Some would say there’s something narcissistic about googling your name. However, it’s a good idea occasionally to see what appears on the first couple of pages of Google results.

Last week I had a nasty surprise when the first page of results from a google search for my Jaiku username returned a link to a profile page on a dating site. Although I see nothing wrong with dating sites, I should state that I am happily married and have never needed the services of the formentioned. Moreover my social networking is purely professional, I do not carry out my personal life on the internet. When I browse to the profile in question I note that although the profile picture, username and feeds are mine, the “About Me” information is invented.

There is no way to sign in to the site in order to delete the profile. Further checks reveal that other Jaiku and Twitter members have also been victims of this bogus site.


It seems that a Spanish company known for shady practice has been scraping RSS feeds from Jaiku and Twitter by way of an application for Google IG. Unfortunately neither Twitter nor Jaiku have announced this to their users.

In an attempt to prevent further “hijacking” of my information I have made my Jaiku and Twitter updates private and suggest others do the same.

To check if your feed has been hijacked type the following URLs.



I'm interested to know just how many of us have been "stung" maybe we could use group pressure to influence Jaiku and Twitter to deal with this problem.

Tags: jaiku, privacy, rss, scam, twitter

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Well, I've been "hijacked" as well. Hmmm. Not quite sure what to do about this. I don't understand why they would do this, since there is no advertising on the site which might explain a motive.
It looks to me like they have just found a way to create what "seems" to be a very large user base. If you click on their sign up button you see another site "sampples" I did a whois search for all three adding a screen print of info. I then searched google for the names of the companies mentioned, it seems that "bitacle" and "xasa networks" have been around and making trouble for quite some time.
I don't know if there's anything we can do about it, but I do think it's important that educators are aware. Particularly in systems where appearance on a site like this could affect their positions.

I've been hijacked too. :(
hey Christine :-)

Sorry to hear they got you too :-(
I actually don't think the response to this is suggesting that people should shut down their RSS feeds by setting their tweets to private status. If everyone on twitter did this, the networking aspects would be useless and using twitter less productive.
Frank, while I almost agree with you in theory, my reaction in practice was to shut down my feeds. I probably wouldn't have reacted this way had I not visited the site and seen "my" bogus member page.
The thought that my family, students or colleagues could have seen it before I even knew it existed was very disturbing.
More so the fact that neither Twitter nor Jaiku warned their members.

I do think that as teachers we need to consider where our profiles appear and WHAT information appears in those profiles.
We need to ba able to trust that developers of services such as Twitter, will at least inform us when there is a security/privacy problem so that each one of us can make his own decisions.
Yes although twitter is an enormously useful networking tool, which I have enjoyed using, I am thinking twice about continued use.
Susan .. I really am not disagreeing with YOUR decision to set your tweets to private status .. we all have that option and decision to make ... I do feel uncomfortable about the suggested urgency of a mass shutting down of all edu twitter feeds because of a sniper attack. Life goes on and we need to not let distractions distract us and hamper collective networking. Surely there is a more creative response. I, of course, will choose to keep my feeds open in the interest of collective intelligence, professional development, and being a networked teacher. I simply can't do otherwise. And, I hope that others don't let the fear create more dysfunction. Also, my blog depends on RSS feeds, without them, well .... RSS is part of the Web 2.0 landscape and our interconnectivity. Let's find ways to protect and preserve that while also combating abuse.

Yes, I agree about putting too much personal info in profiles. I know that certain personalities such as Vicki Davis has had some pretty bad experiences with "stalkers." Here in Mexico, surnames are both the father and the mother together ... so I just adopted that system for my Internet personality .. which insulates me a bit from official databases back home. And also, you are right ... the service providers should be doing all that they can to alert and protect their user base. Agreed 100%

I have no idea if I have been hijacked, but perhaps now I will be ... hehehe. Thanks Susan ...
Hi, Frank.

I don't think in any way the hijacking is personalized, so I can't imagine you have put yourself at any greater risk. :) I think the larger issue here is the degree to which our public data can be misused in a way that would be harmful to us personally or professionally. Upon reflection, I am surprised we have not seen more of this--and I worry that it may signal a trend that I am not sure how we would deal with. It's not that dissimilar to the blog-scraping that we have seen for a some time, but which doesn't have nearly the appearance of reality that this site does.

I do think that some sort of response is needed, I'm just at a loss as to what that might be. Maybe there is in place some mechanism, but I'm thinking it's a new problem that may need to have new responses created in order for us to deal with it. I secretly harbor the hope that creative hackers will find ways to attack these sites as they appear--is that reasonable or desirable? Are there more formal mechanisms that are going to need to be put in place for sites that misappropriate personal data? If so, how would they get started and then how would they work?
I don't really feel at risk, that's my point, too! :) I do feel at risk about losing my professional network; however!
So, I too do not feel at risk from the specific situation this time, but I also do not have a hard time imagining that in different circumstances I might feel at risk. The more I think about it, the more convince I am that my online identity does merit protection, just as I also want to be able to trust the identities of others that I see.

I agree that I'm not convinced that the professional networks that are getting scraped have any responsibility, either to inform their members or to change their service. But it would be interesting to know if they are aware of what is going on and that they think--since their credibility is impacted as well.

I'm fascinated by this thread. Thanks for keeping it going!
Google did announce this .. maybe not soon enough but they certainly discussed the vulnerability with the iGoogle hole and that they were getting things taken care of .. remember that they just recently acquired Jaiku ... and you can't even join now while they get things in order .. but I have some free invites (because I was a member before acquisition) if anyone wants one ...
One thing I've done to keep track of uses of my name is to set up Google alerts on things of interest to me You could do school name, company name, your common login name...

Another thing is to set up a Technorati search for the same things. All Technorati search results have RSS feeds that you can subscribe to in your RSS reader. You can do the same thing with Tweetscan - set up an RSS feed for your twitter id, or something you want to track. A couple weeks ago I set up a Tweetscan RSS feed to watch for mentions of "Educon" - so I could find people twittering about it even if i wasn't following them. It was really helpful at the conference for finding people and planning things.

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