Pizza, Privacy, And Driving Directions

BNA’s Internet Law News by Professor Michael Geist mentions this USA Today story about how the Missouri Office of State Courts is using pizza delivery lists to locate people who owe fines and other debts. The article notes:

“Chris Hoofnagle, of the Electronic Privacy Information Center in Washington, D.C., said the use of such seemingly innocuous information is a common strategy. ‘The unfortunate reality is even if you are very careful in protecting your personal information, you give it to any business, they can turn around and sell it,’ Hoofnagle said.”

A more innocuous example from my personal expereince was when I was lost in Milwaukee trying to find the reception for a friend’s wedding. A had printed out a map of the location from Yahoo Maps but didn’t notice that the address was “not found” and that Yahoo had sent me to the geographic center of the ZIP code. Most people ask for directions at gas stations. I stopped at the nearest pizza delivery shop, figuring that since their workers spend their time driving around delivering pizza, they’d be the best source of driving directions. I was right, I got my directions, and I made it to the reception on time.

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