Home > Articles

March 2006

This chapter is from the book

FRIDAY: MARCH 17, 2006

THIS WEEK’S FOCUS: Computer Security and Privacy

OLD POSTINGS CAN COME BACK AND BITE YOU

You might not realize it, but every public posting you make—in Usenet newsgroups, online message boards, chat rooms, blogs, and the like—becomes part of the undying fabric of the Internet. Once you put a message out there, it stays out there. There’s no deleting something once it enters cyberspace.

Consider the Usenet archive available at Google (groups.google.com). This archive stores every single newsgroup posting from the start of Usenet to today. If you posted something nasty about your boss five years ago, that posting still exists. If you mentioned an affair you had with a neighbor back in the mid-’90s, that posting still exists. If you asked a question about a particular illness, or proffered an opinion about a particular make of car, or let slip where you live, that information is still available to a dedicated searcher.

Which means, of course, that the biggest threat to your privacy is you, and your inability to keep your yap shut when you’re surfing.

It also reinforces the general warning that all veteran Internet users should know: Don’t post anything in a newsgroup, message board, chat room, or blog that you wouldn’t want your future boss—or spouse—to read.

ON THIS DAY: RUBBER BAND PATENTED (1845)

On this date in 1845, Stephen Perry of London received a patent for a rubber band. The idea came from Central and South America, where footwear, garments, and even bottles were made out of the milk of the rubber tree. Sailors carried the rubber to England, and the rubber band was destined to follow.

WEBSITE OF THE WEEK: ELECTRONIC FRONTIER FOUNDATION

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) fights on the front lines of the privacy wars. If you’re concerned at all about your right to online privacy, this is the website to visit. Check it out at http://www.eff.org.

  • + Share This
  • 🔖 Save To Your Account