23 October 2010

Beware

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.

12 comments:

  1. I would leave a comment but I'm afraid I'm being watched.

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  2. tee hee
    all I get is that smug bastard that has made a forune stating that men are from mars, women are from venus and poofs are from pluto!

    ( I can say that being a poof myself!)

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  3. I love it that you don't sit on your hands when there's something to be said. What's the alternative, just be a good little fellow and never do or say anything controversial? I work with donut-eaters like that, they're all on Prozac and they spend their days at work brown-nosing each other. I don't like the way the internet is selling us out, but I think we should say what's on our minds, being kind to each other but not to the "officials." Go get 'em, YP!

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  4. Elizabeth9:37 am

    What?!? You mean that Yorkshire Pudding isn't your REAL name?

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  5. I knew it! I knew it! I have long suspected that your real name is Sir Llewellyn Pudding...

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  6. I've always thought it a bit cowardly to make comments using a pseudonym which makes me a bit of a coward because I do it all the time!

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  7. The Genuine What You See Is What You Get, One and Only, One Of A Kind, Elizabeth10:52 am

    Oh no, now I learn that 'Shooting Parrots' isn't who he says he is, either. Can I trust anything that any of you says, anymore?

    No more revelations...the nerves can't take it...

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  8. Errr - - Daphne's my real name, even though it doesn't sound it. And my Dad was a Communist, and when I was a child our phones were tapped. My friend and I used to delight in speaking in what sounded like coded messages. "When will the swallows fly over the hill?" I expect the Cold War went on an extra five years, just because of us.

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  9. Elizabeth10:56 am

    That should have read 'The Genuine, Real, What You See Is What You Get,One of A Kind, Elizabeth' - I think Google must have cut it because I didn't use a pseudonym!

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  10. RHYMES WITH ALABAMA How did you discover my real name was Llewelyn? You cunning fox!
    JOHN GRAY I thought a poof was something to use in place of a footstool!
    JAN BLAWAT What do you mean by "brown-nosing"? I hope it's not my imagination but it sounds rather disgusting!
    SHOOTING PARROTS Yes it is not his real name! I can reveal exclusively that his real name is Terence Bubwith and he owns a burger van that operates profitably out of Hyde, Manchester. Fried onions are extra.
    DAPHNE The swallows have already flown over the hill, and we won't see them again till next May or early June. Surely Daphne is not your real name! On the evidence of your typical posts, I guessed it was probably Kylie or Chardonnay!
    ELIZABETH I hope I have convinced you to adopt a pseudonym for safety and security purposes. Having studied your photographs, may I suggest FiFi LaMar?

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  11. The employee check on the internet is de rigeur for most private sector recruitment consultants.

    my blog is now invite only thanks to an embittered colleague informing the students she 'teaches' about its existence- clearly not who it was meant for!

    She also has informed students how to search for people at user name and password sites- this could be anything highly embarrassing like dating websites or potentially career threatening websites of a more specialist area...

    Thankfully most people have a brain and socialised definition of right and wrong. If the will isn't there, then we all should be safe on the www.

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  12. It can also work the other way, my rather easily Googleable name produces a variety of results, but when I was applying for jobs I was very happy to be Googled. There's lots of positive stuff online, including a site I run for students.

    I don't use a pseudonym any more, but I always knew that anyone who found my blog would realises it was me, even with a silly name. Consequently I'm a different type of coward - I watch what I say!

    You've probably seen this (it's been everywhere in recent days!). It's obvious but true.

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Mr Pudding welcomes all genuine comments - even those with which he disagrees. However, puerile or abusive comments from anonymous contributors will continue to be given the short shrift they deserve. Any spam comments that get through Google/Blogger defences will also be quickly deleted.