Hate the people search?

Apr 11th, 2009 | By | Category: Campus News, News

Raymond Lehnhoff

Webmaster

If you dislike the fact that all of your information is disclosed on the people search website, you may rest a little easier now.

The wonderful folks over at Missouri State University’s Department of Web & New Media have taken measures to protect your information that you don’t want people to see by implementing a “Hide from People Search” option, located here. While the ability to hide yourself isn’t inherently new, this way of providing it is. Previous to this implementation, you would have to have a FERPA hold put on yourself, which would then complicate everything surrounding your user account with the university, and could even limit what positions you could hold on student government, as some require your position within the organization to be public.

In addition to this, the whole search look has been revamped, and those of you that may have the FireFox plugin Operator may now add people to your email’s contact list directly from the detailed results page. You may wonder why we need these features, as probably less than 1% of FireFox users have this plugin, but Missouri State’s website takes an active stance to stay up-to-date with emerging technologies. Implementing hCards is not difficult, but it’s another way to stay ahead of the game. The functionality is provided for those that would want it.

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4 comments
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  1. Awesome, thanks Ray!

  2. This isn’t really a comment on the article itself, but I’ve always wondered why so many people are concerned about online privacy such as this. Social numbers, credit cards, and the like I can understand, but why would you want to hide things like your contact information, etc. from people when online? We use tools like Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, and blogging so that people can find us and so that we can communicate with them. Why then do people have this double standard with their personal information?

  3. David Nichols: This isn’t really a comment on the article itself, but I’ve always wondered why so many people are concerned about online privacy such as this. Social numbers, credit cards, and the like I can understand, but why would you want to hide things like your contact information, etc. from people when online? We use tools like Twitter, Facebook, FriendFeed, and blogging so that people can find us and so that we can communicate with them. Why then do people have this double standard with their personal information?

    Most people are frustrated that they didn’t know the information was there in the first place. The funny thing about this is that they are informed upon signing up that we reserve the right to publish their information.

    Also, for students not living on campus, people search would reveal their local address. In some cases that meant their home address, which bothered a lot of people.

    One person working at Web & New Media commented that his ex stalked him through the people search, and he was elated to be able to remove the information now. Putting a FERPA hold just to stop it from being there is overkill in most situations, so they had no alternative.

    The chief difference between people search and facebook is this, David: People can’t control what goes into people search. You can say you live in Finland on your facebook profile if you want to, there’s something about them “losing control over their information” that they hate, not necessarily what’s shown.

    Hope that helps to answer your question.

  4. @Ray
    I suppose your right. I guess part of the reason it puzzles me is the fact that I’ve become accustomed to transparency on the web. I’ve gotten to the point that I don’t care if people know where I am and what I’m doing all the time. The group of people I associate with online are the same way more or less. Maybe that’s Twitter influencing me, I don’t know. I enjoy the transparency, but I suppose others do not.