There's no doubt about it, the internet makes accessing information easier than ever. On popular search engine Google and other services, you can even simply enter a listed phone number to get an address instantly. Take it a step further, and you can get a map to that address...even driving directions.
For some, that's a bit too easy. "That's dangerous because anybody can get your address and come to your house and be outside waiting for you, you never know," said Latoya Hendrix of Garden City. "Especially for folks like me, I work at night."
This information has been available for years at your local library. In the past, you had to use a reverse directory. It's a directory that lists names and addresses in order of phone number. Since these numbers are listed, anyone can look them up.
"There are a lot of legitimate uses for reverse directories," said Bill Johnson, library director at Savannah's Bull Street Library. "Reverse directories have been around for, well, the earliest ones we have go back to 1848, reverse street directories. And reverse telephone directories have been round as long as there've been telephone systems."
Johnson says it's always been a part of our culture, and the internet's only made it easier, which may worry some like Latoya Hendrix. "I don't want to be one of those people who end up on TV as a victim of someone who got caught from the internet, you know, some weirdo," she told us.
"We live in an information-rich society, and being a democracy, we always have," said Johnson. "It's sort of been our public policy from the beginning. Freedom of the press. That information should be as freely available as possible."
But if you are concerned that it's too available these days Google makes it easy to request that your listing be removed, and offers tips on finding other reverse-lookup services online. The best way to keep your information private, however, is still to keep you phone number unlisted.