Monday, June 29, 2009

Public Privacy?

I don’t like to share a lot about myself. I have always been that way, I prefer to internalize and hide behind aliases. When the web was young I did searches for myself and demanded removal from sites listing my name, phone, address, etc… and it was largely effective back in the day. Yes, I had websites to show the family out of state pics of the kids, and I saved domain names because it was cool, but I never thought about posting much more.
Forward to 2009, with social networking sites, blog sites, tweets and search engines nothing is private. Nothing. As I have gotten older I can’t stop complaining about news and happenings, this turns every website I have ever had into not just a online repository of my links and notes, but my own little soapbox. Nothing I post is Private. I am aware of this, I accept it.

I understand how much information about everyone is out there, waiting for the right search to show itself in a search. (This is why some search engines were supposedly started with government seed money. Look it up yourself, and believe what you want. ) I know more than most about this because I have had positions where finding that private information on the internet was part of my job. And this is where Facebook comes in.

Years ago, I was asked to look for company info on social networks. As a requirement to search, I had to have an account on most social network webpages, and I took the opportunity to save one of my common aliases on all the sites. Now I will periodically get request emails asking “Is this you?” from former classmates, co-workers, and sometimes family members asking about some account somewhere. Well, I give. I have now embraced my Facebook account. (Go ahead and search for me.)

This brings me to my true point: Privacy. I don’t kid myself, if anyone wants to know my name, address, phone, birthday, and other private info it is not hard. Heck, get my address and you can look up my property value or drive by our house and see the cars in the driveway on Google Earth. Most people only require a few clicks to get the information together about anyone. I do remain guarded about my life but let's get real, we are all an open book these days. So the most important thing to do is think about what you share, how you share it, and when you share it. NOTHING YOU POST ON THE INTERNET IS PRIVATE. (Then again, sometimes that is the point.) Here is a short checklist of things I think about while posting.

  • You are not anonymous. They can find you.
  • Don’t post pictures that you don’t want used by others. You may have copyright, a watermark, but people will still use it, and in ways that may offend/exploit.
  • Don’t post something that you would not want others to read 5 years down the road.
  • Don’t do this stuff at work. Losing your job it not worth the post. In most cases.
Below are 4 links of people who did not think about these things. Enjoy, and remember, we are all watching.


Unknown said...

I'm sorry, do i know you?

In seriousness, the first link (slashdot) is amazing. Her family received death threats b/c she said her dislikes her hometown? That's just plum nuts. I'd hate that town too.

So just in case, i apologize in advance for any death threats you receive b/c of me. But i'm sure whatever i said was funny.

wortwood said...

These things just prove the majority of people are self important crazy.
Never a need to apologize. Humor is what keeps me sane, that and the voices, and vodka, and wine, and cigars...