Using bits of data from social-networking web sites, researchers have gleaned people’s names, ages, and even Social Security numbers, reports the New York Times—raising concerns that people are doling out too much personal information on the internet. Services like Facebook, Twitter, and Flickr are oceans of personal minutiae, such as birthday greetings sent and received, school and work gossip, photos of family vacations, and movies watched. Computer scientists and policy experts say that such seemingly innocuous bits of self-revelation can increasingly be collected and reassembled by computers to help create a picture of a...

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