nope, no laws. In fact, my latest Ameritech bill came with an adevertisement for the service at $1.00 a pop.
  • I've given up on protecting "my info." But I do feel MUCH better knowing the routes it takes as it hops from marketer to marketer.

    These are some tactics that have worked quite well for me.

    1) Add a bogus 2nd address line to every form you fill out: Delta Airlines thinks I live in Apt# D, United thinks I live in Apt# U.

    2) Pay for the unpublished (not unlisted) option from your local phone company. (This is huge: local telcos are egregious sellers of info.) Why exactly I have to pay $.75 each month to NOT have my info sold is beyond me.

    3) Spend a few hours every month removing yourself from such engines. Often one database will feed several rebranded engines.

    4) Go to and use their opt-out engine. It takes a bit of doing, but its worth it: just enter your info once, and it'll create foldable, mailable, one-page "gimme off your damn list" letters.

    I'm under no illusions: these tactics just help me SEE who is selling my info.

  • Gnutella facilitates crime eh...?

    I would be willing to bet on the fact that far more illegal activity takes place via internet explorer than by gnutella. Yet we dont blame microsoft because their browser lets you downlod copyrighted music.

    Hell we should whip intel engineers for not making a pentium that has built in copyright checking.

    People are the cause of crime. Guns dont cause murders and murders happen without guns. It's people and to some extent principles (or differences therin) that cause crime.
  • how can we prevent our info from getting on these sites in the first place? I don't know about everyone else, but I don't like the idea of every Tom, Dick and Harry being able to look up my address and other personal contact info.

    IMHO this is just another aspect of the same problem facing musicians who want to control who listens to their music. In both cases, I don't think there is a good way to prevent the data from being distributed if people really want to do so.

  • There are a couple of other Ben Tillys out there. I always wonder if there is any relation...

  • Believe me, I avoid it. Don't get me wrong, I don't mind "telephone book" style information being publically available, it's just the fact that people are using this information to bombard us with endless advertising.

    I bought a domain a while back (can't give false info for something like that) and I can't believe how much electronic and standard mail spam I've been getting addressed to my "organization" and the endless "Is this the [v4mpyr] I was in the marines with in back in 1835?" emails.

    Back when the ILOVEYOU virus was running amok, I got a copy from someone clear across the country whom I've never seen or spoken to. I'm running Linux so I thankfully wasn't affected, but the point is that someone I don't even know had my email address.

    How did these people get this information? I sure as hell didn't give it out myself. I guess my whole point is that we should have the option of whether or not this information is made public (aka all of these companies should be courteous enough to ask us first). It may seem like a tedious task, but hell... it can be automated.
  • I typed in my name into google [] last night and came up with a couple of surprises.

    First of all, I am Joe Average of the internet. I have a few a few pages up, I've moved them around a couple of places and was surprised to find ancient URLs of my pages.

    What surprised me more is that sites I never heard of (much less visited) advertised a couple of my pages. I don't have much personal information on my pages, but I suddenly thought of all the resumes I've seen online.

    Resumes with full contact information of people much more important than me, put up for everyone to see. Then I thought of all the other Joe Averages out there, with pages saying "My name is Joe and I like motorboats, the color blue and Budweiser."

    What if somebody out there is actually reading all these pages? It seems like a mundane job, but it seems people will do anything for a buck these days. Some loner sits at his/her terminal for 8 hours a day, gathers 50 addresses, sells them to 5 different companies at 1 buck a piece and makes $250 in a day.

    Or maybe I'm just really paranoid tonight...

    Sleep tight.

  • You work at Safeway, dontcha? :-)

    A couple years ago, Bell Canada [] had a service called "name that number." You'd dial 1-areacode-555-1313, and for 75 cents a pop, a machine would spell out who owned the line.

    They discontinued it without telling anyone; I only found out when I tried it and it didn't work.

    A quick search on google [] turned up:

    It's interesting how all the telcos introduced and withdrew the service around the same time.


  • I live in Australia where there are no guns and therefore it is harder for criminals to get hold of guns and you never see them. People are more likely to get threatened with a knife than a gun.

    But I must say that I have never been burgeled while I have been home. Even here that is quite a crazy thing to do. For example I keep a maglite under my bed and it would be pretty painful to cop that on the head.

    But also think about this. In Britian there are so few guns that the police don't carry them, they carry battons!

    Oh and I've been burgeled twice at two different houses that I've been at and never has it been while I was at home and both times they forced entry.

    Melbourne, Australia
    ICQ 19255837

  • Privacy is not a "right"; it is an encumberment to freedom.

    You mean I am free to watch you doing it with your girlfriend and you preventing me from looking is an encumberment to MY freedom? Give me a break. Privacy is a right (defined by law in some countries by the way).
  • I knew Google was a good engine, but I haven't been this impressed by a search engine in a long time.

    There's more stuff about me [] on Google than there is on AV or Yahoo. Combined. There's even the infamous post to CSS-WG [] which got me in trouble with my employer, a number of my essays and papers, a campus newspaper interview from the best year of my life, and even an attendance roster [] from a meeting I don't remember going to.

    This suggests that Google knows more about me than I do!

    The annoying thing is the amount of noise, from people with the same or similar names (I. Keith Tyler, Tyler Keith, etc.), and the names of cities in Texas.

    Anyway, I'm impressed, and no, I don't mind this stuff about me being readily available (except maybe the CSS-WG letter). I like it. "Look at me, everybody! I'm on Google!"

    (Well, at least it's more impressive than an ODP [] link.)
  • yup. i cant find anything about me either. luckily these companies dont seem to have access to gas/electricity bills, DMV recorde etc.
  • a reverse phone lookup on spits out a third.

    Went there, didnt find it. Please. Thank You.
  • In the UK directory enquires won't give an address from a 'phone number and they also generally won't give out the phone number unless you know the address AND the name of the person the 'phone is registered to.

    There was (probably still is) a CD called UK-InfoDisk that did reverse lookup, although I think they may have had to withdraw that facility.

  • I've did a search a couple minutes ago, and I found out I'm dead. Why am I always the last to know these things?

    Of course, on the bright side, I've got a hospital named after me.

