This is not a hypothetical debate, this is what happened to me this morning:
Everyday, I go for a morning walk in my area, (Bondi to Bronte, see pic to the right) VERY early in the morning…(today it was actually night time, by some definitions..) . Half way through the walk, I found a Drivers Licence, lying on the pavement. Picking it up, the owner was not a local Australian. The DL belongs to a Canadian woman, maybe a tourist, or a short term resident.
I had the option of leaving it in the bus stop, and forget about it. I couldn’t. I have lost my Drivers licence once, and it wasn’t a pleasant experience, to put it mildly… So I needed to find her, and quickly.
Having no idea how to locate this woman, I emailed a friend in Canada, whom I believed could help me locate the woman’s family. Being effective as she is, within a couple of hours (having a meeting in between), she emailed me, saying:
“I believe I found her family, left a message with her sister/mother….Will pass on your contact details if she calls back”
I was happy with that, yet a voice in my head said – “she can be found online, I’m sure!”
Googling her name returned too many results. The name on the woman’s Drivers Licence had her first and second names, and her surname. Searching for the full name generated no results, and searching for only one of her names at the time, showed too many results, as both her names are quite common.
so I went to Facebook – where else can I find a 26yo girl?
Within minutes I found her, confirmed her info (name, residence, home town) with the information on her DL, and sent her a message…
Within 45 minutes (!!) she called me, and she’ll pick it up tonight, after work!
As an advocate for online connectivity, I love this story! Seeing the glass half-full, I love the fact I could help this woman reunite with her DL, saving her days of frustration, hours of waiting inline at police stations/RTA (or DMV or whatever they call it in Canada), all because her Facebook privacy settings gave me just enough information to make sure it was her, without exposing her life completely.
But I’m sure some people would be scared that they could be found to quickly and easily, as if George Orwell’s 1984 is coming to life.
What is your opinion?