Do you realize how much of what you consider “personal information” is actually out there in the form of “public information?” With the advent of the Internet, courthouses are able to compile vast quantities of data on just about anyone and anything. Some companies do all the digital legwork and build large databases with this public information. By using a company like NetSleuth anyone can research public information databases in courthouses and other venues around the country on your:
- Address history
- Professional licenses
- Marriage and divorce records
Parents are even using NetSleuth to investigate potential babysitters. Others are using it to investigate criminal history, marriage records, and property ownership of potential mates. Still others are using it to find old friends, acquaintances, and lovers.
All information is publicly available so there isn’t any breech of security per se. I’ve considered signing up for the service to investigate what information is out there on myself (especially since my identity was stolen).
How much information is too much information?
What if you could know your own genetic predisposition to certain diseases? What if you could know your child’s genetic predisposition to certain diseases? Would that allow for earlier treatment and possibly prevention and earlier recovery?
My Gene Profile claims to do the research for you. This company uses information from the Human Genome project to determine anyone’s genetic predisposition to certain diseases and then they take it a step further. They even can tell you, via genetic science, your or your child’s genetic predisposition for certain career and/or sports choices. This is called a talent profile.
The question: is this too much information? I asked my wife what she thought and her answers surprised me. She would NOT want the disease profile, but would consider the talent profile. She said she couldn’t look at her children the same way if they were genetically predisposed to get cancer or heart disease. She thought the worry of it all would drive her insane. At the same time she thought it would be neat to know if a child was genetically gifted toward music or golf or science.
I thought a little differently. My view is that knowing information on your disease predispositions could steer you into making better choices earlier. Better food choices. Better exercise choices. Better preventative doctor’s visit choices. Why wait 50 years to find out you have heart disease and were genetically predisposed to it, when you could have know decades earlier and could have done something about it? Conversely, knowing that my child is likely to be good in sports or science or music seems trivial in comparison.
What do you think? Would you want to have the information in My Gene Profile on yourself, your spouse, or your children? It’s a serious question. As a society, we’re probably headed down this road at some point in our future.
Will I sign up? I don’t know, but I’m giving it some thought.
Photo by aztore