  • by Carnage4Life ( 106069 ) on Saturday July 22, 2000 @04:36PM (#912823) Homepage Journal
    If data is outlawed, only outlaws will have data. If everyone has access to information on everyone else's personal lives, nobody will actually make use of it for fear of repercussion.

    Your argument makes no sense. The one guarantee that all the online privacy battles have shown us is that people abuse access to other people's private information. If everybody on Slashdot could lookup your address and phone number to flame you every time there was a disagreement, what would happen isn't that everyone would use restraint but instead that several slashdot flamefests may spill into the real world. Remember several people have threatened trolls with violence for posting to slashdot, do you really think it would be great for everyone to have access to every other person's informtion?

    For a real world example, do you think it is safe for anybody a woman happens to give her phone number to have immediate access to her address? If these sites catch on, it would make dating turn into an even bigger game of Russian roulette (and probably completely kill chances of most people ever meeting anybody at a nightclub) than it is now.

    PS: Your text in bold is exactly the point. Currently if someone has an excessive information amount of information about me and/or is tracking me then they are stalking me. Your post seems to want to make stalking a legal right. Whatever.

    PPS: Your many eyes watching theory of keeping peace, was a hallmark of communism in its heydey. Citizens were encouraged to spy on each other and weekly denouncements were held in local meetings. This lead to the tyranny of the majority opinion on those of minorities. It is far easier to enforce conformity when all deviation is available for public consumption. How many people would be actively gay if all it took was a website lookup to determine their sexual preference? Even better how many Wiccans are Satan worshippers would practice their religion of their religious preference was available for all to view? Think about it...

  • by tilly ( 7530 )
    As Mark Twain said, and Stephen J. Gould had opportunity to repeat, "The reports of my death are greatly exaggerated." :-)

    Thanks for the laugh..

  • "Open Source - the criminals [sic] friend"?? Ridiculous!!! Incidentally, Eric Raymond is far from Communist; he's a pro-gun libertarian.
  • AT&T offers a reverse lookup service called Anywho []. You can use it when you're reviewing phone bills online - it's actually very useful.


  • My favorite example of the loss of privacy is []

    This site lists the last sale price of a house, or every house along a street. As near as I can tell, it's accurate, complete, and up to date. I think that the data is from public records of leins against property.

    John Brunner's incomparable The Shockwave Rider described a world where almost all information was free. Anybody could find anybody's history of interaction with the ubiquitous 'net -- including all purchases. Anonymity and privacy were so long forgotten that they weren't even mentioned in the book.

    Shockwave was a novelization of Toffler's Future Shock. The protagonist is able to surf the tsunami of change that was rearranging the landscape of the world...any hacker that hasn't read it should run to their favorite used-book store to get a copy.


  • Anyone remember Rebecca Schaeffer []?
  • If you're a student (or faculty) at a university (at least in the US), all your personal info is ridiculously easy to get ahold of. My ex once needed the e-mail addy of a TA but knew only her first name and the name of the course she taught (not the call number). It took me only 45 minutes (working only online) to find out everything about her. I found that somewhat frightening...
  • UK Info Disk have a site up at [] I can't see reverse phone number lookups there, but if you have someone's name and know roughly where they are you can probably find them

    Not free though, although cheap.

    Hmm this is good, from thier 'privacy policy'

    Most web sites recall information about visitors by using cookies, which are small data structures that identify an individual and allow password protection. When you access from a computer, I-CD may store cookies on your computer's hard drive (NB: Cookies cannot harm or interfere with your machine in ANY way). Cookies may also be stored on's servers when you access the Service by modem.. From time to time, I-CD Publishing may use your email address to share with you information about the new and innovative I-CD Publishing products and services to, which are specially developed or based on information and feedback received from our customers. Your postcode may be used to create an easy to remember personal account number to ensure availability in your area. Furthermore, I-CD Publishing may supplement the information we collect with information we obtain from third parties.

    Might not want to register if you are in the UK...

  • My Texan friends use a term called "kickbangers". They're robbers who kick down the door and start shooting, on the assumption that the homeowners have guns and will shoot them if they(the thieves) don't shoot first.

    Now, I'm just a canadian so they may just tell me all these stories to scare and hype the dangerousness of their wild wild west lives. but they also have shotguns in their trucks, so they may be telling the truth.

    I don't think robbers fear people who have guns at home, because if it becomes wide spread they'll just shoot you then rob you, as opposed to just robbing you.

    but...this was originally a thread about privacy, not gun control.
  • by The Cheez-Czar ( 4124 ) on Saturday July 22, 2000 @04:55PM (#912832) Homepage
    A few weeks ago I got a call from work from slashdot's very own emmett, which suprised me. I'd meet at Linuxfest (it was the best (and unfortunately only) Linux Tradeshow I've been to) , but didn't think I'd gave him my card.

    When I asked him how he found it, he said he found my resume online (The only copy with that work number though was on a friends server with out any outside links to it (that I could remember))

    He asked me to verify my address so he could send me something he said. (I hoped for something that didn't tick), but since I haven't got anything , (except for Credit Card application) I'm sure there is a Slashdot conspiracy and they are secretly compiling a list of contact information of all there readers, for some nefarious Vandover purpose.

    I guess the moral to this story, is if you want to keep your privacy, be careful what you put online, as it is there forever, (with mirrors and search engines). That and never tell emmett your home address.

  • Since no one else is posting any sites to find info... here goes.

    Yahoo! People Search []
    FAQ: How to find people's E-mail addresses []
    Yahoo! People Search []
    InfoSpace []
    ICQ Search [] []

    ...and this is just the tip of the iceberg. Try a search on for your name, you might be surprised.
  • by Christopher Thomas ( 11717 ) on Saturday July 22, 2000 @05:17PM (#912836)
    If you outlaw something, you don't affect criminals who already have shown that laws won't influence their behavior, but you do have a strong influence on law-abiding citizens

    This argument crops up whenever the topic of gun control is raised, and it's valid - in the short term.

    Guns don't last forever, especially when they're in the hands of criminals and likely to be lost on a botched crime or during a gang war or when evidence must be dumped.

    If the general public doesn't have access to guns, the replacement stream for these missing weapons slows to a trickle, for a _long-term_ benefit.

