Online Privacy - Does it exist?

Recently I’ve been thinking alot about this topic - Online privacy

When i first started out on the Internet i already knew alot about it and I wasn’t ur average newbie! I knew the basics of online security, privacy and protection - I adopted a stay secure at all times approach to using the net, on a personal level and tech level

For me, I am still very cautious about how I am on the net and also how much information i share and what i make up - in some cases! I have talked to many people on the net and registered on many sites over the years but i’ve also always had many aliases along the way aswell!

I see so many of you on here and you share information about yourself so readily and im wondering how can u do it without thinking, god i could be talking to a bunch of lunatics or something! Im not trying to be judgemental and paranoid in saying every1 u talk to online is a mad nutcase of course not but how can u feel safe enough to divulge that information? like for instance, ur full name, ur business details, personal pictures etc…

I talk to a alot of people on these forums and indeed around the web but only a select few know me well and even then i keep ppl at arms length - recently i wanted to create an a/c with a social community site and instantly my stay secure head has switched that button on and im thinkin about ways to protect myself etc…!!

There are pros and cons to this way of going on but i often think am i the only one who is this radical with their online privacy? please tell me there are others lol :shifty:

Im open to suggestions on how to break the mould but still be sensible about it - so all contributions are welcome :cool:

There’s one rule of the Net: information is never lost. If you posted anything to the ’Net, it won’t be erased completely.

What’s worse, since Google, for example, keeps a number of newsgroups archives, most of them more than 10 years old, then anything posted there can be a matter of public access.

The only way to keep privacy is to post as little about oneself as possible. It means IMs as well. Wherever you post to a blog or forum, leave your comment anywhere, otherwise place on the ’Net any information — please think first, whether do you really wish to let that be visible to anyone for an indefinite future.

Let alone social networks that like both to ask a lot of personal data and to share those

u see i know all this too and as soon as i think about posting any content i think about the repercussions/consequences of my actions i.e. where its going to be cached, association of my name or alias with that data etc…like when im posting here on SP i dont mind about the cache feature because prior to registration I had already thought this through! I feel very calculating when im online because im constantly thinkin about the next step on what i say and type even in IM etc… Offline im nothing like this of course which makes me feel that one can never truely be themselves on the internet!

There are many people who register for services like say yahoo mail or hotmail or whatever and they just type in all their personal data and even on blogs or social sites and im like what the…how can they do it! I cringe for them and wonder what are they thinking! Even on a professional level as an IT tutor obviously when im teaching beginners computers email comes up and registering for a new a/c and its a difficult situation, do we put all proper information in or do we create an alias - so again i guess after discussing the pros and cons of each i leave the individual to choose what they wish to do, but again where do u draw the line!

[FONT=“Georgia”]Many share information like that online for the same reason they share information like that on a TV commercial.

For me, I make no separations between who I am out in the “real” world and who I am online.

Why should I?

I’m the same person and I have nothing to hide.


Yep, I agree with Shaun. I too am the same person on and off line. I will state what I think and not distort anything to appear to be somebody else.

I am never ashamed of what I say, because I mean it. When I am silly, that is part of me. When I am serious, that is part of me.

I do not even mind when my name is known fully, after all, I run an online business and all information is there on the site, that includes all ways of contact.

Obviously I keep pass words and such private.

There are some things to worry about how your personal information online is treated and more importantly what information you publish yourself. To illustrate what I mean, imagine if someone was following you 24/7 and documented your every action. Well, your every action is well documented online. It’s not a matter of being someone else online, but a matter how much of yourself you want to be documented.

As such, I never post online what I wouldn’t like to be published in a newspaper. Alas, in some cases such as email or instant messaging, some things may be posted that shouldn’t be, because of a perceived “privacy” which exists only to some extent and never to the extent of, say, you singing in the shower.

In other words, there’s only so much privacy when you hand over the information to a 3rd party.

