My Internet Birthday recently passed. What is an Internet Birthday, you ask? Why it’s the arbitrary date that I’ve chosen to give when a website wants to know my birthday. You see, gentle reader, the vast majority of websites that ask for your birthday have no real reason to have it; most of the time it will simply be used for marketing. Whether or not you really care about that relatively innocuous usage, the real danger is that a lot of legitimate, organizations such as financial institutions, hospitals, and governments, use your birthday as an identifying piece of informationâ€”as though providing such a date is a verification of the person speaking or filling out a form.
Because of this abuse of a fairly public piece of information for the purpose of security, it is reasonable to want to keep your date of birth somewhat secretâ€”or at least refrain from giving it to everyone who asks. Unfortunately, many services require you to provide a date of birth when signing up; some will give you a bonus if you give them your birthday. So as to not miss out on these services, I simply came up with a date that I use as my birthday when asked on the internet. I no longer hesitate to provide the information asked. Why not use a random date every time you sign up? Sometimes, particularly if you forget your password, a website will want you to enter your birthday at a later time to verify who you are. By choosing one date and sticking to it, you can always give the correct information.