Web Anonymity 101 – Digital Breadcrumbs
We are living more of our lives online. In real life if someone followed you, listened in on your conversations and went through your photo album without your permission you would call the police (or maybe they are the police). Things are different online. That information is easy to find; easier than people think.
One friend posted reviews of local restaurants under a pseudonym. He mentioned two of the co-workers he went out eating with in a review. It got back to them within three months after someone recognized the combination of their names. It was “worlds colliding,” not a serious breach of privacy but still a reminder that digital life sometimes intersects with real life when you least expect it.
Another friend learned the fury of a jealous girlfriend who searched his handle and memorized everything he had every written about a former fling. His personal life got unpleasant for a while, but no long term damage (except for back pain from sleeping on the couch).
Most recently a female friend made the mistake of sharing photos from her Flickr account with co-workers. The infatuated office dweeb used that information to find her Myspace account and her blog. An afternoon freak out followed, but in retrospect his actions were more pathetic than perilous.
Is it cyber-stalking if someone searches for information about you online? It is na�ve to assume that a blind date wouldn’t search Google before meeting you in person. Everyone has Googled themselves at one point or another and snooped on their Google dopplegangers (like engtech.ca, a consulting firm in PEI). But what about when we are Google by people we know, or more importantly, by people we barely know?
People don’t think twice about the digital breadcrumbs they leave behind with every website they join, every photo they upload, and every message they post. You might be comfortable with complete strangers reading your blog, but what about the guy who sits next to you in class? What about your boss?
We aren’t afraid of complete strangers being able to find out details of our lives. It is friends, family, co-workers and the “familiar strangers” we are hiding from.
- Internet Address Book – Web anonymity down the drain
- >> Web anonymity for bloggers whose lives might really be in danger (earlier draft, via Lorelle)
(Apologies to Chartreuse from behind his self-inflicted Great Wall of Web, because I really bit his style of posting.)