Still, though, information such the full name is not the type of information to be paranoid about - there are thousands of others with that name in most cases anyway! Your personal address if you’re not doing business at that address, can be an issue no doubt. Personal pictures… well, some pictures indeed better not be published anywhere :shifty: Business details, though, are inherently public - how do you do business if you’re hiding from your potential clients? (unless there’s someone to hide from of course)

Online privacy is the ability to control what information one reveals about oneself over the Internet, and to control who can access that information. But a lot cheating is done on online. So we have to be careful about the information given on internet.

its not about hiding anything its about protecting urself online - i guess i am pretty much a private person anyway, i am always myself but there are many sides to me i guess but where the internet is concerned i am very guarded and im always thinking about my online presence and how its affected by my actions online or what i talk about or where i post etc…

whats ur point about the tv commercial side of things/saying ur real name and business online - do u mean on a professiona level and the exposure of that online? i do see the benefits of this and of course i advertise my business in the right setting but i do feel there is a time and place for that and also in what context and what capacity - thats why i dont promote my business through my mizwizzy alias!

I am always myself too, I dont pretend to be anyone else I love being me! When i mentioned making up things at time i meant like a fake D.O.B or real name or the likes of that, id never register with any service with my real details unless its something legit or for some other purpose were i find it safe and appropriate

Obviously i too give my real name with my business and for processing payment details but not with the likes of my mizwizzy alias, people know me as hazel of course thats comfortable with me to share that information but there are many ppl ive talked to for years and they still dont know my last name! lol I dont think anything bad of them i just cant snap out of being levelheaded about what information i should and shouldnt share!

i agree with the picture thing yes - as for the real name only first name i would be comfortable with as i said before

everything you post online is logged in some way shape or form and to think otherwise its very niaive so thats partly my reason for the online protection guard!

the business side of things i disassociate that with my personal alias online - i find it hard to believe that im the only person who has 2 seperate presences online?! Dont u have a business head and a just for laughs one also?

in what respect?

nothing to hide does not necessary equal to: “Expose it all” :rolleyes:

I can’t speak for others but I take privacy seriously on the net, and I never expose information that I consider private, not relevant or needed.

I have friends on the net I have been talking to for 14 years now, and they still don’t know who I am, but we are still friends - and talks almost every week.

I have been a co-owner of some chatrooms since '97 and still no one there knows who I am. they know what I do, my hobbies etc, but not who I am or where I live. This information is not needed by the other owners, OP’s or guests, and it works fine. It took 10 years before they even saw a picture of me.

But of course, I also knows people on the net that I told who I am from the first time we met. It’s all about what kind of relationship it is. if it is related to business, you probably is better off telling who you are :stuck_out_tongue: but if it is more of a private matter… that is in my opinion something else.

And I don’t think my life is so special that everyone is dying to hear about it either :lol: or is it :shifty:

Anyway, I guess it’s up to each individual how they act on the net, but I do find it scary how easily people gives away info :sick:

I’m not paranoid, but I think someone is spying on me… :shifty:

:lol: crazy they are after you!!

i agree with ur sensible and responsible approach to the net and it really does depend on the type of person u are talkin to online and of course ur connection with them whether its business or an online buddy :tup:

it is very scary as you said how ppl so readily provide information about themselves, i mean look at all the kids on all those social network sites, they have all their private details out there and in some instances their addresses or phone numbers or schools they go to, i mean there are online predators about and its just like taking candy from a baby really, its crazy!

I’m sure you’re not the only one to do that.

Personally, I don’t do it. That doesn’t mean that I register at random online sites and drop my CV immediately. And I do use a few aliases. However I’d never deliberately do something in one place that would make me feel wary about different places coming together.

In other words - no different presences, just like in real life.

Otherwise, it reminds me of a person who has an impeccable reputation at work but beats his wife at home.

But some people have these needs that aren’t appropriate everywhere, and I’ll not be the one to judge… :shifty:

ah, so ur saying just because someone can be professional in one instance and personal in another that they are up to no good?

i just cant associate mizwizzy with my professional business - it just doesnt seem right at all, i would associate “hazel” with my business and “mizwizzy hazel” with the likes of SP, gaming like scrabble or poker online - i dont need my customers googling my business and seeing a load of mizwizzy fantastic unbeatable scrabble/poker player references :lol:

i just think its good to seperate them both, nothing to hide just a professional approach to my online presence

That was just one example off top of my head, although deliberately exaggerated, I admit :shifty:

I’m not talking about associating, it’s more about strictly dissociating. I don’t see any need to do that. So what if I have 1000s of utterly stupid messages in GC and they could be traced back by my clients and customers. They’re harmless. I’m a person, not a bot.

