Using Google for Background Checks on People


search engine web sends us three interesting tales on "Googling":

The first concerns a lawsuit filed by an accountant versus several search engines (including Google) claiming that the results of his search for his own name constitute libel.

The second concerns a teen who learned by Googling his name that he was being searched for by his custodial parent (which wasn't the one he had had lived with for the past 14 years).

The third describes how a woman, curious about the man she was going on a date with, discovered that he was a fugitive.

These bring up some interesting issues: is there any expectation of privacy on the internet? are search engines liable for incorrect results?


I don't know about expectations of privacy, but I wonder who Mark Maughan is going to sue now -- himself? Googling his name currently brings up tons of links in various languages, all reporting that someone out there thinks that "plaintiffs Maughan and/or Brown & Maughan have been disciplined for gross negligence, for failing to timely submit a client's claim for refund of overpayment of taxes, and for practicing as a CPA without a permit". What a maroon.

I googled myself, for the first time I must say, and I am not listed at all. (well at least not under the name I use on the lam)Is that good or bad? I did have lunch with John Ashcroft once, I wonder if that makes any difference.

20th Century lifestyles - will give way to theTecnology norms of the 21st Century.Those who want RELATIVE Privacy will have to be more Pro-active and Pre-emptive concieived of being!

You had never googled yourself?I find that interesting. I sort of assume that people who google, google themselves at least once in a while. Okay, if my name was really common say, John Jones. Well, I'd probably still try it at least once and then when I got 138,000 hits . . .Maybe I'm too self-absorbed, well, actually, I know I'm too self-absorbed, but I guess I just assumed that other people were at least somewhat self-absorbed too. I do think that googling oneself is evidence of ego-centricity (?), but I assumed I was one of many.Admittedly, if I saw someone googling themselves, I would think "what a nut". Yet when people have told me they have googled themselves, I thought "well, of course you have". Okay, maybe I am the nut, certainly a self-absorbed one.

Google opens up the door to being liable to shading information by not accepting all pages into their index (selective cataloging), and having a secret algorithm.Both of these things allow them to push an agenda, or slander people by selectively including a list of other people's voices. They don't have to say anything directly, but can definitely impact other people's perceptions - which is at the heart of slander.It's a shady gray area.-- Ender, Duke_of_URL

The New York Times has an article today, March 28 called "Casting Reality TV Becomes a Science." There's NO mention of Google anywhere in the article. That surprises me. My first guess is that it's too mundane a detail to mention. Everybody gets Googled, right?

I Googled a fellow employee at my library who, it turns out, was disbarred from the practice of law for stealing from the bank he worked for and looting the accounts of the deceased. (His story about quitting law to devote more time to his work as a minister sounded fishy.)
Now I wonder, "Does my director know"?
I honestly wish I never found out.

I google myself quite frequently and I'm really disappointed if I'm not at least 5 of the top ten hits ;-)

Subscribe to Comments for "Using Google for Background Checks on People"