    For an example of what the steady-state situation looks like after gun control, take a look at any country that's already _had_ gun control for a few decades.

    Would I fear getting mugged walking through a city park in the dead of night here in Toronto, Canada? Sure.

    Would I fear being shot? Nope.

    Could one criminal get one gun up here if they really, really wanted to? Probably.

    Could a hundred criminals get themselves an arsenal for a gang war? Maybe if they spent enough time at it, but it would be a hell of a lot more work than it would be down in the US.

    In conclusion, I feel that the long-term benefits of gun control outweigh the short-term problems.
  • by Anonymous Coward
    Okay, Mr. "Data Wants To Be Free", how big is your penis? (Flaccid and erect.)

    This isn't a troll. It's an honest question. After all, if you're of the opinion that privacy is "an encumberment to freedom", then you should also be of the opinion that you have no right to conceal the length and girth of your member from the public. Correct?

    So, how big is it? To prevent you from (ahem) "exaggerating", it might be best for you just to scan it and post the pics on the Web. Use a ruler so that we can easily spot any GIMP or Photoshop trickery. Thanks!
  • You haven't been to the pawn shops in Footscray have you? Its easier for me to buy a gun from a shop here than in the USA. My house has only been robbed twice in a year and the current stats of robbry in Oz say that your house is likly to have a forced break in every 10 months. One in 40 people get robbed while they are at home last year in Oz. I don't think the massive increase in crime is a result off the total ban on guns though.

    Back on the topic...
    One guy was charged and is in jail (damn rare here) for robbing my house and I can't even find out what his name is from the police let alone details like when he will be out of jail (and when I know he will be back). If I find out who this bastard is, he mug shot and personal details will be up on a web site real damn fast.

  • Reverse lookups are available at
  • by Lucius Lucanius ( 61758 ) on Saturday July 22, 2000 @05:38PM (#912848)
    Richard Powers had a good essay in the NY times about the impossibility of privacy. He is an eccentric and shy writer, and never had a credit card or even a checking account, quietly deciding to opt out of the "system". He discovered he couldn't get a phone line installed because he had no history. Even when he offered to pay money up-front. I suppose the IT business rules in the phoneco. were coded that way, and god forbid a human being making a decision on your phone line.

    The point of the essay was that privacy isn't only a personal preference, but it's not *possible* any more if you want to live a fairly normal life. Even getting a phone or a house on rent requires you to be plugged into the system and give your pound of flesh, or live like a hermit in a shack.

    The days when you could visit a doctor and pay only for that visit without involving a multi-billion dollar insurance industry having all your personal records cross indexed, are pretty much gone. Privacy is not possible any more, even if you are willing to pay for it.
  • I have a split view.

    I believe I have the right, as do others, the address of my residence, if they have the means of obtaining that info. I dont believe anyone has the "right" to hide, but if they choose to, so be it, but it shouldnt be a "protected right"

    I believe everyone HAS the right to privacy as far as their property is concerned, tresspassing is a violation of this. however, in a public forum, its your responsibility to keep your own laundry private.

    I dont feel too strongly on this, I believe that its best the government and laws stay out of this, and that each citizen takes what privacy measures he deems necessary, and that its not a problem for the government untill tresspass has occured.

  • I have had something very interesting happen with my personal info. Most notably, there seems to be no acknowledgment besides our phone bills that we have a second phoneline going into our house. I didn't order the line so I don't know what my parents might have said to the phone company when activating it. We previously had the number at another address, and when we moved we transferred it along with us to our new residence.

    a) We don't pay the unpublished/unlisted fee
    b) It's not in the phonebook
    c) I can't find it in ANY online databases
    d) It doesn't reverse search on anywho or anywhere else.

    No record exists of this number at EITHER residence. I would think with our move someone would have picked it up. I can barely find any evidence of it on our phone bill either, other than another page or two. No where do I actually remember the number printed.

    So I ask, how did I accidently manage to keep this number totally anonymous? Perhaps when they ordered the line, one of my parents mentioned it was for a "modem" only? Would Bell Atlantic maybe have some crazy kind of "hey don't waste your time dialing this number cause it's a MODEM" flag? Maybe BA royally screwed up and this number doesn't even exist in their phone records anymore yet it still WORKS? (whee, free calls for me I guess!) This has perplexed me for a while and I was wondering if anyone else ever had this happen.
  • It will come down to "Never do anything that you wouldn't be caught dead doing". (-:

    The baaaaad side is, of course, that you then have to trust *everyone* not to abuse the information. That is a losing game, in a big way.

    Take an "innocuous" example: your online information profile happens to match a pattern that some gummint body has decided typifies mass murderers (paedophiles, people who would sneak a bomb into the US President's 'plane (and now that I have the snoopers' attention) litterbugs, whatever), so you are, in the mildest case, personally watched "just in case" - or in an extreme case, detained or "helped" in some way ("Yes, mister Jones, I hear you saying that you're a doctor. Are the walls comfortable?").

    Or take a case which is likely to be a reality in parts of present-day Germany, for example. The local skinhead club hits your online data in a search for local Jewish, Negro or Asian people (anyone non-Aryan) - and you and/or your house/car/business suddenly get trashed.
  • Certainly a bit odd. I tend to avoid letting the phone company know when I'm using a modem on a phone line since, maybe not now as much as in the past, but they would try to then pawn off some "data quality" line on me, or accuse me of using the line for business purposes and should be paying the higher rate. And even when they've known the line was being used for a modem, they'd still charge for being unlisted as many sysops know. I've used the phone book to look up the number of a BBS before. I'd be shocked if they were giving that cash-cow away for free.

    I suspect it went something like this: They get the transfer request for the number, so they disable it at the old location and send a notification to directory services to have the entry removed. Then they turn around and activate the new location with the same number, and send a notification to directory services with the new entry. Directory services processes the second request first, then when they get the order to remove the entry for that number, it removes both entries.

    If this were Telco-Monopoly, you'd have just drawn a Chance card that says, "The telephone company made a processing error in your favor. Collect $50."
  • Actually, Telus still offers a reverse number lookup service online.

    For BC: click here [].

    I assumed there was one for Alberta, but don't see it. I don't remember whether one ever existed, though.


