Five O'Clock Somewhere

Welcome to Five O'Clock Somewhere, where it doesn't matter what time zone you're in; it's five o'clock somewhere. We'll look at rural life, especially as it happens in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, cats, sailing (particularly Etchells racing yachts), and bits of grammar and Victorian poetry.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Scary -- REALLY scary

So now that I have this blog up and running, even if it's not running perfectly yet, I want to let people know about it, especially people from my past. So I try to track down an email address for the English teacher who, way back when I was in second grade, even though she taught sixth grade at the time, actually got me into this English-teaching mindset. And I also want to find the person who was a colleague as a journalism student and a heavy-duty girlfriend, and just about the greatest optimist I ever knew.

The English teacher had a fairly simple lookup: the home phone, and therefore nearly all records, are in the name of her late husband, so it was easy to get everything but an email address. When I tried to get the email address, what I got was a notice that there was an unlisted phone number for her husband, and another unlisted phone number for her, and that if I authorized a charge on a credit card, I could get those numbers. Since all I wanted was an email address, I declined.

The lookup on the fellow journalist was much more troubling. I didn't get anything even remotely referring to an email address. Instead, I got multiple reports that, without giving details, implied she was a delinquent of the highest degree, implicated in drug trafficking. I know that it is utterly impossible that she could possibly be involved -- she was the team mascot, and as such, she had to pass all the same drug tests as the players on the team. Plus, I knew her personally, and I know that she could not possibly have done anything drug-related. But still, the "free previews" of the background-checking companies portrayed her as a dangerous individual. I just wanted to find her email address, but instead, what I find are all sorts of bits of false and/or misleading information about her. And I can't even warn her about all of that false information, because I can't find her real email address.

For some number of dollars, there are Internet companies that will produce sufficient evidence to convict whoever the payer wants to convict -- assuming the person in the gunsights is NOT a septuagenarian retired English teacher, but a young adult with a rebellious background. That's scary.


Anonymous Dr Pants said...

It is very scary. What if she is looking for a job and her possible employer finds the same stuff? These places have no one to be accountable to either. I have set up my google news alerts to my name so I can see any new information that is posted about me. It keeps me aware of any possible misleading information.

I would alert your friend so she can contest and have the information removed...

Thu Jul 28, 04:42:00 AM MDT  
Blogger Pat said...

Maybe you could make contact via Tosca or through her uncle Charlie, the jet-boat wizard? Or perhaps the alumni association?

Thu Jul 28, 12:22:00 PM MDT  

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