So much for the security of your personal information


Self-described “counter-violence specialist” and security consultant Darren Friesen recently conducted an impromptu experiment.  The results were startling.

So, here’s a social experiment I tried this morning. I decided to see just how much information I could find out on a random person. As the car in front of me had some interesting bumper stickers, I picked it. I did not see the driver whatsoever and only recouped the license plate. That was all the info I had to go on other than what was visual about the car and inside within eyesight.

Here’s what I found.

Through the National Registry, I found out the owner of the car, the make, model, year purchased, how paid. I found out his personal identification number, his mother’s maiden name, his married status (divorced), ex-wife’s name, and nationality. I already know that, since his license plate number ends in 3, that he’s not allowed driving within city limits on Tuesdays due to the weekly vehicle-usage restrictions so I’ll know when his car’s at home unattended and when he’ll be travelling by other means.

From there I searched him out on social media. I found pics of him, his girlfriend, and his children … I found out the general area where they live and the exact areas where they go back-and-forth from points of work. I found both cell numbers and the company they’re subcontracted by, including their own offshoot companies.

From here I found him on a heritage/geneology site and, not wanting to open an actual account and pay money, I went the general synopsis route and scraped together info stumbled across pertaining to his family tree … Had I paid for site-entry, I would’ve found out his last 2 known addresses for census and voting purposes, likely opening the door to find his new and current residency, had I been inclined and motivated.

So, what’s the point of all this? It took me one hour. From someone who’s generally quite guarded and has a restricted online profile, who pays attention to behavioral issues, who blocked out his personal information, children’s identities, and restricted his content. One hour. From a license plate number. Don’t think that total strangers can’t find out a ton about you that you don’t think they can, in a minimal amount of time, with the smallest of information. Orwell was onto something…

There’s more at the link.

Most of us aren’t interesting enough to others for them to want to investigate us to that extent:  but some of us are.  This experiment should come as a wake-up call to us.  In our electronic, digital age, it’s virtually impossible to maintain effective privacy and keep our personal information secure.  It’s not completely impossible, but it is very difficult, and it’s likely to be very expensive.  (That’s how some security companies and specialists make their living, by providing such services.  I know people who use them, and they’re getting what they’re paying for – but they all, without exception, complain about the loss of personal privacy to those they are paying.  To stop others ferreting out information, they have to reveal all that information to those who are safeguarding it, and be prepared for intrusiveness in the name of security on a scale that most of us wouldn’t tolerate.)

This is also food for thought to those who are vocal in their opposition to the electoral fraud that stole last November’s elections in this country.  Those who want to silence us can get at all this sort of information and more, particularly since they’re likely to have access to (corrupted) official resources.  They won’t be afraid to use it, either, spreading disinformation and rumors and innuendo about us to their media allies, or putting pressure on us by threatening to reveal things we’d rather keep confidential.

I’m old enough and I’ve experienced enough that I know what to expect.  However, if you have a lot to lose – and a family that has much to lose – you might want to think about that before you get too involved.  There will probably be a price to be paid for speaking the truth, as those trying to hide it try to crack down on those revealing it.  Are you ready, willing and able to pay it?  Are you quite sure about that?


(EDITED TO ADD:  The link to the source Web site appears to be down at the time of writing this, with an “Under Construction” notice popping up.  The Web site is in a South American country, so bandwidth from the USA may be an issue if a lot of my readers are suddenly clicking through.  Try again later if necessary.)


  1. I don't want to go down a rabbit hole or something here, but I clicked on your link and got a blue screen at his blog. What?

  2. Are you ready, willing and able to pay it?

    We mutually pledge to each other our lives, our fortunes, and our sacred honor.

  3. 1) That link goes nowhere.
    2) In what country? Not the U.S. certainly, since there are no such license plate/driving restrictions.
    3) Throwing the b.s. flag.

    That may be the case somewhere, and the harm from putting so much online or available there is always well-taken (and seldom heeded until it's too late), but until the article is available to show his work, it's a digital fairytale.
    "Pics, or it didn't happen.

  4. With the caveat it's Central America, I believe it.

    Think about it. In the US it's considered a matter of public record when you purchase real estate, and it's so public that often someone with a stalker or trying to get away from an abusive relationship gets found by the fact they bought a property, meaning they need to lease, rent, or form a trust/corporation to buy the home. There are public databases you can access that has a full list of telephone numbers. The big three cell companies all have the usage data available for purchase. A little work at it and you can have the location someone is registered to vote. Vehicle registration is at least semi-public, with databases access being granted to numerous companies for aggregation purposes.

  5. There is a lot of information you can get on people depending on where you live. Property records are public and do pose a problem for people with stalkers or who otherwise don't want their name in a public record. Voter registration records are public with access depending on the state.

    But this has always been the case. There have been city reverse directories for decades, indexed by phone number or address. I remember finding out quite a bit about people (out of curiosity of what could be found) 50 years ago before the Internet.

    The issue today is it's much faster and more convenient. Public property records were not a major privacy issue when you had to go to a county office and pay for a records search. Today it's much easier to find somebody based on a name or property address.

    But I have to agree that this particular post doesn't appear to be for the United States. There aree cities with driving restrictions based on the day of the week, and they likely use the license plate number to determine your days, but they're all outside the US.

  6. So that 'National Registry is not the U.S. National Drivers Registry.

    Good to know. But . . . for those who are curious:

    How to Request an NDR Record Check
    Any person may ask to know whether there is an NDR record on him or her and may obtain a copy of the record if one exists. That is the purpose for this form NDR-PRV. Complete the front side, have your signature (or your mark as witnessed) notarized, and mail the completed form to the National Driver Register at the address below.
    The NDR response will be mailed to the mailing address shown, but incomplete or illegible inquiries will not be processed. All inquiries will be acknowledged if a return address is readable. Forms which are not notarized will also not be processed.

    What to Expect from the NDR Record Check
    The NDR will respond to every valid inquiry including requests which produce no record(s) on the NDR file. When records are located, details of the probable match results will be returned to the individual Privacy Act inquirer and will contain all information listed in the NDR records, if any, on the individual. The reply will also indicate any disclo¬sures (reports to others) previous¬ly made by the NDR and will specify who, if anyone, has received reports on the inquirer.

    Location of NDR Records
    Records can be made available, within a reasonable time after request, for personal inspection and copying during regular working hours at 7:45 a.m. to 4:15 p.m., each day except Satur¬days, Sundays, and Federal legal holidays. The address for requesting record information in writing directly from the NDR or for making requests in person is shown below.

    National Driver Register
    400 7th Street, SW.
    Washington, DC 20590-0001
    (202) 366-4800

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