Wednesday, November 21, 2007

For Everyone in Internet Funfunland!

To My (Future) Friends and (Future) Colleagues,

Ah, privacy...I don’t need it because I do want everyone and their supporting businesses to know what brand of soap I use whenever I shower (Dove, btw), the type of floss I floss with (Crest is my buddy-for-life), and the toothbrush I abuse (come here Oral-B!)

I keep thinking about the idea of modern-day ghosts (or “spooks” in Gibson’s latest novel), people who have no online record of any sort - bills, purchases, journals, search engines, email accounts, photos, personal records - nothing. They are essentially invisible. This has become a difficult entity to be without assuming a false persona since government, business, and personal records are increasingly accessible online.

If privacy is such a big issue for you (and I know it can scare the hiccups out of people who are fully aware of the situation), then don’t go online. Ever. Then you would only have to deal with the physical records and computer records kept as a result of what you do out in the “real” world. Simple enough, yeah? Or alternately, hook up with some good hackers and computer security folks and learn how they secure themselves (or better yet, become one of *them*).

Of course, those are the two extremes. What’s the average schlemiel do? (I can say that because I’m part Jewish and I study the Torah every day and there’s a sub-mitzvot that states the conditions for the use of that word.)

You can start by not doing anything online on a personal computer. This means putting any factual info about your actual self on a computer you bought and own. Don’t put up anything you’re not willing to share with the entire world, which would include possible stalkers, serial murderers, high-school-bombing terrorists, cannibal lovers, your friendly national government, or Prozac-happy salesmen wanting to show you their “new product” in their “bag.” This would include your real name (e.g. Ezekiel Jeremiah Deadman), your phone number (666-CALLS-ME), your address (corner of Baka and Chyun) and what-have-you.

So what I am saying is this: think about what you’re putting on your Facebook/MySpace/LJ/weblog/Flickr/Google/skin scroll the next time you’re online. Someone will be able to find that information without much difficulty - well, that last one may pose some problems but that should be the least of your worries, eh? So be safe, know all the facts, and join me in my paranoia.

(I’d wear something better than this.)

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