I first saw this yesterday, but Ars has a much better article about it:
Protesters show up at the doorstep of Google self-driving car engineer
Update: more articles
Yesterday morning, a group of protesters demonstrated at the home of a Google engineer. The flier they handed out to his neighbors is super creepy, clearly they have been stalking him and his family.
He owns a home, which generally means your name and address are a matter of public record. If we owned a house, so would ours, but for now we don’t. What we do have is a mailbox service, which is our legal address for every purpose that doesn’t specifically require a residence address. It’s a nice thing to have for convenience (no change of address when you move, someone always to accept packages) but it has some interesting side-effects.
I can give out my mailing address, not exactly with impunity, but for purposes I might not be comfortable with otherwise. For example, I’ve attended some retreats where the participants’ contact info is distributed. I can talk about being away from home without a stranger knowing where our empty apartment is. My amateur radio operator’s license uses the mailing address (and that’s easily located public information.)
We also have domains registered, which if you are going to abide by the “rules of the Internet” requires a functioning postal address. If you look up any of my domains (and I must presume that the entire Internet has the ability to do this) you will see only the mailing address. It’s not impossible to get our residence address, but given California state law the valid reasons for it being released to a third party are very limited.
Now the downside of this is that when you do have to provide proof of residence address (it happens on occasion) it can be quite a bother. Which reminds me, I have to change the vehicle registration back to the mailbox now that we have a parking permit for the car — subsequent renewals don’t require documentation, and they don’t care what is on your drivers license.