A Disturbing Social Experiment: How Much Personal Information Are YOU Giving Away?

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How much personal information are you innocently giving out about yourself to complete strangers?

Editors Note:  This is a topic I’ve written about before here and here. And it’s more important than ever with the toxic cancel culture that exists in America today, in which many people can justify nearly any action – looting, rioting, assault, and worse – no matter how heinous, against someone who simply holds different opinions.

Some of you may want to be out there, loud and proud, about your lives and beliefs – and that’s absolutely your choice. (Prepare for this debate in 3…2…1…) Many of us, however, want to avoid altercations. We want to keep our families safe, we want to prevent potential predators from finding out our home addresses or where our kids go to school. We want to stay under the radar and be difficult to locate by those who might intend to do us harm. (After all, gray is the new black.)

That’s why this brief article that follows is especially important. You need to understand exactly how much personal information you’re giving away about yourself with your vehicle, your social media apps, and other small clues that someone with a few skills and an hour on his hands can use to build a profile about you.

by D.P. Friesen

Author of BATTLES OF ATTRITION: Surviving and Living With Masked Dangers

 The following article was previously published by D.P. Friesen on his website blog.  

Sleuthing the Life of a Random Person is Amazingly Simplistic

So, here’s a social experiment I tried this morning. I decided to see just how much personal information I could find out on a random person. As the car in front of me had some interesting bumper stickers, I picked it. I did not see the driver whatsoever and only recouped the license plate. That was all the info I had to go on other than what was visual about the car and inside within eyesight.

Here’s what I found.

Through the National Registry, I found out the owner of the car, the make, model, year purchased, how paid. I found out his personal identification number, his mother’s maiden name, his married status (divorced), ex-wife’s name, and nationality. I already know that, since his license plate number ends in 3, that he’s not allowed driving within city limits on Tuesdays due to the weekly vehicle-usage restrictions so I’ll know when his car’s at home unattended and when he’ll be travelling by other means.

From there I searched him out on social media.

I found pics of him, his girlfriend, and his children. (Who, smartly, did not have their faces shown) Now, he’s a former photographer who’s now trained in the field of behavioral psychology field (as his car has a bumper-sticker “psychologist and proud of it!”), as is his live-in girlfriend/wife, who specializes in working with children and high-risk youths in the same field. She also has a conflict resolution specialization so I figured, coupled with the psychology, this might be a hard “mark.” I found out her name (they’re not married), both of his children’s names, sexes, and their general ages. (one, the girl, is at least 3 or under due to the child-seat in the car and the “baby on-board sign, knowing a little about child-seat/age rules here), boy around 8.

Wait, there’s more.

I found out the general area where they live and the exact areas where they go back-and-forth from points of work. I found both cell numbers and the company they’re subcontracted by, including their own offshoot companies.

From here I found him on a heritage/genealogy site and, not wanting to open an actual account and pay money, I went the general synopsis route and scraped together info stumbled across pertaining to his family tree. His father died in 2012 at the age of 51. He was divorced in 2012 as well. (connection?) I found out his grandparents’ names and mother’s age as well. Had I paid for site-entry, I would’ve found out his last 2 known addresses for census and voting purposes, likely opening the door to find his new and current residency, had I been inclined and motivated.

So, what’s the point of all this?

It took me one hour. From someone who’s generally quite guarded and has a restricted online profile, who pays attention to behavioral issues, who blocked out his personal information, children’s identities, and restricted his content. One hour. From a license plate number. Don’t think that total strangers can’t find out a ton about you that you don’t think they can, in a minimal amount of time, with the smallest of information.

Orwell was onto something…

How much personal information are you unwittingly giving away to potential predators?

Editor’s Note: Does this give you something to think about? How much personal information are YOU giving away? Are there dangerous clues that you are giving away? Are you going to make some changes to protect your privacy, given the current hostile climate in the United States? Let’s talk about it in the comments.

About DP Friesen

DP Friesen is an author, martial artist, public-speaker, counter-violence instructor know in industry circles for his common sense, holistic, grounded, cerebral and logical approach to the modern personal defense spectrum. 

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Guest Contributor

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  • Great article! It’s unbelievable how many public-facing databases there are with very personal information. I request my information be removed, but cannot keep up with all the new sites popping up. Social media is nothing but an invasion of privacy and credit cards track your purchases and movements. What you describe coupled with the facial/biometric recognition described in Saturday’s article shows that we have no privacy.

    • I looked up the author on Amazon and saw he’s British, which didn’t surprise me because the article mentions he was tracking a car that’s “not allowed driving within city limits on Tuesdays due to the weekly vehicle-usage restrictions” — and I know they do that in London.

      Then I used DuckDuckGo search engine (no tracking there, unlike Google!) to search for “National Registry UK license plates” and was sent to a Wikipedia article about the “vehicle register” explaining that all vehicles in the UK are entered into a registry which is accessible to nearly anyone.

      If you have “Google-fu” (know the right terms to type into search engines), it’s easy to track down information.

