Before stepping back into the construction arena full time, my main day job for almost 10 years was working for the State of Arizona in the Information Technology field; where the bulk of the later years was focused mainly on data & information security. During this 10 year period, it was pretty interesting dealing with all the changes and challenges that the internet brought. When I started out, the IT department was the only one that had a standalone PC that could dial into the net, to when I left where almost every single employee could access it from their desk.
Imagine my surprise (and please excuse me for this minor rant) when I see this week’s Let’s Blog Off is on Privacy & they lead off with this schmuck’s line of “Having two identities for yourself is an example of a lack of integrity.” Really Marc, that’s pretty rich coming from the guy with you & your company’s stellar commitment to privacy, security, and associated business practices. Ok sorry, rant off… While we have covered some aspects of online security before, I thought we would dive into this Lets Blog Off with a five general thoughts based on my security background. We would also like to encourage you to check out the list of participating bloggers at the end for their take on this subject.
Your Privacy is up to YOU:
The first important thing to realize is it is up to you what you release. Just like IRL (in real life) where you may discuss different things depending on which family member &/or friends you are talking to, the same applies to what you post on a forum or other Social Media site.
Protect your Identity:
I think the item that constantly amazes me is how easily people turn over information that others have no need to like their Social Security number, birth date, and other items needed for someone to steal their identity. Seriously folks the DMV, & other associated State / Federal / Local government agencies, health insurance company, doctor’s office, etc… do not need your SSN. The only ones required to actually receive it are basically your creditors, employers, and taxing agencies.
Along the same lines are these new password recovery schemes questions where they will ask you for your mother’s maiden name, first or favorite pet’s name, etc… Sure that information might be easy to remember, but it also is used by many for their passwords and in some cases a marketer’s wet dream. Imagine my surprise when I received a piece of personalized junk mail for pets & they mention a dog’s name of Turquoise which was a made up name I used to use for answering some of those questions…
Public vs. XYZ Identities:
Sorry Marc, but just because someone might have a business profile, a personal profile, and/or maybe other types of profiles (like one involving their hobby), it doesn’t make them unethical, immoral, or show that they have a lack of integrity – it just means they may wish to keep certain aspects of their life separate or private.
If you wouldn’t want to tell…
Just as a reminder, everything you put up on the net, or email you send (unless it is to your lawyer) is or can be out there for the whole world to see as Microsoft found out to their chagrin during their monopoly trial. We have also seen cases where people have not been accepted to college, or gotten a job just based on what they posted to their My Spaces, Facebook, and other places.
While I doubt many reading this need to know about this, I find it amazing how many are surprised about what is out there about them. If you are curious what someone might find by pulling a search on you, it is pretty simple – just type your name in on Google or Bing. In my case Linked In, Twitter, Google+ & my profile on LBL’s Home Energy Pro’s is all above the fold on both sites.
Checking the Locks:
Just like you lock & check the door when you leave the house in the morning, you need to make sure your PC / Laptop / Smart Phone is secured via passwords, the latest patches & virus updates. With that in mind, just remember that locks are only there to keep honest people honest, so you might be careful with what data is left on your PC or smart phone. For example, my credit card numbers and other associated data like that, is not stored on my laptop.
Hopefully this got you to think some about your privacy & how open you want to be. Only you can answer that one question, what is privacy to you & how much does it matter to you? With that said, let’s see what the other bloggers take was on this topic…