Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.
Registration information for domains or web hosting services can sometimes be public. We'll look at how to keep your information private.
I read in a novel that it is possible to track a telephone number via your webpage. Is that possible? I would like to know because it is somewhat disturbing.
It really depends on what you mean by "your webpage". There are definitely scenarios where you need and/or want to be particular careful about what information you provide. But most people don't need to worry.
If you purchase your own internet domain, one of the things you are required to provide is a working telephone number. There are various ways to not provide your own home phone number, but many people forget or don't bother, and as a result their information - sometimes even their home address - can be quickly found by doing what's called a "whois" look up on the domain name.
For example, if you go out to DNSstuff.com, scroll down to the tool labelled WHOIS lookup, enter a domain name there and press the WHOIS button, you'll get this information. Do it for "ask-leo.com", and you'll see in part, something like this:
Domain name: ask-leo.com Registrant Contact: Puget Sound Software Leo Notenboom ****@pugetsoundsoftware.com) +1.2067740432 Fax: +1.2067740432 P.O. Box 2841 Woodinville, WA 98072 US
That's my contact information. The email is cloaked, but often it's not. But you'll notice a phone number and a mailing address. Both are required.
You'll note that I've preserved my private information by using a post office box. And the phone number? It's not my home number by any stretch. If I didn't want to take those steps there are also services that will act as an intermediary - you list their information, and they filter any attempts to contact you.
But if you're not careful, it's all to easy to forget and actually set up your home address and phone number in the registation information.
If "your web page" is something else, like your page on myspace.com, a blogging service or some other service that gives you a place to have a web page, the answer varies. You should definitely take care to make sure that any information you're required to provide isn't published by the provider, or if it is, that you obfuscate it some how. For example when you create your profile on a service like Hotmail, there's no reason to provide your real phone number. In fact, if you choose to make your profile public, there's every reason not to. More importantly: if you have the option, don't allow your profile to be public to begin with.
So the bottom line is that for any web page that you put out on the web, the real risk is the information that you had to provide to make it. If you take care to give appropriately obscure information, or make sure that the provider doesn't just hand it out, you should be quite safe from casual contact.
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