Internet privacy: being careful online

Internet privacy is very important. Valeri Tarassov explains how you can be safe online…

Don't let anyone spy on you through your computer.

Don’t let anyone spy on you through your computer.

Internet and computers have become part of our modern life. Most of us couldn’t even imagine what it would be like to survive without our favourite websites, email accounts and social networking sites. In many cases, we have become careless with the information we share online and terms and conditions we accept every day while signing up for services or installing software.

Let’s take Google mail as an example. How do you think an email is sent? In order for your email to reach another person, it has to go through Google servers. When it goes through Google servers, it always leaves a track behind it. At any point if Google wants to see what a person is writing and what information has been sent in attachments, they can do it very easily.

In addition, it is very smartly outlined in their terms of services, so by doing this Google is in no way in breach of their own conditions. You would ask; “why would I care? I have nothing to hide.” Life is unpredictable, and you never know what is going to happen in future, and there could be a moment waiting when you would not like someone getting access to your information. So I would suggest using email accounts with your real identity just for business and other useful activities, like studying for example.

Another thing is social networking sites like Facebook or microblogs such as Twitter. There is nothing wrong with the occasional sharing of statuses, but you shouldn’t give too many private details. I have seen examples of people informing an entire community via a Facebook status that they are having sex at this very minute, and actually tagging the person with whom they are doing so.

Another example is people sitting on a toilet and sharing their emotions about the activity; some might even include a picture. If any of you actually do that, you need help; see a shrink.

Now coming to your real identity online; let us put aside the fact that law enforcement agencies around the world absolutely love Facebook and Google+ for the soul purpose of finding people. Let us imagine that you are a student, and as usual, we students are not a very rich bunch. Let us say you owe money to someone. They could find you on Facebook by your name and write to you or even post on your wall.

If your privacy settings will allow it, they could contact your entire friends list, asking them to remind you that you owe them money. Do you really need it? Just as an experiment, Google your own name, see what comes out, then select pictures and see what embarrassing photos you could have been tagged in.

To conclude, be private and careful, even if you have nothing to hide. And sometimes read what terms of services say, and what you are allowing a provider to do with your private information, I guarantee you will be shocked. The privacy online, no longer exists.

Lead image via hubspot.


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