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Best Practices for Online Privacy


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Best Practices for Online Privacy
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jdcfsu
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Florida
 
2010-05-27, 15:17

With the Summer 2010 App List being generated, I thought it'd be a good time to have a discussion about the best way to maintain as much anonymity while online. I'm curious what people do to protect their personal identities down to their browsing privacy.

Personally, I try to keep as much information as possible off of Google and Facebook and, though my twitter and personal website are in my own name, I try to keep as few actual personal details on them as possible. When it comes to browsing, I tend not to do anything to protect my privacy and am finding that there is actually quite a lot of information that can be shared depending on your browser.

What are your best practices?
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Brad
Selfish Heathen
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Zone of Pain
 
2010-05-27, 15:40

1. Don't use Facebook.
2. Don't use Facebook.

That's about it for me. These rules have served me well enough!
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PB PM
Sneaky Punk
 
Join Date: Oct 2005
Location: Vancouver, BC
Send a message via Skype™ to PB PM 
2010-05-27, 15:59

Don't use Google products, Facebook, Twitter etc.
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Wrao
Yarp
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Road Warrior
 
2010-05-27, 16:27

It took me a while to learn this one, but I think one of the best is to not use the same(or even necessarily similar) username for everything you do online. Only takes one instance for your real name to be tied to your username for your username to effectively become useless at anonymizing you. The other best one, be named Brad Smith.
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Brad
Selfish Heathen
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Zone of Pain
 
2010-05-27, 18:34

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wrao View Post
The other best one, be named Brad Smith.
Actually, that is a pretty good trick. It takes some pretty specific search terms to find information about this Brad Smith and not the Microsoft lawyer or football players or some other.

I actually don't care too much about anonymizing myself, which is why I use my name and background pretty openly here on the forums. I don't have anything worthwhile to hide (yet?), and anything I post/do online is fair game.

The quality of this board depends on the quality of the posts. The only way to guarantee thoughtful, informative discussion is to write thoughtful, informative posts. AppleNova is not a real-time chat forum. You have time to compose messages and edit them before and after posting.
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Banana
is the next Chiquita
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
 
2010-05-27, 18:52

Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad View Post
anything I post/do online is fair game.
I also apply that rule (assumption?) myself - if I don't want it to be fair game, then it's not postable materials. Done. In context of facebook or where one can have semi-private group, you can "trust" others to not pass the info on to others but it's still a trust and it's not system's fault if it is broken. So, same rule still.

One could go to any length to anonymize but it's not that hard to dig up dirt on anybody nowadays. Gotta live with it.
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jdcfsu
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Florida
 
2010-05-27, 22:05

So Brad and Banana, would you say it's more of a mindset that you hold rather than an actual set of practice that you follow?
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Banana
is the next Chiquita
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
 
2010-05-28, 00:04

Quote:
Originally Posted by jdcfsu View Post
So Brad and Banana, would you say it's more of a mindset that you hold rather than an actual set of practice that you follow?
I'm afraid I'm not sure if I'm understanding the question. Are you suggesting that I don't actually apply the practice of "anything posted is a fair game" myself? I would certainly like to think that I do but nobody's perfect. Or have I completely missed something?

It seems to me that it does no good to hold to a certain mindset if it's not actually being practiced.
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Brad
Selfish Heathen
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Zone of Pain
 
2010-05-28, 01:44

Quote:
Originally Posted by jdcfsu View Post
So Brad and Banana, would you say it's more of a mindset that you hold rather than an actual set of practice that you follow?
For me, it's not even anything I have to think about. I don't have "rules" about what to or not to do online; it's just instinct and common sense.

I guess I'm more surprised that people think they need to impose rules on themselves because they don't have enough self-restraint or something.

The quality of this board depends on the quality of the posts. The only way to guarantee thoughtful, informative discussion is to write thoughtful, informative posts. AppleNova is not a real-time chat forum. You have time to compose messages and edit them before and after posting.
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Dutch Pear
Member
 
Join Date: May 2005
 
2010-05-28, 02:24

My only "privacy" defense is to not do or say anything online that I consider really personal and really would hate the world to know. Which is not that much actually. So what if people can google me and find out my name, job and where I live and see some pictures?

