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Abuse Reporting - Personal Vs Private Information

One interesting example of the lack of precision in abuse reporting involves the nature of private information
When will Google do something about this blog that is publishing private information about me? They have my home address, my Social Security Number, my telephone number, for everyone to see!
This person does not appear to understand the difference between personal, and private, information.

One of the categories, in Blogger Help: Report Abuse, is
Posting of private information
You can report any blog, genuinely publishing private information about you. Unfortunately, everything that is personal to you may not be private.

Anybody with Internet access, and possibly also an active bank card, can access all sorts of personal information about you. Your name, home address, business address, make and model of your car(s) - and yes, your telephone number - is all visible, in one or more publicly accessible online databases.

Under the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act of 1996 (aka HIPAA), medical records of US citizens are considered private information - and anyone publishing a blog identifying local residents, who recently had certain medical tests performed, would likely find their blog deleted, promptly enough.

On the other hand, getting a blog deleted, when it simply contains a directory of residents listing name, address, and phone number, would probably involve a decision from a local court, because none of this is private (though it is personal).

But wait - there's more.

If you successfully get your name and address considered private, by a court, will it really be private? If your name and address becomes part of a court decision, anybody with access to court documents can find it. And again, anybody with Internet access and the right bank card can search it out.

Face it - nothing - but maybe HIPAA protected medical records - is truly private. Your ability to have Blogger / Google delete an offending blog, not withstanding.

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