Monday, 10 October 2011

Your lack of privacy is your own fault

I've just been playing with the new Facebook lists functionality in order to group everybody, fine tune my posting, and implement a sophisticated social filter for myself. After literally seconds of thought I've decided that the most efficient way to do this is to have one list, which I've dubbed "friends" and put everyone in there. This is essentially because I'm not a fucking retard.

Lists, and Circles. Two words that should have sod all to do with each other.

These days however, they're the latest examples of humanity's new found desire to open every essence of their being to world + dog, but under the false protection of some overly complicated means of self filtering.

Ladies and gentlemen, the sentence you've just read, is, quite simply, utter crap. It's a relatively fair bet that if you're reading this you've got an account on Facebook, Google +, or both. Which means you've been incensed by their crazy new privacy policies, and failed utterly to come to terms with the fact that they're free services, of which you are in no way obliged to use, that exist (in your terms) to allow you to share things with people easily, and (in their terms) to develop a massive marketing knowledge base to monetize your lives and sell advertising space, and incredibly specific market data.

Put simply, there is only one filter you need ever use online. Common bloody sense. The question is easy; Do you want everyone to be able to see something? If the answer isn't yes, then don't post it. Don't sit there thinking you can protect it by creating some complicated filters. You won't, you'll fuck up, you'll move someone, forget to use one of them, or, if you have more than about 25 friends, forget who is in them.

Don't think that by not having people as friends you're protecting yourself either. You can still screw the same things up as above and make something public, but more importantly, it takes less time for me to copy your drunken, embarrassing, semi nude photos, that you may not have even put up yourself, than it took for me to type this sentence. And once I've done that you're fucked. Most of the time I probably don't even need to know you to do it either.

A few weeks back I got a random postcard delivered to my flat from some guy on holiday, declaring his love for a girl that didn't live there, with whom he'd presumably had some holiday romance with. I'd never met either of them, and had no idea who they were.

Within 5 minutes, and using nothing but two first names, a date and the location of a holiday (postmarks are useful here) I'd found both of them on Facebook. I also learnt that she had a boyfriend, who had a decidedly different name to the guy who sent the postcard. It doesn't take much to think about what I could have done there.

So remember, if you're worried about people being able to see things that you'd rather they didn't online. You volunteered for this.

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