  • I meant how many Wiccans or Satanists not are.

    I need to use the preview button more often. *embarassed grin*

  • check out [] for listings of Driver's License Info, License Plates, Voter's Registration, Civil and Criminal records for some counties, Sex Offender registration, and some other interesting stuff. only has info for certain states, but if you live in one of those states it's interesting to find info on that guy who keeps stealing your parking space. it costs for a subscription, but it's relatively cheap depending on how often you use it.

    "Leave the gun, take the canoli."
  • Forget phonenumbers and addresses, if doubleclick started selling info to the general public I could probably find out what anyone has browsed in the last few months and have a pretty good idea of their online interests.

    A transparent web (all identies and actions known) would probably be a much less interesting place as people would become afraid to post anything anywhere or even visit potentially questionable sites.

    People like Signal 11 or Vladinator, who put more info about themselves online than even I care to know, are on the other (exhibitionist) extreme...they must be fearless or stupid (perhaps both). I'll bet neither will be proud of their online records (held cached in searchengines for eons) in 10 or 20 years. Imagine if someone cracks into slashdot and reveals all the true identies of the people posting here under pseudonyms (like me) who post thinking they are effectively annonymous.

    I'm sure there are many like me here that egosurf once in a while just to check that there are no unexpected suprises from the past showing up on line.

    On the other hand, if all information about everyone was available online (including surfing and posting history) mabey people wouldn't take this privacy shit so seriously and others might even be surprised that you haven't ever looked for porn on the web or be surprised that you don't have any un-PC opinions about any topic.

    I wish we could all be completely free with all thoughts, fearless of what anyone else thought of our thoughts. But the majority of us fear the thought police and are afraid of what can be found out about us on line. Fscking political correctness, it really sucks.

    Pseudonymously yours,

  • An interesting thing to do next time you register software or give information to a web site is to misspell your name slightly and keep a record of how it was misspelled. Make a list of variations and which site you submitted to. In a few weeks/months when you get junk mail addressed to you with a variation of your misspelled name, you will know which site is giving away your info to others. Probably a good reason to NEVER give out your real info ever again unless absolutely necessary.
    Bored? You can spend hours at Nedsite [] looking for info on yourself and long lost buddies. I imagine trying to opt out of being in all these different databases would take more effort than it's worth. Might as well get used to the idea that there will always be ways for people to find you on the net if they know how/where to search. People in certain professions don't even have an option of opting out - take a look at Lawyer Search [] or Doctor Search []. I also wonder where these guys: Birthday Search [] got their data from.
    Information is indeed begging to be set free - including your own.

  • by gordon_schumway ( 154192 ) on Saturday July 22, 2000 @07:22PM (#912875)
    I went to and browsed around a bit. Then I got a portscan from on 137/udp -- that's NetBIOS. What are they gonna grep my SMB shares for more info?

    Did anyone else notice this? What a bunch of bastards!

  • Just my opinion though, since I haven't psychoanalyzed the person who posted that.

  • I'm a privacy rights advocate.
    I have an unlisted number.
    For some reason, has my number listed with an old address. Don't know where they got it from.

    Additionally, there is no opt out clause on their page. AND, there's a link at the bottom of the page that says "click here for sales leads, mailing lists, and business credit reports."

    Looks like its time for me to move and change my number again.

    = )
  • by / ( 33804 ) on Saturday July 22, 2000 @08:12PM (#912883)
    The Federal law is the Driver's Privacy Protection Act of 1994, and it was upheld by the Supreme Court in January in the unanimous decision of Reno v. Condon [] . In a nut shell, federalism issues don't prevent Congress from regulating the sale of such information as an appropriate regulation of interstate commerce.

    (When the DPPA was originally passed, it only required an opt-out provision be provided to angry motorists. However, Public Law 106-69, 113 Stat. 986, which was signed into law on October 9, 1999, changed that to an opt-in requirement, which will all but assures that no such data will be released, owing to the slightly non-zero intelligence of most Americans and their/our general laziness.)

    One consequence of Reno v. Condon demonstrated, however, is that because Congress has plenary power over these data, while we can hope and demand that privacy be enforced, Congress is equally capable of legislating that companies be allowed to use/sell such data, and under the Supremecy Clause of the constitution, all state privacy laws to the contrary would be trumped. It's a scary thought.
  • Blockquoth the poster, referring to "What if everyone had everyone's slashdot info?":
    Sure, it would certainly give people an extra pause before hitting that submit button.
    Is that really necessarily a good thing? Sure, some idiot posts are avoided. So are some valid, thought-provoking, but karmically-disfavored ones. There's the potential for some huge chill factor.
  • Most of the information that phone number lookup pages report on is publicly available and wouldn't be that hard to create a website theory. What I want to know is how a site like carfax can claim to give detailed information on a car's history. Personally I did all the work on my car by myself, so there is no way they could know how much Bondo is on it or whether or not I set the odometer back, etc.
    To provide even a sliver of the information they claim to be able to provide they would have to have agreements with every auto repair shop in the country, which I don't think is all that likely either, and even if it was then they could only report as far back as when that relationship was formed. The only way they could really provide all the information they say is to spy on every car owner!

    I have to wonder about sites such as that one and the so called "online private eye"-type sites that claim to be able to tell you more about a person than is in an easily databased public record. All of the stuff that the private eye sites claim to be able to get for you is public record of course, but I was trained as a Private Investigator and I'm not so sure that a web server would be given access to the information that they claim. Besides it's not that hard to gather the information yourself, if you've got the money. You might as well just skip the middle man and request the information straight from the government agencies themselves. There are plenty of publishers which sell books with the necessary addresses/procedures in them.

  • After reading this Ask Slashdot and it's thread, I decided to read about *myself*.

    I couldn't believe what I uncovered.

    Here is a direct quote:

    Partnership projects could be exciting and challenging. If necessary, ask for help in completing daily tasks. You may be excited about plans in the office that will expand your horizons. Some romantic situations may not be what you think they are, however. Take off any rose-colored glasses and let others be who they really are. Prepare for the unexpected and celebrate.

    How could *they* possibly know all this about me!? I am shocked and in fear. Please, Mr. Jon Katz, my hero and savior... write one of your insightful articles probing this invasion of my privacy.

