[Herts] Twitter info?

Mike - XP Computers mike at xpcomputers.co.uk
Fri Feb 26 16:50:15 UTC 2010

>> I think it is fine to keep separate personas in the online world, since
>> do in our offline world too. I would say different things to work
>> colleagues, than to family, or to close friends, or to prospective
>> or to vague acquaintances! It is not that we are pretending to be
>>  different, or lying about who we are, we are just being selective about
>>  what we reveal to whom.
>I don't mind having my 'personas' linked, but others may prefer to be more 
>anonymous for whatever reasons. I keep it open on the chance that people
>find we have common interests, e.g. someone from a tech site may also be a 
>I need to write down my thoughts on the whole social thing. It's a whole
>world for us all and the benefits/dangers are not all clear yet. My kids
>going to live in an on-line world and so I want to try and keep up.

The biggest change is that they will live out their teenage years in a world
where one foolish comment might stick around forever, and affect job
prospects etc. You can't easy delete stuff from the Web... what with all the
caches etc... and there are worrying trends about web profiling that
companies do when you apply. Wasn't there a UK council that was demanding
all social website passwords as part of their application process for a job
so they could vet you! Ok, I would never even apply to such a place that has
a low regard for personal privacy and password security... but the trends
are there. 

Of course the same applies to us now too, but at least we are older (and
hopefully wiser) now... when I think about what I got up to as a teen, and
am very glad the net wasn't mainstream then to record it all! When you are
young it is hard to realise that what you do then affects your whole life.

However, it is amazing what you can find out about lots of people given an
hour or two and some clever google searching. I suspect there are probably
"internet detectives" who specialise in doing this work for you for a fee!!

Two examples: My wife was trying to track down an old friend of her Dad's to
surprise him. He is some high up London bod, who is personally ex-directory
everything! However, we managed to find his middle initial on one website,
which adding that to a "name i surname" type google search brought up a
private site with a presentation he'd written. Clicking through to the site
gave permission errors, yet clicking the cached link, showed us the full
presentation page, including his secretaries phone number. He was very glad
we'd found him, but was worried that something had slipped through onto the
net when he spends his whole life trying to hide himself! Ok we got lucky,
but we're not experts, so if someone really knows what they are doing, I'm
sure MUCH more is available and open to identity theft and worse.

Then just yesterday, I was trying to track down the previous owner of my car
to see if he knew anything about the history of the car to help diagnose a
current problem with it. I had a name and town, but again he was
ex-directory even on 192.com. However, I did a search for { "name surname"
town } on google, and found two people in the same town as him on Facebook,
who listed him as a friend. Figuring it was worth a shot, I dropped him a
Facebook message, and it was him and he phoned me to give me a half hour
chat about the history of the car. Again he was fully ex-directory and
ex-electoral-register and his own facebook profile gave little away to the
public... but I had enough pieces to put the jigsaw together and approach

Armed with a bit of worry that generated about what my friends might give
away about me on Facebook, I then went hunting myself to check my own
privacy settings, since Facebook keep moving the goalposts. I discovered
that most if my info was available to applications that my friends
installed!! Eeek. Date of Birth, Religious View, Political Views, etc etc
etc. So any fraudulent apps that a less security conscious friend was duped
into installing could have stolen all my info, even with my own settings
locked tight! (Fortunately I don't publish anything that would be
devastating if it went public), but even so a lesson there too... you have
to check and KEEP checking the privacy settings, as I'd previously locked
myself fully down already, but something had opened them up again!
Well worth checking your own settings to see what your friends might be
giving away about you...

At the end of the day we are all only just learning how to live in this new
world... and it will keep changing and evolving too. 


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