Tag Archives: Privacy

Oh shit my dad says

It is undeniable that identity theft is a persistent problem that one could face these days if one uses the internet. Transactions made online almost always require some form of exchange of personal information. Granted that with the advent of technology, criminals, too, have evolved in terms of their modus operandi and have learned to use the internet to wreak havoc to innocent internet users’ lives. This makes one think: “Am I really safe anywhere?” Sadly, all signs seem to point to “No.” Crime is something that we have to painfully accept and live with. The constant dark shadow that it casts on society may be hard to avoid but the least that we can do now is know how not to get victimized. These low-lives may have gotten smarter, but we should be able to be a few steps ahead.

Better safe than sorry

Better safe than sorry

Recently my dad and I had this little chat regarding internet safety. It came as a surprise to me that he brought this up because I know that I’m very particular about my privacy, especially when it comes to cyberspace (read: my complex Facebook security settings). I’m aware of the risks involved when putting out personal information over the web for everyone to see, and that whenever the need to post arises, my moves are calculated so as any missteps can be avoided. My dad’s suggestions, albeit tinged with paranoia (you know how parents are) are actually quite helpful.

  1. Be a little fake. Many sign-up or registration forms on the internet ask people to supply information that is usually reserved for public (as in those registered in the government’s archives) documents. Knowing that the person on the receiving end of these info has the liberty of using these at his or her disposal, it is advisable not to divulge everything in excruciating detail. Perhaps one could provide a fake birthdate, address, or whathaveyou. Dad actually uses “Clark Kent” as his alias when he makes transactions. Now, I do not follow this tip myself but then again I can see where Dad is coming from. After all, he’s had several experiences where his identity was almost stolen… and none of thesemade use of the net. Just imagine if that happened. The possible consequences are endless.
  2. Hold off the vanity. Now, this is obviously a rule that I do not abide by. I think my 50+ photo albums on Facebook are a testament to this. I just don’t want to seem like a faceless creep. Dad uses this GIF photo of Sylvester the Cat with opening and closing eyelids as his display photo in social networking sites and forums. Since PR is my calling, I don’t think being secretive of your face would make people want to trust you. Anyway, if you insist on posting photos , make sure these are the kind that will haunt once they are unearthed several years from now. I’m pretty sure you had a blast chugging down a bottle of vodka and are proud of the supporting photos that you were tagged in to prove it, but in a few years time, it won’t be a laughing matter if someone tries to blackmail you with them.
  3. Use a dummy, dummy! Dad says it’s important to keep a couple or so email addresses for different uses. One should be used for official purposes while the rest can be for anything (i.e. online shopping, social networking, forums, porn, etc.). In Dad’s case, he has three: one for the office, one for personal correspondence, and one as a dummy account with “Clark Kent” as the registered owner of the account. I have at least ten emails but a majority of them I have lost their passwords to. Don’t tell my dad though.

Sure enough, Dad really knows his way around the internet as well as keeping his private information… well… private. And that’s how it’s supposed to be. I wish I could say the same for me. My life is such an open book that if it were an actual, tangible reading material, the spine would be nearly torn in half. But hey, I’m young, I’m smart, and I’m certainly not as dumb as my dad thinks… or maybe that’s my immortality complex talking. Whatever the case, if you wish to be safe, DO NOT FOLLOW MY EXAMPLE!


Google is your best friend

It really comes as no surprise that a lot of people would agree (most of them students) that the internet is one of man’s greatest inventions.  Why wouldn’t it be? It practically has everything one needs to know. And with just a click of a mouse, you are able to access so much information in so little time. Who would’ve thought that something that started out as the US government’s way of sharing information within its own network blew up to something of a cultural phenomenon that is not limited to just its 50 states.

The way the internet has made life easier for most people means that all other resources for information are becoming obsolete. During the first half of the 20th Century, print and radio communication was the primary media sources. Later on, television replaced radio and now the internet is replacing television. And even more amazing is that the innovation process has only just begun. As Bill Gates mentioned in his essay Shaping the Internet Age, the internet is just in the infancy stage. There is so much that the internet has revolutionized (particularly in the field of communications) and has yet to make so. Just how big is the impact of the internet? This video that I found not so long ago showed the numbers that back up the internet’s influence over us.

Gates stressed a number of reasons behind its tremendous impact on the world, namely: making the world smaller, bringing people closer together, and making the world simpler. I would have to agree on all points, particularly the third. It seems as if an internet connection is the single most important thing to have these days if you want to survive in this era. In all honesty, I could do without television (YouTube), radio (Last.fm), or newspapers (Yahoo! News) as long as I have a desktop or laptop on hand and a router. I can’t tell you how much I get really pissed off when my internet service provider gets a glitch. The internet’s promise of having something to look forward to every time I open my browser makes it such a necessity. The fact that I am able to learn via the internet makes the Php999-a-month subscription fee to BayanDSL worthwhile.

However, not everything is all fine and dandy about the internet. It is the proverbial double-edged sword. It may have had a huge role in making everything a whole lot easier for us, but it’s that very reason that makes it potentially harmful (especially when we talk about privacy). Some people have the internet to thank for for the current success that they are enjoying (read: Justin Bieber) but it is also the same thing to blame for ruining them (basically anyone who’s had a sex tape or any incriminating document that has been passed around the web). Virtually anything that goes viral on the web has the potential to destroy one’s reputation. Cyber-bullying is also a problem and has led some people to commit suicide. Just imagine if Hitler had access to the internet during World War II and had Twitter account! Tsk tsk.

And of course there’s always the issue of intellectual property. It has, for the most part, almost killed the music industry (and to a certain extent, the film and television industries) for being the medium people use for downloading mp3s and videos. Also, it has served as the lazy student’s go-to “person.” Wikipedia is helpful and all but some push the envelope by copying and pasting whatever it is that is posted there and submits it as homework. What bothers me more is that some take pride in the Ctrl+C+Ctrl+V+Ctrl+S activity (yes, there’s a fan page on Facebook). It has led people to say that Google is your best friend because you can look up almost anything with it, and you’re bound to find it at one point or another.

Certainly, I could go on and on with the numerous pros and cons of the internet but that would be reiterating everything that Gates has mentioned in his essay. I have to give it to him for being very meticulous with the points that he raised. Surely enough there are a whole bunch of bloggers out there who have said these as well. For now, however, the challenge for us users (and occasionally abusers) of the internet is to be more responsible and a lot more careful. The least we can do now is use the power of the internet for good (particularly with bridging the gap between the “digital divide”) than use it for our own selfish needs.