Do you love mysteries? Is there a detective lurking there in your subconscious? If you are like most of us, your mind can’t let a puzzle go until you have solved it, but sometimes the answer you are looking for eludes you.
We are all amazed at the flood of information available to us online. Do we need a recipe for chicken? We can find 101 ways to cook chicken. Do we need to know how to remove ink stains from a shirt pocket? We’ll find 99 different answers. We have seen how children and young people have put themselves at risk on Facebook, MySpace, and other social networks. Unscrupulous people are also on their computers in the middle of the night. We need a balance between our need for connecting and our need for protection and knowing the truth.
Most of us want information for very legitimate reasons and public information is available for anyone to see, and this includes our own records open to the public eye. Our privacy is important and we are warned about identity theft and how to protect ourselves. We want to be sure that information about ourselves is correct and then take steps to ensure we keep private matters private.
By the same token we have the right to public information about other people and services that concern us and this is where we can benefit from public information online. In this day and age when people are no longer growing up in places where everyone knows everyone else, we will need information services more than ever before. The data is there for our benefit and to assist us in making right choices in life, and to feel safe.
Here are some of the common kinds of information that you or someone close to you might need:
1. Mystery cell phone number or a misplaced important phone number. You have tried 411, the phone company and yellow pages and are stymied.
2. Background information on a company you would like to do business with. It’s a good idea to look before you leap.
3. Information on someone you would like to hire, but the personal references are insufficient. Perhaps you have moved to a new city and need a doctor or mechanic. Or you are looking for a church or particular kind of a minister. Perhaps you are interviewing for a nanny and you can’t take a chance on hiring just anyone. Our children are precious.
4. Information on possible tenants or even a neighbour that you don’t feel comfortable with. You don’t want to rely on gossip but would like to know more.
5. Your personal records — are they correct? Here is an opportunity to correct mistakes.
6. Doing a genealogical search? You can find this information too in public records.
7. An unexplained item on your bank account or credit card. The credit company has removed the charge, but you would like to know who used your card, for your own peace of mind.
Even though the information is completely open, searching online can be a long and tedious process of sifting through myriad data bases. It’s a good idea to look for packages specially designed to include all the specific needs described above. As the information age takes us into uncharted waters, we all need to be aware of what is at our fingertips to keep us safe and our privacy intact.