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No, I haven't gone nuts. Showering you with a gift about "breaking news updates" and a link for "Latest News Headlines" isn't my idea of a great genealogy find.
However, genealogy and family history are in the news all the time; have you noticed that newspapers carry stories relative to the topic at hand? And if I subscribed to all the newsletters about genealogy, and read them thoughtfully, I wouldn't have time to teach a class.
So, I am going to tell you that, (guess what?!!), there are entities on the Internet, perhaps even the NSA (National Snoops Association), who are interested in what you're interested in. Actually, I think that governmental agencies will have to take a back seat to business, mercantile, and shopping corporations, who are driven by their need/desire to know what you're interested in. They want your money and they are very clever about finding ways to entice you to spend it.
This being said, should we all drop out of the system, the connected generation, the mighty and wondrous super highway of information? Should we encrypt our e-mails, quit clicking, and go to bed?
"Nothing in life is to be feared, it is only to be understood. Now is the time to understand more, so that we may fear less.”
Make yourself knowledgeable about the facts of Internet Security, trust your own instincts, and know that you are not a fool for trying to locate your ancestry on the World Wide Web. I've spoken about Dick Eastman and his online genealogy newsletter. He is wise and learned, not just about family history, but also about technology. Read his newsletters. When you have an opportunity to get hold of a computer magazine at the doctor's office (Wired is an excellent example), choose to read it instead of other more familiar magazines and become more savvy about computers, web sites, and security.
Follow bloggers in the genealogy community who also know something about how to search safely without worrying about "Big Brother"; you don't have to spend a lot of time worrying about this or even becoming educated. It's something we need to be aware of and be moderately cautious about, but take a lesson from those who mine the Internet for nefarious reasons: Teach yourself or gain knowledge from others on how to mine the Internet for Family History. That will be one of the things we want to discuss on Friday at the last class at the Center for LIfelong Learning--for this session--and for the class I teach, Beyond Basic Genealogy.