John Grisham 223x300 Big brother is watching you   vote.Here in the US of A, you’ve probably heard that one’s vote is private. After all, that’s why we go into those little closed booths when we cast our ballots. That was before search became so darn ubiquitous. Now, things that were once private, or at least semi-private, are now easily available to anyone, and just a few clicks away.

Question: How hard would it be to find out how your neighbors voted in the last presidential election? How long would it take? What if you had a very famous neighbor?

Answer: Not hard at all. About two minutes. No problem.

Where I live in the mountains of Virginia it is so beautiful that the author John Grisham has also decided to live here. I was reminded of this because I used this search engine to find out what all of my neighbors gave to various politicians. Curious? Click to the rest of this post.

2010 02 21 2044 Big brother is watching you   vote.

Don’t worry, he later contributed to Obama.

The Campaign Contribution search engine lists every individual donation of $200 or more since 1978. It also has this handy feature where you just type in your zip code and viola! you can see all of the contributions that your neighbors made – famous or not. Want to find out if that cute guy down the street is a flaming Sarah Palin fan? No problem, see if he contributed any money to Sarah PAC.

Once you start using search engines to spy on people, you’ll find that there are dozens of ways to do it!