Lucky for me, I went through all the really embarrassing stuff some time before I or any of my friends ever even used the internet or a digital camera
Oh damn, now I feel OLD!
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curiousuburb
Antimatter Man
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: that interweb thing
 
2010-05-28, 04:03

as above, plus

always use pseudonyms

limited identifying information

no identifying photos

regular cache clearing and little snitch running
(you could go for Private Browsing, but some sites require login cookies)

register with 'disposable' webmail where required

All those who believe in telekinesis, raise my hand.
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Doxxic
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Amsterdam
 
2010-05-28, 08:00

An important reason to use a nickname here is that I wouldn't want too many acqaintances to know that I like to close my eyes and shoot hard baked, barely founded opinions and speculations about Apple products into our galaxy.

Because in real life, I'm Robbie Williams.

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jdcfsu
Veteran Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2006
Location: Florida
 
2010-05-28, 10:19

Quote:
Originally Posted by Banana View Post
I'm afraid I'm not sure if I'm understanding the question.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brad View Post
For me, it's not even anything I have to think about. I don't have "rules" about what to or not to do online; it's just instinct and common sense.
I meant more of how Brad answered, that it's not something you really think or worry about. Obviously not worrying about it and not putting your entire world online aren't the same thing but I guess they go hand in hand.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Curiousuburb View Post
regular cache clearing and little snitch running
Do you mean Safari cache or something else?
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Banana
is the next Chiquita
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
 
2010-05-28, 10:55

Quote:
Originally Posted by jdcfsu View Post
I meant more of how Brad answered, that it's not something you really think or worry about. Obviously not worrying about it and not putting your entire world online aren't the same thing but I guess they go hand in hand.
Gotcha. Sorry I didn't catch the intention first time.

I have to admit there has been occasions where I typed something then had second thought about it and discarded the post-to-be. So I suppose that'd fall into something I think about. If nothing else, it's a good habit to review and be sure that the materials being submitted really is a fair game because there's no way to take it back. Some people have that idea that it'll be ok if they delete within five minutes or so - no harm, no foul. That's not true as there is implicit trust placed on the owner (and thus the delegates) of the site to not do anything with the deleted materials in unintended ways and then there's the problem of someone seeing it disappear and call attention to it. Besides, it just seem like an asshole thing to do.

To me, true anonymity is practically impossible and probably is properly thought of as obfuscation but people may not make the distinction.
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Luca
ಠ_ರೃ
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Minnesota
 
2010-05-28, 11:17

Quote:
Originally Posted by Wrao View Post
It took me a while to learn this one, but I think one of the best is to not use the same(or even necessarily similar) username for everything you do online. Only takes one instance for your real name to be tied to your username for your username to effectively become useless at anonymizing you. The other best one, be named Brad Smith.
This is good advice. I have a pretty uncommon name so I'm probably really easy to find, but I only use my real name on a few sites. Anything where I'm less comfortable using my real name, I use a different pseudonym. Preferably one I've never used anywhere else and that is totally different from anything else I use.
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noleli2
Senior Member
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: Chicago
 
2010-05-28, 14:11

For anything I'm ok with being public, I use the same pseudonym (Noleli or +2 if need be). That is my online identity.

I don't use Google products (except for search and maps, and that usually logged out), which helps.

My main concern isn't so much individual identity thieves as corporations using me and my data as their product. I do still use Facebook, but I find distributed, open-source alternatives much more appealing. I'm really interested to see what Diaspora comes up with — though I'm sure it won't live up to the hype — and I'd love to switch to Identi.ca, but network effects have me tied to Twitter at the moment. They'll never do it, but Twitter should federate to Status.net like Gtalk does with XMPP.

For the sake of autonominity (that's a word…), I do download my Tweets once in a while. I love Dropbox because I can still keep my stuff locally and they don't have a mine-for-ads business model.

Basically, I distrust the cloud and corporations, but I trust (most) individuals, and I want to have my data on disks I can see.
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