Internet Privacy?

The Internet despite all its wonderful splendor, has certainly diminished our privacy, such that the concept of Internet privacy is really an oxymoron.  Have you Googled your name lately?  It can be quite eye-opening to see what comes up – real estate transactions, social media comments, boat registrations, political contributions, things you might not expect that will certainly surprise you.  There are companies that you can pay for search engine cleanups, but the average person would not bother.

Wienergate prompts me to reinforce this message, which hopefully we all already know.   Anything you create digitally might be seen by someone other than you intended, this includes emails, Facebook posts, Twitter tweets, LinkedIn messages, Craigslist posts, text messages, etc.  Data from these applications sits on file servers of the service provider, and access to your data or account passwords could be subpoenaed in court.   Additionally, though you may erase a file from your hard drive, it is still there until written over. 

In many cases when we are online we have the right to control our information, to make a decision regarding who we are sharing with.  On Facebook I can decide to hide my profile from search engines, and only share my photos with friends, so I feel relatively safe and private.  However my profile picture can be seen by anyone who searches for me on Facebook, and a simple right click on my photo makes it available for copying and downloading.   I know I don’t like this, but I still keep my profile picture posted, as do millions of others.  This is not a Facebook issue, you can copy most content from websites this way.

If there is something you need to keep private, then keep it away from your computer and cell phone – this includes files, emails, Tweets, Facebook content,  text messages, anything digital.  My advice is be careful and cautious regarding your online and offline content as we really don’t know where the path of our digital footprint is heading!

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