  • Let me make it easy.

    The US Constitution []. Complete with annotations.

    Look for the word "Privacy", I dare you.

    If you actually want to learn something about the legal state of privacy in the US you might want to pick up a good book [] on the topic...

  • Well, you probably has as much information on communist state as your local newspaper provides. Which means - blatant lies.
    In fact, in USSR, for example, spying on others, while encouraged by state, has became very unpopular (like, if everybody knows you are doing this, you easily become a social outcast) from at least 60th. Many people still were doing this (refusal to cooperate might bring lots of trouble - or might not, depends on mood of who was proposing), but they had to hide it very well.
    Also, if you take amount of Americans who would report to authorities on neigbour's "strange" behaviour, and same amount of, say, Russians, doing the same. I'm pretty sure number of Russians would be close to zero, while number of Americans would be pretty high. The cause of this is that Americans trust The Man much more than Russians. But the result is that you might have much less privacy in "free" state than in "strict" one - because it would be your 60-years-old-retired-grocery-store-worker neigbour who would be spying on you, not the state.
  • I am one. Always have been. The internet just gives me more people to talk with.

    I remember when I found out in the early 90's that sci.math was read by tens of thousands of people, most of whom never posted. Wow. How could they not post?

    By the time that dejanews began there was already a pretty good history on me had anyone bothered archiving it. Turns out that a few people did. Heck, by the time I found out that dejanews existed they already had a pretty good handle on me. That doesn't bother me. Most of what you will find publically is pretty innocuous. While there are a couple of items out there I would prefer to not have public, they are few and far between.

    OTOH I cannot understand people who have online diaries []. I don't mind chatting online, but I don't say anything that I would object to being announced in a large auditorium...

  • That, my friend, is why moderation is a good thing. In life, there are very few things that are black and white.

    That is why, although the Constitution explicitly states that people have the right to bear arms, there are gun control laws. And that is why, although information should be reasonably free, what you're saying is not very reasonable.

    There is information, and there is private information. They are two very different things. A fictional book and my home address are not the same thing!


  • Whenever I have to give personal information, I just fill in the form with bullshit -- I like to call myself "Pr. Nonnof YURBIZNESS" and my phone number comprises an astonishing number of "69". I also travel a lot, having lived in such countries as Anguila (don't know where that is), Burkina-Faso (it's in Africa, isn't it?), and lately, Antartica.

    Well anyway, a good strategy against that kind of website would be to pollute their database as much as possible. That'd be cool, huh huh.

  • by ralphclark ( 11346 ) on Sunday July 23, 2000 @03:19AM (#912906) Journal
    Oh sure, very determined criminals, members of organized crime rackets and so on will always be able to get guns because (1) they have the resources to do so and (2) the amount of "business" at stake makes it worth it to do so. But petty criminals won't find it so easy.

    Consequently with firearm ownership and supply heavily restricted by law, most of what little firearm offences occur will be perpetrated by criminals against other criminals or during armed robbery of high-value installations such as banks.

    But under such a regime (such as we have in the UK for example) perpetrators of petty crime like burglary, mugging, assault and rape don't have easy access to firearms. Even being found in possession of an unlicenced gun is a serious crime. And conviction of assault with a firearm automatically means a life sentence. Consequently almost all petty criminals eschew guns altogether.

    So where firearms are restricted, as in the UK, very few law-abiding people are ever threatened by a gun. Very few people ever even get to see one. People with guns are not a problem in the UK, and unlawful killing and maiming is pro-rata less common than it is in countries like the US where firearms are unlicenced and easy to obtain.

    Consciousness is not what it thinks it is
    Thought exists only as an abstraction
  • One interesting statistic is that very few home burglaries in the US happen while the family is home while most in Britain happen while the family is home.

    Well actually that just isn't true at all. You made it up just now, I think. Burglaries in the UK tend to happen while the residents are out, because British burgalrs don't like being caught any more than any other burglars. And because they don't have guns, being caught is more of a problem.

    The most commonly quoted statistic about home-owners defending themselves with a gun being more likely to be shot with their own gun is a complete and utter fabrication.

    The statistic I saw was in a document published but a US Government department. I think I trust their competence at collecting statistics better than I trust yours. I don't remember it stipulating that they were shot with their own gun though. If a criminal holds you up with a gun they are *much* more likely to shoot at you if you appear to be about to shoot them. After all, if you have a gun too then its not just the criminal's livelihood and freedom that's at stake, but their life. Making them much more prone to do something stupid like killing you in the heat of the moment.

    The fact remains, in the UK with gun controls we have a lower proportion of unlawful killings and maimings annually per capita than you do in the US, where there are in the US without gun controls. Explain that.

    Consciousness is not what it thinks it is
    Thought exists only as an abstraction

  • A friend of mine popped the $40 to see that this organization had on him. It came back with every address he had for the past 10 years, who else had the same address at the same time, the names of all his neighbors, how much all of those houses sold for, all the telephone numbers he had, a spurprisingly complete list of relatives, a complete credit history, and much more.

    So just remember: you may not want to pop $40 to find out about someone else, but someone else might not have any problems spending $40 to find out about you...


  • But that constitutes denial of free speech, under duress. Or, to put it more simply, if your view is unpopular, even with a vocal minority, they would have all the information they needed to kill you, your SO, your kids, etc.

    If the only way to be safe from psychos is to be invisible, then Slashdot and other such forums lose all meaning. Because only the psychos will post. If you want intelligent, intelligable debate and a SAFE environment to read or post alternative, possible controversial, beliefs and theories, then privacy is an absolute must.

    Lastly, globalising anything is the greatest error anyone can ever make. (This statement probably applies to itself, thus proving it.) To argue that ALL information, under ALL curcumstances, wants to be free is to give an engraved invitation to all the nutcases, wannabe dictators and other assorted ape-like hazards to wreck havoc on humanity.

    Information does NOT want to be free. Information has scope. Slashdot readers should know that from all their Comp Sci and Software Engineering classes. Information wants to be free WITHIN it's scope, but should NEVER be visible outside of that.


    The scope of any person's data should rightfully be defined by that person, and that person alone. It's THEIR data, and THEY ALONE have any real claim to it.

