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Posting Family Trees on the Internet is a No-No!

     I want to quickly share some concerns I have regarding the posting of family information anywhere on the internet.  Cyberspace is still the wild, wild west of today where anything goes.  Facebook, Twitter and other social networking websites (see article) can pose dangers if not used correctly, and with a conscious effort to protect your personal information.   

That said, I was told that much of our family's information has been posted to a website called MUNDIA.COM, apparently a website of ANCESTRY.COM, it allows for people to post their family tree on the internet.  The website requires registration, but any information posted is available to anyone who registers.  I was able to get in with an existing ancestry.com account and was able to see pictures, and information on the site, unrestricted.  Old pictures, and information before our dead grandparents doesn't really matter, but ANY living relative information should be removed immediately. 

I was alerted by a family member who didnt appreciate her deceased father's name and information on this site.  She thought I was responsible for posting it and asked me to remove it.  Frankly, I didn't even know the website existed.  I don't post any of our family tree information on ancestry.com, which seems pretty secure, but I know that nothing on the internet is really secured, nothing.  Some of the reasons living relatives should not be listed on any website include:

  • Identity theft is a growing problem across the country.  If your name is not floating around websites, the better you are.
  • Most people use their mother's maiden name for credit cards, passwords, secret words, your birthday, or the birthday of your child....and scammers know it.  A family tree site is a perfect place to get any of this data. 
  • There are company's that collect personal information on people to sell to other organizations, and it's not illegal.....enough said.
  • Anytime we post information on the internet we lose control over that information.  The website now owns it and can use it for whatever they want, even if they have privacy rules in place, if they sell the company there is no guarantee the new company will honor the rules. 

I work as a network administrator for a large corporation, and as you can see I'm very familiar with the internet, and its limitations.  Just because a website like Facebook or Tribalpages require passwords, it does not make your data secure.  Especially since most people don't know how to use existing settings to privitize your data.  Don't forget that when you post something on a website's space it "belongs" to the website.Here is some additional websites regarding posting family trees on the internet.