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[techbooks] REVIEW: "Naked In Cyberspace", Carole A. Lane

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  • Rob Slade, doting grandpa of Ryan and Tr
    BKNKDCSP.RVW 981122 Naked In Cyberspace , Carole A. Lane, 1997, 0-910965-17-X, U$29.95 %A Carole A. Lane %C 462 Danbury Road, Wilton, CT 06897-2126 %D
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 28, 1999
      BKNKDCSP.RVW 981122

      "Naked In Cyberspace", Carole A. Lane, 1997, 0-910965-17-X, U$29.95
      %A Carole A. Lane
      %C 462 Danbury Road, Wilton, CT 06897-2126
      %D 1997
      %G 0-910965-17-X
      %I Pemberton Press Books/Online Inc.
      %O U$29.95 800-248-8466 203-761-1466 fax: 203-761-1444
      %O johnb@... www.onlineinc.com/pempress
      %P 544 p.
      %T "Naked In Cyberspace: How to Find Personal Information Online"

      Oh, go and stand over in the corner with Senator Exon.

      Those reading the title (and the promotional reviews in many
      magazines) might be forgiven for thinking this was an examination of
      the state of privacy or personal information online. Those who get to
      the subtitle will probably think that this will tell you how to find
      personal information on the net. The second group will be a lot
      closer than the first, but won't really be correct either.

      Part one is a kind of general introduction to the topic: basically it
      seems to be a kind of promotional brochure. Chapter one states that
      information can be valuable (surprise), that information can be
      accessed in various ways via computers (double surprise), and gives a
      kind of randomized table of contents for the book. One point to be
      made is that the text seems to hold "cyberspace" and "online" as
      synonymous with "involves a computer," since chapter two starts
      talking about searching databases by emphasizing the importance of the
      speed of your computer. It goes on to talk about CD-ROMs, give a
      minimalist description of boolean logic, pass briefly over the fact
      that computer databases may contain mistakes (many estimates suggest
      that a quarter to a third of all such records are in error), and
      finishes by extolling the virtues of information brokers. The author
      is obviously not comfortable with searching for information on the
      Internet: we are told of all kinds of trivial information (nothing
      important) that can be found on the net, but never how, in chapter
      three. Chapter four suggests that you can find information about
      people from proprietary databases, and finishes with a hard-hitting,
      in-depth investigation of Ross Perot--using the information found on
      his promotional Web site! The obligation to talk about privacy is
      given a token nod in chapter five, which primarily emphasizes the fact
      that information obtainable via computer could be obtained other ways
      so don't gimme no grief about this book, OK?

      Part two looks at what you might use record searching for. Chapter
      six looks at finding people, but almost as soon as it starts it admits
      that the options in this category are too many, and that it can only
      give you a random, and extremely limited, sampling. Pre-employment
      screening is discussed in chapter seven, but almost none of it relates
      to computer accessible records at all. Recruiting is limited to
      searching online (and usually commercial) resume banks in chapter
      eight. The job related newsgroups aren't mentioned at all, and there
      is no talk of using topical searches to find specialist skills.
      Tenant screening is limited to credit referencing (which it doesn't
      tell you how to do) in chapter nine. Chapter ten lists some
      proprietary databases where you might be able to find out about
      assets, and has a much longer section dealing with assets that you
      won't be able to find. "Competitive Intelligence" (aka "industrial
      espionage"?) again has nothing to say about computers (and very little
      to say at all) in chapter eleven. (Appropriate number, don't you
      think?) There are some proprietary databases, and even some publicly
      available resources, in chapter twelve for finding experts in
      different fields, although, again, only a tiny sample. How to find
      rich people to hit up for charity is minuscule in chapter thirteen.
      The review of private investigation doesn't give you any resources
      beyond how to contact PI professional groups.

      Part three looks at types of personal records. These include chapters
      on biographies, general indices, telephone directories, staff and
      professional directories, mailing lists, news, photographic images,
      quotations, bank records, credit and financial records, consumer
      credit records, criminal justice records, motor vehicles, death, tax
      records, medical and insurance records, public records, adoption,
      celebrity, genealogical records, political records, and demographic
      records. Most of the information is contained in proprietary
      databases, and much of it is not available via computer at all, let
      alone online. The best chapter, in terms of comprehensive and useful
      guidance combined with accessible data, is on genealogy.

      The remainder of the book is essentially appendices, listing related
      books, periodicals, organizations, and databases.

      Basically, this work spends a lot of time suggesting that you *can*
      find information out about people, and doesn't put much effort into
      telling you how you can. There is a heavy reliance on commercial
      information services, and, as noted, not all of the information
      sources are available to you from home, let alone via the Internet. A
      great deal of data relating to the topics covered *can* be found on
      the Internet, but the author does not appear to be aware of that. If
      you want to set yourself up as an information broker, this text might
      get you started. The contact information for the various database
      sources is useful, although you can find the same at your local
      library. Which may be available online.

      copyright Robert M. Slade, 1998 BKNKDCSP.RVW 981122

      rslade@... rslade@... robertslade@... p1@...
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