    As for the gun ownership stuff, gun crime in the UK, per capita, is the lowest in the "civilised" world. The murder rate is one of the lowest. The level of decommisioning of paramilitary arms caches is unprecidented. Yes, there are a lot of privacy concerns there, too, but if information wants to be free so badly, I'm sure you're willing to overlook CCTV cameras hooked to a national database of known Potential Subversives, criminals and other assorted "bad guys".

    IMHO, gun control is long overdue. The 2nd Ammendment was designed to prevent a dictatorship seizing control. As Mcarthy demonstrated, it failed abysmally to do so. If anything, it was used to facilitate a dictatorship. (Not just then, either. Ronald Raygun also badly abused this poor, mistreated piece of text.)

    If you want to REALLY prevent dictatorships, then make America a democracy. As a republic, it is a pathetic failure.

    And, yes, I expect people to do searches on my personal information, or what they can find of it. It's possible some of it will even be accurate. But if nobody speaks up when REAL Rights, not just paper ones, are being stripped away, then soon even the paper rights will cease to have meaning. I'd rather stand up, with ALL the inherent dangers of speaking the truth, than be brainwashed into believing that axe-murderers and salesmen (as if there was a difference!) have a right to all my personal information.

  • At least some satanists do not particularly believe in being honest. The very fact that true Wiccans are likely to be ticked off at the pretense is actually a motivation *to* pretend to be Wiccan. Think about it.

  • Oops, typo - should be:

    The fact remains, in the UK with gun controls we have a lower proportion of unlawful killings and maimings annually per capita than you do in the US without gun controls. Explain that.

    Consciousness is not what it thinks it is
    Thought exists only as an abstraction
  • I'm not an American, or even a gun advocate. But this particular argument struck me as extremely flawed.

    The argument may well seem flawed to people who are culturally predisposed to disagree with it. And a cultural predisposition is the *only* reason behind so many Americans desire to keep their guns since their position just does not make sense in the face of the statistics of firearm injury and death. I don't know what your personal reasons are as a non-American. Maybe you're a gun nut?

    A very famous American whose name escapes me for the moment once said: "Those who trade freedom for security neither deserve, nor will have, either freedom or security".

    This is beside the point. Benjamin Franklin, who you misquoted, was talking about resisting a regime that was effectively a foreign power (the British). Not guarding the homestead against bandits.

    What you are advocating is basically this: surrender your freedoms to the government so that government may better protect you. History has shown that that particular line of reasoning has disastrous consequences in the long term.

    Pardon me? Just how far back in history do you have to go to find a citizen of a modern Western country successfully fending off their own government's forces with firearms? This just doesn't happen in the civilised world any more. Get over it.

    What's more - let's say you *were* American: if you and your whole town decided to go up against the government, and the government were against the idea, how long do you think you and your little guns would last against the US army and a virtually unlimited supply of artillery, tanks, attack helicopters, fighter bombers etc. etc. ?

    That whole line of reasoning which I've heard from Americans over and over again about arms to protect one's self from the government is spurious, two hundred years out of date and irrelevant to the issue of self-defence against the much more immediate threat of armed outlaws.

    And anyway, how do you explain the lack of crime in Switzerland, where almost everyone has a gun?

    No need to explain, it is a very poor analogy. Take a moment to ask yourself: how is Switzerland different from America, or South Africa or any of the countries with high murder rates? It is different because Switzerland has no numerous disaffected underclass to envy the rich. Most "poor" Swiss people are much better off than the average Western poor person. This is partly because - and forgive me if this offends anyone's PC sensibilities - the country has a very strict immmigration policy. If you're not Swiss and you don't have money, you don't get in.

    Instead, explain the lack of crime in the UK (relative to the US) which does have gun controls but which is otherwise more similar to the US in social structure, demographics and liberal attitudes than any other country possibly excepting Canada and Australia.

    Consciousness is not what it thinks it is
    Thought exists only as an abstraction

  • If you're in a frontier-type environment like that then you probably do need a gun. The same argument doesn't apply to urban inhabitants of developed countries.

    Consciousness is not what it thinks it is
    Thought exists only as an abstraction
  • It might be that at some point in recent history overall crime rates per head of population in the UK exceeded those in the US. Our societies are more similar than different IMO.

    But violent death and maiming are considerably more frequent in the US because it's just so much easier to squeeze a trigger than it is to stab someone or crack their skull open. And without gun control, all American criminals have that option open to them. It's so good to see that their constitutional rights are being protected :o\

    Consciousness is not what it thinks it is
    Thought exists only as an abstraction
  • I went and browsed a little bit for info on Alfred E. Neuman (what, me worry?) from one of my honeypot machines. (OT, there are a lot of A.E. Neumans out there :-)

    Saw a number of portscans from ( Not just ports 137/138/139, but also 80, 23, and a few of others. It looks like a modified nmap in slow stealth mode.

    I'll have to try from a windoze based honeypot and see what they are trying to dig out of netbios shares.

    I'll be contacting security about this system and its obvious violation of their AUP, but they've got a reputation for ignoring abuses about paying commercial customers.

    the AC
  • Despite the fact that it was returned loaded, when the RCMP found out I had a spare engine, they came twenty knots out to sea to sieze the spare kicker, and took the rifle back because they deemed me to be dangerous. Hmmmm....

    WTF?!? Why is a spare kicker something to be confiscated, even if someone's been deemed "dangerous"? Did they take your spare life vests as well? Your spare anchors and rodes because you might club someone with it? This might be one of the dumbest reactions to any perceived threat that I've ever heard!

    When the enforcement of the law is accomplished on the street by enforcers, and not in a courtroom, this is the defining characteristic of a nazi regime. When you have voluntarily subjugated yourself to this nazi regime by disarming, then you must be content to live with a boot on your neck.

    This statement is right on the money! Liberty is not something which can be granted by a government, for if so, then it is not liberty, but a privilege granted by the state. Unfortunately, most people are basically gutless and do not want to take on any of the responsibility that walks hand in hand with true liberty. They are more than willing to accept encrochments on their liberty as long as they perceive themselves to be safe and comfortable. These same people will be the first ones screaming for more government infringment of liberty the moment they found out that criminals don't obey the imaginary lines and established rules. As if passing another law will somehow, magically prevent the crime. If passing a law is all that's needed to prevent crime, then why don't we make murder illegal? We wouldn't even have to have gun control then, because no one would be killed by criminals.

