Does your profile contain your real birthday, or is off by +/- n days (where n is small)?

I know the birthday isn't explicitly available to users, but as suggested by this post, it would be easy to write a script and determine peoples' birthdays. Should I be concerned about advertising my birthday from a security standpoint? It seems like just one more piece of information that could be helpful for identity theft.

Also, is there a good reason that the trilogy (err... all 4) sites maintain age in the profile?

  • 1
    this seems to me like an exact duplicate of the question you link to – Kip Jul 17 '09 at 3:12
  • I disagree. That post asks how birthdays are kept private. I'm wondering (1) is there a good reason to put my birthday? (2) is there a privacy reason I shouldn't give my birthday? – Pete Jul 17 '09 at 5:26

Heh... Interestingly, given your birthdate and place of birth, it's actually possible to guess at your Social Security Number (for US citizens) with some degree of accuracy...

So yeah - if you live where you were born, you might want to lie a bit on your SO profile page, just to be safe...

  • 1
    I wonder what percentage of users are American, and of them what percentage live where they are born. Hmmm....if only we had IPs in the data dump.... :P – Stu Thompson Jul 17 '09 at 7:16
  • quantcast says that about 1/3 of the people visiting SO are from the US (around 973K). – malach Jul 17 '09 at 10:39

I do not care enough to try and hide my birth day. (FEBRUARY 10TH, 1985 YOU HACKERS!)

Of all the personal information you can get from someone, this to me is one of the more innocuous ones.

  • 1
    Are you really that young!? I don't know why, but I pictured you on your thirties... – perbert Aug 31 '09 at 17:37
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    @voyager: Are you kidding me? I still believe his birth day was actually in the 2000 area. – GEOCHET Aug 31 '09 at 18:02
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    I am John Titor. I am also Spartacus and Batman. – TheTXI Aug 31 '09 at 18:04
  • See what I mean? – GEOCHET Aug 31 '09 at 18:05
  • Do ponies have SSNs? – Andrew Grimm Jun 6 '12 at 23:22

I don't think the birthday is what people go after when trying to steal an identity, (Shog9's link is interesting...) but if it worries you, change it :)

  • 1
    you don't even have to specify a birthday at all. it's not a required field. – Kip Jul 17 '09 at 3:19

What I want to know is how to get my birthday to show 0 like the Community user has on their profile.

  • 6
    The "birthday" of Community is 2008/07/31, the same date that the SO private beta went live. – Kyle Cronin Jul 17 '09 at 3:10
  • 1
    @kyle: awesome. – Kip Jul 17 '09 at 3:11

Re: "Also, is there a good reason that the trilogy (err... all 4) sites maintain age in the profile?"

I'll point you to the comments on this answer:

it [age] is relevant when we see a user is 15 years old vs. 40 years old. The 15 year old I am willing to cut more slack on his or her question quality. – Jeff Atwood


I entered my birth date in order to get the Autobiographer badge on Stack Overflow and then removed it again afterwards.


More like ±n random days where n is not necessarily small.

Don't see the need for having the exact birthdate on a site. Ever.

  • Why not add the randomness yourself? – Blixt Jul 17 '09 at 6:57
  • That just won't be random enough – random Jul 17 '09 at 7:26
  • Not random enough? Your name is random after all... – The Unhandled Exception Jul 17 '09 at 13:18

Birthday is one of those things that is frequently used as part of a security measure. However, it's one of the already most readily available pieces of information about a person... Should it be kept private, well, yeah, if you want the existing security measures to work. Is your birthday able to be kept private, no, too late for that. Are all the security measures that use birthdays stupid and broken. Well, yeah. :-)

  • Proper punctuation would make that easier to read :-) – Pete Jul 17 '09 at 15:48

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