Guilty your honour! I admit that during my years as an internet user, I have occasionally visited my preferred search engine and inserted my name. In case you hadn't guessed already, I will also confess that my real name is not in fact Sir Yorkshire Pudding! When I first did a search like this I got back no more than three or four references to yours truly. I was officially a cypher, a nobody, a veritable Yorkshire Pudding!
Last evening, after putting my name into Google, I was amazed to see a return of almost 1500 separate references. Search engines - especially Google - are far more capable and all-embracing than they used to be. Amongst my current results, I was a little alarmed to see that the BBC had assembled together any contributions I have made as a commentator on their news items. If you have been to this blog before you will be aware that I am prone to ranting without mincing my words. This is reflected in my BBC comments. Here's an example:-
Was Israel right to board the Gaza Flotilla? (May 2010)
How duplicitous and hollow is the Israeli propaganda machine! Immediately after their unlawful assault on the flotilla, government spokesmen were rapidly accusing the aid convoy of the very crimes that Israeli marines had perpetrated. In Israeli official-speak, wrong becomes right, black becomes white and innocence becomes guilt. Their cynical murders must have strengthened the Palestinian cause immensely.
Now you may not agree with my comment at all. That doesn't really matter. What bothers me is that Internet search engines are making it too easy for searchers to unearth potentially incriminating information about free citizens who have not given permission for these search trails to exist.
I'm not thinking so much about myself, more about younger people in the jobs market. Imagine a young adult being interviewed for a job. They get to the interview and find themselves being asked questions about what they have written about the attack on the Gaza flotilla. Perhaps they don't even get to the interview at all because the company have done a quick name search beforehand - possibly concluding: "trouble causer", "opinionated", "has the gall to comment on issues instead of toeing the party line", "anti-Israeli" etc..
In England, we have already seen a handful of workers losing their livelihoods because of incriminating remarks or photos placed on social networking sites like "Facebook". I guess there's a lot to be said for adopting pseudonyms and sticking to them.