Privacy Blog

"Friends don’t let friends get spied on.' – Richard Stallman, President of the Free Software Foundation and longtime advocate of privacy in technology.

Words That Everyone Should Read

Peggy Drexler is a CNN reporter who published an article I think everyone should read. She describes several recent incidents where individuals posted text or pictures online that they assumed would remain private, visible only to a few of their friends. Sadly, they learned that isn’t a valid assumption.

In some cases, there was no privacy: the information was visible to the public. In other cases, the so-called “friend” who received the information privately then forwarded it to others in public locations.

Here is an excerpt from Peggy Drexler’s article:

“We’ve heard these stories again, and again, and again. Some people have called this the ‘Privacy Paradox’ of the Internet: We know that our data is being used for things we don’t understand, and that our words and images exchanged in private or public online interactions can be used against us. And yet we continue to share anyway, making comments and sending pictures we wouldn’t want exposed, and giving away our data to unknown entities for the convenience of whatever app we want to use. Why else would a bunch of St. Louis cops allegedly post racist comments online?

“The internet is such an intrinsic part of modern life that it’s somewhat unreasonable to ask any one individual to make consistently “rational” choices, certainly. What’s more, while you’d think younger generations — steeped now in daily news reports of online security breaches and onrushing government regulations of their social media platforms — are more cognizant of the internet’s pitfalls than older, less tech-savvy generations.

“But young people are still just young. They do and say regrettable things, and the internet is their go-to platform for expression.

“It’s essential that we hammer away at this — that we, and they, understand that the internet is not a diary; it is not private.”

There’s more in Drexler’s article, a lot more. I would suggest everyone should read the full article at and then stop to consider their own online activities.

Do you REALLY need to post information and pictures of yourself on FaceBook, Snapchat, and other privacy-invasive web sites? After all, Facebook already steals all sorts of your private information even if you are reasonably careful. The company even cooperated with Cambridge Analytica in an attempt to change the outcome of a U.S. presidential election. What will the various social media sites do with your private information and pictures?

Then there are the users of these social media sites. Who will access your postings and what will they do with that information?

Please do yourself a favor: read the article at

Here is one more quote from Peggy Drexler’s article: “What happens in the cloud doesn’t necessarily stay in the cloud.”

Categories: Online Privacy & Security

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