On the other hand, if I act like an idiot, troll around and constantly get into flame wars on one forum then pretend to look like a serious business man looking for business on another, there certainly is something to dissociate from.

Honestly, I don’t immediately discard an idea that a person might be up to no good if they have a need for several dissociated presences. But hey, I’m not gonna judge anyone by that, though I do keep my eye on Crazybanana :rofl:

:lol: he does have stalker qualities when he’s not raiding the fridge! :rofl:

well ok, im glad u see where im coming from - i post on here primarily in GC, mostly silly things and for fun - its not a professional presence for me here, ive never viewed it like that or expected anything to come of it, i just post because I enjoy it and its a break from the serious stuff

i run a community forum on my own website and im on there as Manager/Adminstrator - i am still myself and same personality of course but im also representing my business so ive always got my professional head on there!

But back to the original question, I guess reflecting back if i seperate both, even on those two levels i still have these privacy issues niggling away about what i should and shouldnt share online - i guess u just can never be too careful

I find online privacy a bit of a misnomer, personally I know that privacy on the web doesn’t exist, and as it’s almost impossible to carry out your daily life without using services which require information of some kind I just don’t bother to make it up or hide it. I’ve been hanging out in chat-rooms since I was 12 years old (this was before all those bogus news stories about paedos being everywhere) and sure, I had some really strange incidents like one time this person followed me round MSN Chat everywhere (technically digital stalker) but I really didn’t give a hoot for several reasons. If you want to find information about someone it’s very easy to get it (either legally or otherwise), hiding your personal information doesn’t mean that you can’t be found, everyone acts in certain ways and if you know what you are doing you could probably piece together their activities just based on psychological behaviour. Granted not many people would be insane enough to want to do it but what I’m saying is, you can use quirky names, false identities or anything else but all it takes is one slip up for people to discover who you are, I really don’t care who knows who I am and I’ve always used my real credentials… and you know what? As of this moment no-one has appeared on my doorstep, sent me phone calls, unwanted mail or done anything remotely creepy with my information. Granted this post probably is opening a door to something bad but I’ve never had an issue with people knowing me because I don’t have anything to hide. Privacy on the web is a farce and anyone who thinks their “safe” doesn’t realise what their saying :slight_smile:

yeah i agree alex, its totally non private out there, and wow @ being in chatrooms when u were 12, sorry to break it to u but paedos were still around back then :shifty:

but yeah u just need to have a bit of cop on and be aware of what the limitation is with the amount of information u share about urself etc

i wouldnt be as open as u with the amount of information you choose to share though, i guess im pretty much a private person either online or offline

Well I never came across any, I used to moderate chat rooms so if anyone was doing anything like that I could have banned them pretty easily, the thing I’ve learned from socializing online is that the benefits far outweigh the risks in being honest and open so I just went along with it :slight_smile:

for me it’s not so much about risks or having “anything to hide”, it’s more like: “it’s not of their business”. if the information is not relevant to the relationship, why would I start revealing details from my private life.

I have met weird people online these years though ,but I’ve met far more offline :stuck_out_tongue:

but that’s me… I can’t speak for others :slight_smile:

yeah, well msn and yahoo were pretty much saturated with weirdos and paedos when i used to use them that was about 10years ago - back then to me being oneself was never an option - perhaps its different for girls we are far more guarded, maybe there are other girls out there who might have a similiar or not so similiar stance on this issue? like to hear their thoughts too

weirdos are everywhere online and offline of course, i agree with when and where is appropriate to share information, i would be as guarded offline as i am online, i guess its personal preference and just how u are about ur own private life i guess

ps: tell us all ur horror stories crazy :lol:

Depends where you hung out I guess, I was always in the computing section of MSN Chat and I only ever encountered one truly dangerous individual but he was soon taken care of. Am I the only one to miss the days of IRC chat rooms now that everyone seems to just float about social networks and IM clients? :slight_smile: