Warning: This blog entry was written two or more years ago. Therefore, it may contain broken links, out-dated or misleading content, or information that is just plain wrong. Please read on with caution.
What Else I Can I Learn About You
At this stage you might say big deal. How bad can it be if a website knows where I am or how long I spent on a website. Well at this stage I cant learn anything more about you... unless you leave a comment.
Like all websites to leave a comment you need to supply a name and email address to complete the submission process. In addition you can optionally leave the address of your website and/or twitter handle. With this information I now know your name and how to contact you (if I so wished). I can search facebook using your name/email and gather information that way (more on this later).
If you gave me your website domain it is possible for me to look up the registered details for that domain name (which include the domain owners name and address.
What Info Can I Get From Twitter
So lets say you gave me your twitter handle. Well I can now follow you and determine what your interests are. By seeing who you follow and what you say I can determine what your politics are. If you are signed up to a service like foursquare I can get notifications about where you are whenever someone signs you into a location.
Going back to mobile devices for a minute. If you have a twitter app on your mobile device, more than likely it will have a feature to send your location with your tweets. This would be great information to know if someone wanted to burgle your house and needed to know if you were out.
Facebook Is A Gold Mine
If you are starting to get a bit worried then you should really think about the information you put out on social networking sites like Facebook and MySpace.
Social Networking sites are a goldmine of personal information. If your profile is visible, I can learn who your friends are, who your relatives are. What your date of birth is and the name of you pet dog. By themselves these are pretty useless pieces on information... unless they also happen to be the answers to security questions for your online banking account.
How many of us have played online games on social networking site. Do you remember them asking permission to share your personal details with the app? Do you know what details were shared and how those details were used? Its pretty easy to create an app that can report all your personal details back to a third party database (to be used for anything).
Oh and speaking of online banking. I really hope you didn't decide to "Like" your banks facebook page, because now I know where you bank.