    This is the lesson that so many seem to be unable to understand: you cannot prevent crime by passing laws. Laws only create more criminals by outlawing certain behavior which was not outlawed before. It doesn't prevent a damn thing. You would have thought that prohibition would have taught the U.S. that lesson, but it went right over our heads. Instead, we're trying to prohibit more things than we ever have before: guns, some drugs, "harressing" behavior... The U.S. has roughly 5% of the world population, and 25% of the world's imprisoned population. Why? The War on Drugs. Has it prevented anything? No.

    One of the best examples of this kind of stupidity was recently banted around here in Utah, where I live. The "Safe to Learn - Safe to Worship" coalition was pushing Utah law makers to make the carrying of a concealed firearm in schools and churches a crime. The argument was that people did not feel safe when law abiding, lawfully carrying citizens - who had gone through both local and federal background checks, taken a safety course and had letters of good standing written about them by two others in order to get the carry licence - were in a school or church. Some parents argued that the idea of a teacher in their child's school with a concealed weapon was endangering their child. Whereas, the idea of a completely unarmed school, being attacked by a criminal outsider was not even brought up. What better way to insure that a criminal has easy access to their dire intentions than to stand up in a load voice and shout "We're unarmed!" If I was worried about teachers having access to harming my children in school, then why stop with guns? Why not cut their hands off so that they can't strangle my son? In fact, why not hack off all four limbs and prop them up in front of the class, so that not only can they not hurt my children, but they certainly couldn't do anything to defend them either. I just don't understand this kind of thinking. Who should I be more worried about, a law abiding citizen who's gone through all the checks and balances, or a criminal who's intentions are nefareous to begin with?

    I have two sons, 15 and 12. I worry like any other parent for their safety. I would much rather have a trusted citizen with a carry licence, carrying a firearm with them to school, than an unarmed school. I am, after all, already trusting them with my children's minds, which has a potential for abuse just as grave as corporeal issues.

    One could argue that removing all guns from society would lower the crime rate. To many it is self evident: but I don't think there has been any type of study done to support this thinking. There are notable exceptions, like Switzerland and Isreal which seem to point to cultural differences having a more dramatic effect. In any case, even if the crime rate were to drop, you've still set yourself to be defenseless in the one way that was the prime reason the 2nd Amendment was written: defense from tyranny by our own government. For those who would argue that it can't happen here, I can only guess that you've been asleep for a while. Waco, Ruby Ridge, MOVE, Kent State, the Lamplughs, the Lehkins in Brunswick, OH... The list goes on.

    Look at Harry and Theresa Lamplugh for a moment. Harry Lamplugh's organization, Borderline Gun Collectors Association, just happens to be the largest gun show promoter in the northeast. Harry has no criminal record. Yet, for reasons unknown, federal agents, specifically the BATF and IRS agents, burst through their front door on the morning of May 25th, 1994, waving machine guns in their faces and trashing the house. Furniture was overturned, papers and other valuables were scattered about. The agents killed all three of their cats, two being poisoned by spilled cancer medication Harry Lamplugh was taking. One female BATF agent, Donna Slusser, deliberately stomped a kitten to death with her boots and then kicked the body under a tree. For six hours the Lamplughs were at the mercy of these agents. "When I asked if they had a search warrant, their first reply was 'shut the fuck up mother fucker; do you want more trouble than you already have?', with the machine gun stuck in my face." Harry said. "They then proceeded to tear my house apart." The warrent didn't even specify a single specific item and no reason was given for the raid. The affidavits were sealed by a local federal judge. 61 legally owned firearms and ammo was taken. Gun show exhibitor lists and show contracts were taken. A stack of mail was torn open, read and then confiscated. Their children's birth certificates and school report cards were taken. At one point a couple of the agents went out for pizza. As they trashed the home looking for the unspecified objects of the warrent, they tossed half empty pop cans and pizza boxes around the rooms. $15,000 worth of material was taken, including jewelry. No charges were ever filed, no property has been given back.

    It can't happen here, my arse. Replace "BATF" and "IRS" in the above with "Gestapo" and "SS" and see if it sounds familiar.

    This is why, I for one, will never submit to confiscation of arms, no matter what the argument about "crime control" may be. Liberty requires constant defense and vigilance. Sometimes, it also requires the blood of those who would stand to defend it. I'm not worried about that price. What I am worried about, and most of the posts on this thread and others I have seen like it tend to support: is that there are too few like me in this country, who accept the price of liberty. It makes me deeply worried for my children's future. I would like them to know liberty, but I'm frightened that the weak will of others and the gutless knee-jerking to the "official policy" will place that boot on their necks.

    - Xiombarg

  • Does this fact apply to law enforcement officers? The military? Should law enforcement and the military not be allowed to have guns either because they are more likely to 'wind up dead'? Do you think there may be other factors here? Like perhaps training?

    This is rather disingenuous. US law enforcement officers are taking a risk when they go out on duty. That's what they are paid for. And as well as training they get Kevlar vests, top-quality weapons, armed backup just a radio call away etc. You *need* them to be armed because everyone else might be armed already.

    In the UK our (quite effective) police force do not routinely carry guns. They are available at short notice if there should be an incident involving a firearm, but because (generally speaking) our criminals do not use them, there is no need for our police to wear guns in the normal course of their duties.

    What you seem to have arrived at in the US is an arms race between criminals and the rest of society. If there were never any accidents or lost tempers or jumpy criminals this wouldn't necessarily be a problem. Unfortunately there are, and many people die who would not have if guns were banned.

    Consciousness is not what it thinks it is
    Thought exists only as an abstraction

  • Re: Netscape

    Eh eh I remember when I wanted to download it, a while ago, I just looked up a John Smith in California on, and used his data ... it worked :)

  • by subsolar2 ( 147428 ) on Sunday July 23, 2000 @12:49PM (#912937)
    That's interesting, I've noticed the same thing from some web sites also. From what I've been able to tell they all run MS IIS on Windows NT.

