Last week, something really creepy happened to me that made me re-evaluate how open I am on the internet and how easy it is to find out someone’s personal details.
For many people (including myself), the internet has been the perfect way to create an online diary, to share your thoughts, experiences, and to become friends with people you never would have met otherwise. Thanks to the internet, a lot of people’s worlds are a lot smaller than they were 20 years ago.
I consider myself to be pretty internet and privacy savvy; I’ve been using the ol’ interwebs for a good 13 years now and I like to think that I wouldn’t make any rookie errors when it comes to my privacy – obviously, that’s not true.
We all have a good idea about what we shouldn’t be sharing and have probably all read stories about people who’ve had something happen to them as a result of their information being too easily available online and scoffed, wondering how they could be so stupid. But when the internet is something you’ve grown up with, and is something you associate with making friends and good things, it’s easy to become lax. You always think nothing will ever happen to you, and our lives seem to revolve around sharing, sharing, sharing.
It’s easy to leave your hometown, school, or place of work public on your Facebook profile, or forget to turn off geotagging so your photos are on a map showing your exact location, or not paying for extra privacy when buying a domain, allowing the world to see your address.
For me, the internet has always been about meeting other people with similar interests and I’ve never had an experience before know that’s made me want to remove pretty much anything that to someone with a lot of time, or maybe not a lot of time, could piece together my identity and intrude into real life.
The majority of people who use the internet aren’t weirdos or creeps, but I guess you always have to cater for the 0.1%; the weirdos, the scammers, and identity thievers (is that a word?).
What do you think; do you think you’re too open on the internet?