A group of Rad Ref librarians recently put together a zine for librarians about surveillance. Includes "know your rights" info; suggestions for applications, browser plug-ins, and other tech tools for online privacy; and, of course, a reading list!
To transform this PDF into a zine, first print the odd pages. Then flip over the pages and print the evens on the reverse.
I've heard there are some companies that offer a service to extort websites that include information about you (such as Reputation Defender mentioned in this article: http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2007/03/06/AR2007030602705.html). So, you pay a company that then harasses websites that have stuff about you on their site. I assume this works for companies, personal blogs, discussion boards, etc. Other places like government agencies who have information online may be more difficult to work with. I can't imagine you can have your name entirely stricken from the Google/Yahoo index. Plus as you mentioned there would be problems with "identity confusion" (which Jane Doe to eliminate).
You can request that pages you own be removed from the indexes (here's info from Google: http://www.google.com/support/webmasters/bin/topic.py?topic=8459). So if you used to have a webpage/blog/etc, you could try to have it removed from the indexes. Really someone who wants to be "unlisted" should make sure their telephone/address listings are unlisted (and contact any companies that list you), never sign up for anything, use an alias with an unidentifiable email that no one knows is you (i.e. don't share w/ your friends), never create profiles or in any way add information online. Keep doing searches and approach those businesses or agencies that list you individually to ask to be removed. You can make DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) requests to have your own copyrighted content taken down.
Does anyone know of any project(s), or at the very least any conversations, about creating an option/algorithm wherein people who choose to be unGoogle-able, un-Yahoo-able, un-Internet-searchable can do so? Rather like being unlisted in the phone book, except one could type in one's name and request that when people type that name into the search engine, all that comes up is "unlisted," versus one's phone number, place of employment, marathon race times, etc. This is very different than taking oneself off the reverse directory or off of Switchboard.
I know that one problem would be names that are the same. Will the real Jane Smith stand up? Jane Smith Number One wants to be Googled, the more often the better; whereas Jane Smith 2 is hiding from her abusive ex-husband. Anyway, I'd like to know if other folks are discussing this perfectly reasonable option, wherein my disclosure of my information is my choice.
This can quickly get into legal assistance, which would require at least a legal aide society or Law school volunteer assistance, if there is an issue that is affecting you personally. But you can also do quite a bit of research on your own, if you want to read laws or news articles about this. For example, there are state sites such as Maryland Law Library, which links to Maryland laws. You can either browse categories or search, which gets 180 hits for: privacy, and 5 hits for: privacy and library. You can find some local ordinances in city of county sites, but that seems more hit-or-miss. Federal laws can be searched at uscode.house.gov, which gets 3 hits for: "library records" and 180 for: library and records. Other words to try would be: privacy, confidentiality, and maybe even "identity theft", which gets 21 hits. But also, you would probably want to search for POLICIES in your library's website, possibly under administration or staff - IF those pages are publically available. University libraries, especially public ones, may be more likely to have policy documents open to public view - for example, the University of Maryland Libraries' Administrative Memos, which in turn link to University Policy But if the particular library you are dealing with does not seem to have an easily findable policy (not even via its "site search"), you can either go to the next higher level (the county or state page) to see if they have policies linked.