Should You Be Paranoid In What You Post Online?

Not long ago, I was having an interesting conversation with someone online, and the gentleman mentioned to me, that “maybe I shouldn’t be telling you any of this.” Apparently, the information was somewhat secret and might indeed, if it got out into the world that is, cause a problem for the other parties involved, not him of course, he was a neutral party, more of an observer, however he was in the flow of information you see.
Okay so, let’s talk about this, should you be as paranoid as my acquaintance is online? Well, yes, you should be somewhat paranoid in some regards. For instance, if you are in college and putting pictures of yourself online, or involved in conversations that might hurt your prospects for getting a job in the future someday – then you should be thinking here. Ask yourself, do you want your future co-workers to know this information, or the human resource department for instance at the company you may in the future work with?
You might read a couple of interesting pieces in the WSJ from November of 2010 titled; “Facebook Says User Data Sold to Broker” and “FaceBook in Privacy Breach” – because if you think your amusing pictures and comments are safe, you might want to re-think it all, seriously.
And, if you are a small business person, do you really want your competitors to know things? I can tell you that there are still scoundrels out there who will go through your trash, and would gladly search an skip-trace you online, and probably will if you become a threat to their businesses in the market place.
Andy Grove, former CEO of Intel, nice guy actually, once wrote a book titled; “Only the Paranoid Survive” and he’s basically correct. So, a little healthy paranoia, and it is probably a good thing? Okay so, Andy Grove was hardly alone in his advice. You see, Winston Churchill once said; “Loose Lips Sink Ships!” And anyone in Naval Intelligence will tell you the same. Luckily, I am quite a trustworthy individual, so no worries here with my acquaintances secret, and even though he had juicy stuff – Yeah! His secret is safe with me.
Still, when it comes to online information, do the prudent thing, and think twice – and that reminds me there was an interesting set (series) of articles in the Wall Street Journal lately called “What They Know” and some of the subtitles tell the story;
“Scrapers Dig Deeper for Data on the Web” “A Web Pioneer Profiles by Name”
“The Web’s New Gold Mine – Your Secrets””Web Privacy Inadequate – FTC Says a Do Not Track System is Needed”
Seriously, don’t do anything you are going to regret in the future some day. Please consider all this. And if you have additional comments, I surely hope you will email me your thoughts on the topic.
References:
1. “Only the Paranoid Survive – How to Exploit the Crisis Points That Challenge Every Company and Career” by Andy Grove, President and CEO of Intel, Currency DoubleDay Publishers, New York, NY, (1996), 210 pages, ISBN: 0-385-48258-2.2. Wall Street Journal article; “Using Software to Sift Digital Records” by Nathan Koppel, November 23, 2010. 3. Wall Street Journal article; “Some Data Miners Ready to Reveal What They Know” by Emily Steel, December 3, 2010.