Friday, January 10, 2014

My Life as a Stalker (Updated Post on internet privacy)

I updated this post because the original version was far too rambling. I've tried to get to the point much more succinctly now.

About ten years ago, one of my husband's brothers had recently gotten married. He and his wife went on a short vacation to California; while they were there, her parents called my husband's parents because because of some identity theft issues where someone was pretending to be her to access a bank account and such. It took some time and creative thinking, but I was the person able to track them down in California as they stayed with friends of friends (none of whom I knew).

My middle name is very unusual; a little over a year ago, I found out more details about the woman my parents gave me the name from. I was able to use this information to track her down, in spite of her specific efforts to minimize the availability of her information on the internet. Again, patience, time, and creative thinking paid off.

These are just two stories about how I am good at stalking people. 

Internet security scares me. It's hard to keep up; fridges can send spam, and one tab can steal secure information (like usernames, passwords, and credit card info) from another tab you have open ("cross site request forgery"). Unless you are careful, pictures taken with your cell phone may include your location. It's difficult to keep up, and changing policies from companies like Facebook and Apple make it even harder to control the movement of personal information and data.

Frightening though security is, I like the internet! I have only used Facebook for a few months now, but I really enjoy it! And, though someone could definitely stalk our family easily online, I really don't think that anybody is interested enough to bother doing so.

So, I choose to ignore some risks and avoid others. I keep a public blog, while my information on Facebook is only viewable by my "friends" (which does includes a lot of people I haven't seen in a lot of years). However, I actively avoid posting my children's names online. Thus, if you send in a comment with my kid's names, I won't publish it.

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