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Privacy for webmasters

2:28 pm on May 11, 2009 (gmt 0)

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joined:Aug 11, 2004
votes: 0

A sad story coming-out of the UK today [news.bbc.co.uk].

Makes me think that privacy online is more important than some people would realize, and unfortunately Twitter, Facebook and all are going the exact opposite way of privacy.

As webmasters, when it comes to content sites or forums, we are somewhat public figures, and must behave accordingly. Twitter and Facebook are great and can be part of your marketing, but there are limits to be respected.

The problem is that so much info is online, and so much of it is indexed, that it is easy for someone to re-construct your personal life.

Personally, I have a few rules: my phone numbers are never publicly listed, nor is my address. In North America, the 411 service gives away your phone number and address to anyone that has your name (the biggest security breach in history IMHO), so I pay my telco not to be listed there. My website registrations are anonymous, again through a paying service. My 2nd rule is not give away my full name on any of my sites: that means no linking to Facebook, blurring-out my name when I need to, no real-names on my blog, etc....

I know that these simple rules might seem archaic to some of you; I personally have friends that blur their personal and work identities online without thinking about it a 2nd time. But then again they don't run websites. Still, maybe I am old fashioned, but it makes me feel safer.

5:08 am on May 13, 2009 (gmt 0)

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10+ Year Member

joined:Nov 16, 2004
votes: 1


Well, if you feel it's old-fashioned, then you'll view me as ancient.

Back when it was first possible to allow utility companies to draw money directly from a bank account I flatly told my wife that would never happen with my approval. Never liked the idea of somebody having my account information where I personally didn't set security for its storage. nor did I even then like the idea of any personal information being in a computer.

Of course, there was the added point of my not being able to withhold a payment if there seemed a mistake in the bill.

I didn't get a credit card until someone told me I'd never be able to rent a car without one. Or check into a decent hotel.

Ah heck, the list goes on and on and on of all the ways I have not cooperated with those that want to make things "easier" for me to part with my money, my personal information, etc.

I've been working the Net at the admin level for a number of years and you would probably have a hard time finding out much about me even now, except for a story here and there ... by now they've piled up, I guess, but far between.

Heck, I started considering and worrying about "Net" security and privacy back when ARPA was started, so there's a bit of private information -- I'm an old geezer.

I have always found it difficult to understand the lax attitudes I've run into over the years related to privacy and security, and not just on the Net. And not just at the personal level. Governmments and companies as well.

But with government, I think privacy is out the window. Left the farm. Pandora's Box is open. Governments lead the way to trampling all over privacy and companies gladly followed them out the window, off the farm, and prying open the Box.

I don't know -- maybe I'm just an old geezer out of touch with reality, but some of the stuff going on really, really makes me wonder. And, yes, I suppose I've posted tirades over the years on specific cases. Fat chance it ever did any good.

Of course, you'll never find me on Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, or any of those 15-minutes-of-fame sites. Lucky for me I'm too busy doing other things on the Net when brick-and-mortar matters aren't taking up my time.