      • Your data-search is off. I am a Canadian living in Costa Rica and those driving/plate restrictions are openly announced weekly – and found easily – in all local/national news sources.

  • It’s one thing to find the info, it’s another to successfully use it without understanding the subjects preparation and resolve…the old story of the hunter becoming the hunted. People should think twice about engaging in cyber stalking.

  • So what country has a license plate system where you cant drive on certain days??? As in, what country is this author from?

    • Look him up. You’ll find quite a bit, including his website and books he’s published. It’ll be illustrative of his caution in this article.

  • Absolutely! It’s incredible, how much information is floating around for the taking. If you don’t believe this guy, try Googling your own name. I’ve seen all of what the author describes, and more. This is why I not only stopped posting to social media, but deleted (and am still deleting) every personal picture, political post, and racy meme I ever shared. Granted that’s all cached somewhere and there are backup files galore, but at least I’ve cut out all but the professionals. In fact, a site that I teach on recently advised its educators to lock up all social media settings, because the kids love to search their teachers online and are very good at it. Should a given educator be reported for “hate speech,” they will be removed from the platform, no questions asked and no right to appeal. Cancel culture at its finest!

    I look great in gray 😀

    • ” I’ve cut out all but the professionals”

      they’re the only ones who matter.

      “I look great in gray.”

      especially on a white background. there are two types of data hits – trigger data that is present, and normal data that is absent.

  • Yes, all very high tech sleuthing. But.
    Most people receive a ton of junk mail + bills (which include account numbers and where you shopped, etc.) with your name and address on all of it.
    There was an article–not here– not that long ago suggesting that one’s trash was the largest, by far, source of your whereabouts coupled with your name.
    ID theft is low tech as well.
    n.b.: A ‘Sharpie’ with a fat nib is an E-Z way to scrub all that info. Then it hits the trash can. Or, if you are a True Prepper, save alla that paper trash for a BBQ chimney a la Weber. No need for lighter fluid for lighting charcoal.

  • I had Fakebook for about 5 minutes, then deleted my account. It was too much like highschool and I hated highschool.

  • Delete all you want. The NSA data center in Utah HAS EVERYTHING (and they’re building one on the east coast, too). Every e-mail, picture, phone call, postings on social media or not. For a few bucks you get get anything on anybody. PI’s and cops do it all the time. It’s too late to do anything about it. So, enjoy the ride!

  • It’s impossible to scrub it all and the government probably has it all anyway.

    I’m sure I’m on a few government lists, but honestly they worry me less than the random people out there. At least with the government I have a better chance of predicting what/when they’ll do.

    Two or three years ago I had a frequent poster and friend ask me to scrub his posts from my site. I thought about it and decided to close down the site after 13 or so years.

    When I closed my site I scrubbed 99.9% of my posting history. The rest was on sites that had already closed down or were about to close.

    I’ve searched myself and get some hits on a couple of professional sites and a couple from 20 plus years ago. In the end it doesn’t matter that people find out I work in IT or my specific industry.

    No bumper stickers. No political signs. Nothing to give anyone an idea of my thoughts.

    I dont have to worry too much about the random people out there because there isn’t much to go on. Most people who work in my industry vote Democrat and that’s the far right side, so most just assume I vote Democrat as well

    I like being grey, and its the best I can do now. I have some social media but I don’t post, just use them to keep up on the pulse of things.

  • If you really want to be scared, try googling yourself. I did it on a whim last week, and found just with my name that my former and current addresses, my relatives and their former and current addresses, my former land line phone number and my age were all available in just a free listing. That’s not paying for a more detailed information packet.
    It was very sobering and more than a little frightening, especially since I don’t know where the information was sourced from.

  • All of these articles sound alarming & helpful but – in addition to what others have already posted here you are being watched & tracked 24/7 in ways you can’t even know – Smart Meters & Devices in & On your home & Auto, your Smartphone is Always being tracked 3 ways: GPS, Location On/Off & Wireless Ghost triangulation using Cell Towers, Your Neighbors Wireless & TV Cable/Satellite along with your Wireless “Packets”, they even have ways to use these overlapping wireless signals to create Thermal Imaging of the inside of your home & that technology was revealed in the movie “Blue Thunder” back in 1983 – There is No Nada Zero Never Privacy Anywhere Ever. Any Club, Rewards Program or Points System Tracks you & your purchases, Any licensing that requires Fingerprints, Insurance Policies, Investments & any legal document you ever signed & if the IRS wants to F with you they have Endless info they can use against you that has Nothing at all to do with Taxes. Everywhere you go there are cameras: yours & your neighbors “Ring” device happily being surveilled by China 24/7 – did you consent to have your neighbors being agents of China Spying on You? What about your Angry Inbred Hateful neighbor who calls Cops on You or Code Enforcement Anonymously or who SWATs someone Anonymously? The threats are Endless & Ubiquitous & you can’t do Sh*t about it so find ways to Subvert the System from within with False Info, Disinformation, Multiple Aliases & emails & cell #s & have Fun Attacking The Beast System! Cheers!

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