Re: Privacy and Genealogy - Steven Coker
Subject: Re: Privacy and Genealogy
From: Steven Coker
Date: March 25, 1999

Char Coats-Siercks wrote:
> I don't think anyone is interested in my dead ancestors much less my
> living relatives...I've never gotten any complaints...and I'm getting a
> new granddaughter the end of June......Charlotte

Congratulations on the new granddaughter!  And on being in a family with little
to hide.  Many other families have a few "scandals" they may prefer not to have
made public.  At least not while they are alive.

Some people prefer privacy, or at least some consideration or control over their
personal information.  Many for good reasons, others for less honorable ones. 
But, whatever their reasons, their wishes should be respected.  

In my opinion, publishing personal information about living persons without
their knowledge and consent is bad manners, unwise, and in some cases can be
dangerous.  Here are a few of the numerous situations where people might not
want their personal information made public.  

 * Women who've been raped.  They may not want the rapist, or resulting
offspring, to know how to locate them.

 * Children who've been molested.  They may not want the molestor to know how to
locate them.

 * People who've been in abusive relationships.  They may not want the abuser to
locate them.

 * People with financial problems.  They may want to avoid harassing bill

 * People who've testified against criminals.  They may live in fear the
criminal will seek them out for revenge.

 * Some who are wealthy.  They may want to avoid thieves that might rob them,
kidnappers seeking ransom, or poorer relatives.

 * Some who are mentally disturbed.  They may have paranoid fears or psychotic
thoughts which could be triggered by finding their personal information made

 * Some with limited mental faculties.  They may be targets for scam artists who
could collect, analyze, and use personal data to select and locate people that
are "high percentage" targets.

 * Women or men who have illegitimate children.  They may not want their spouse,
their children, their friends, their church, or others to know.

 * People who have a past that they don't want their family, friends, or
employer to learn about.

 * The famous and the infamous who may be likely candidates for stalkers.

 * People who are related to an infamous person.  They may not want others to

 * People who just like their privacy and want to keep it.

 * Etc., etc., etc.

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