Etsy Privacy Blunder Reveals Users' Full Names, Dildo Preferences

Oh Etsy, Etsy, Etsy, what have you done? Well, to begin with, this: you introduced "People Search", a new tool that makes your users (and their complete purchase histories) searchable by their real names, without giving anyone any real heads up that you were doing so. Uh oh.

Basically, anyone whose real name is associated with their Etsy account - it's technically optional when you sign up, though it's not indicated expressly as such, so most people presumably just type it in - and has made an Etsy purchase at any point in the past is now very much in the open. And not just via Etsy's People Search but via Google, too. Take this particularly unfortunate example from the Penny Arcade forums:

Oh god. I was looking for an example to give to a reporter that asked me for one, and I just found a woman who's Etsy profile comes up on Google as the 5th link. I was expecting 6 or 7 pages down, but it's on the very first page, right after her online resumes (four of 'em - so I guess she's looking for work and this cannot be helping). She signed up a year ago, under the old privacy policy, and hasn't logged in since 2010.

And now I know what dildo she uses. Right down to the curvature and coloring.

Yikes! I tested it on myself and found that yes, indeed, my Etsy account and attendant purchase history were now part of my Google footprint. All of my vintage belt purchases there for the world to see (thankfully there's no way to tell from that purchase history that I use the belts for weird sex stuff).

Mary Sue of TheMarySue.com has a handy guide to changing your profile settings and hiding your account history, but let this be a lesson to us all: just because a site has a really twee personality and trades mostly in adorable knit hats that look like frogs doesn't mean they know how to protect your privacy. [Geekosystem]