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Friday, September 5, 2014

Privacy and the Right to be Stupid

Much has been written in the news and other dark corners of the Internet about the issue of on-line privacy.  Think "famous actress nudie photos leaded from Banana bCloud" and such.  Some of it is almost reported with a tinge of horror, as if someone's very existence has been violated to the core.  Anyway, just to kind of sort of maybe wade into this just a tad bit, here are a few random thoughts from me, someone who knows just enough to be dangerous when it comes to Internet security (and basic common sense).

  1. Don't put your nude s*#t on the Internet (unless you actually want someone to see it).  This one should be a layup, but apparently it isn't for everyone.  Just don't do it.  Period.  Ever. 
  2. The Internet is not EVER a completely safe place for anything.  See item #1. Once content leaves your computer assume it could fall into anyone's hands.
  3. If you want to keep copies of stuff, make sure you keep those copies off-line.  While I have three on-line storage services for my stuff, all of my important files are backed up not onto one of those clouds, but rather onto a physical, removable, off-line mass storage device.  For the record, none of my "stuff" includes me being in the "buff".  Hey, that sounds like a rap lyric.  Yes, the backup process is manual, and yes it takes time.  Yes also that my mass storage device could be stolen.  I could also come down with Ebola, but seriously, we are talking general odds here folks, with the bottom line being that off-line storage is simply more secure than on-line storage.  
  4. Set basic standards for your public, on-line life (oh, and then follow them).  Maybe, just maybe, it's not important to share every detail of your life on the Facebooks.  If you do, however, want to share every detail of your life on the Facebooks, then please just know that you are surrendering every ounce privacy you think you may have to a company that is far more interested in profit than it is you.  Facebook is a business, it is not your friend.  
  5. Ask before you drag others into your on-line life.  Don't reference any family members or loved ones on-line unless they have given you permission to do so. 
  6. Pay attention to what you do when you are on-line.  On-line scams and hacks exist because the perpetrators of such things count on folks not paying attention.  Sadly, for example, this means actually reading all of those annoying pop-up boxes that appear when Java insists on it's 28th update for this month ("Oh, that's why I have that annoying toolbar on Internet Explorer.",).  This also means not clicking of that file that claims to be your winning ticket to $87,000,000 from the Irish sweepstakes.  Sorry, the only thing you have won is potentially a case of Internet Herpes.
 You can thank me later.  Now I'm off to Google image "Jennifer Lawrence".

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