    So anybody know is there an ASP command to pull that information? And why the heck would the *need* it? I would call it a privacy violation, should we sick the FTC on them?


  • You Americans do make me laugh! You never seem to understand about Ireland. The Irish are their own problem. North and South, they are the same; they must be one of the naturally disputatory people in the world (if you've ever been to the Arsenal in Highbury or any of several dozen pubs in Finsbury Park or Kilburn on a Friday night I'm sure you'll know what I mean).

    The whole point of the partition has been to keep them from one another's throats, and quite rightly, since they have frequently demonstrated difficulties in keeping to a ceasefire and even now the only thing they like better than marching down each others streets banging drums and singing songs about bashing each others brains out, is to actually blow each other (and everyone else) to bits.

    Of course this is a bit of a generalization and in reality the majority of Ulster's citizens on both sides want to live in peace. Just not enough to actually give up their weapons.

    Fact is the situation in Ulster is more like perpetual civil war than peacetime. You can hardly compare it to the US or the UK. As you well know, I'm sure. It's a sure sign of ethical bankruptcy when one side of a debate is forced to make such in appropriate comparisons.

    You are quite right to raise the matter of Dunblane however. If Thomas Hamilton had had only a knife instead of a gun then perhaps only one or two people would have been killed at most.

    It was, however, only in the aftermath of that tragedy that legislation was introduced to limit the sale of handguns in the UK. Prior to that, it was relatively easy to obtain most firearms. And Thomas Hamilton was a properly licensed handgun owner under the old laws.

    We all expect that the new law will make it much more difficult for lunatics like Thomas Hamilton to gain access to dangereous firearms in the future.

    Do I have to spell it out for you? If only the current restrictions had been put in place earlier, then twenty innocent primary school infants would *not* have been brutally slaughtered.

    Consciousness is not what it thinks it is
    Thought exists only as an abstraction

  • With respect to that 225-year old 2nd Amendment argument: out of your list (Waco, Ruby Ridge, MOVE, Kent State, the Lamplughs, the Lehkins in Brunswick) - which of these actually *did* have firearms? And which of those actually used those firearms and won, protecting themselves forever against the entire resources of the US government? I'm genuinely interested.

    I have very severe difficulty imagining that a gun battle with Police SWAT teams, the FBI, the National Guard or the like is EVER going to result in those same Govt. agents surrendering or running away while the brave 2nd-Amendment-supporter waves his fist in triumph. The very idea would ludicrous to anyone but the dangerously insane.

    In fact, if the 2nd-Amendmenter is very lucky indeed, he'll survive to be taken into custody, convicted of a dozen counts of homicide and resisting arrest, and jailed for 500 years. If it's found that he shot and killed officers of the law on that day then his innocence of prior allegations leading up to the siege will not acquit him of those murders.

    But those same agents of tyranny don't tend to be that careful of taking prisoners alive once the shooting starts. Surviving that gun battle at all is far from certain.

    Your whole stand-aganst-tyranny scenario is just living in a fantasy world I'm afraid. Life isn't like the movies where the good guys always win.

    And that is exactly my point. It's often fruitless for people to try and defend themselves with guns against a gun-toting opponent. You're effectively forcing them to try to kill you before you can hurt them. Why is it so hard for you to understand this?

    Consciousness is not what it thinks it is
    Thought exists only as an abstraction
  • Would I fear getting mugged walking through a city park in the dead of night here in Toronto, Canada? Sure.
    Would I fear being shot? Nope.

    Interesting. Guess you didn't hear about the shooting last night at the corner of Sherbourne and Shuter Streets. (Shuter. How appropriate.)

    Or the daily shootings in the Jane and Finch area. Interesting. That's still in Toronto.

    Sure, probably most of the handguns used in Canadian crimes are smuggled across the border. But if the US had more restrictive gun control, it wouldn't solve the problem.

    After all, if you impose gun control, then the only people who will still have guns are the criminals.

    Don't know about you, but I'll be looking for wash-'n-wear kevlar-blend T-shirts from that point on.

  • Could a hundred criminals get themselves an arsenal for a gang war? Maybe if they spent enough time at it, but it would be a hell of a lot more work than it would be down in the US.

    It probably depends what kind of "gang" you are considering. No doubt the more organised "gangs" could find their own gunsmiths.
  • An interesting thing to do next time you register software or give information to a web site is to misspell your name slightly and keep a record of how it was misspelled. Make a list of variations and which site you submitted to. In a few weeks/months when you get junk mail addressed to you with a variation of your misspelled name, you will know which site is giving away your info to others. Probably a good reason to NEVER give out your real info ever again unless absolutely necessary.

    This is actually the same kind of technique advertisers use to discover which of their adverts are the most effective.
  • You are completely and utterly smoking crack. I am Australian. No-one was defending their houses with firearms before. Nor now. The burglary rate DID NOT quadruple. Most parts of Australia have a significantly small proportion of Aboriginal population.

    Pop quiz, "pry the gun out of my cold dead fingers": Why is Australia's murder rate EIGHT PERCENT that of the US? Why is it that for a murder to get mentioned on TV or in the papers in the US, there has to be a special angle on it? In AU, if you're murdered, I can pretty much guarantee you a spot on the front page. Why do most polls indicate that a majority of the AU population are happy with gun control here? (The answer is not "because they are clueless").


  • I could see being a babysitter who wouldn't want to share private info or info about thier pr0n surfing habits for example too (but I don't think I would entrust that person with children if that were the case)

    Say you surf pr0n... do you trust yourself with your children now?

  • "It's addressed to...Mrs. Channandler Bong"

    I've moved around so much in the last few years even Columbia House has given up on me.
  • At a buck per address they'd have a hard time finding buyers. At less than 4 cents per name your loner made less than two bucks for the day.
  • It truly amazes me: earlier in this thread there were one or two guys claiming that crime rates were higher in the UK than the US. But the sort of environment you are talking about just doesn't exist in the UK at all. It's hard enough for me to believe that it happens in Virginia.

    Consciousness is not what it thinks it is
    Thought exists only as an abstraction

"My sense of purpose is gone! I have no idea who I AM!" "Oh, my God... You've.. You've turned him into a DEMOCRAT!" -- Doonesbury