Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Show me your friends and I’ll show you your future.

How can that be the opening line in this article about the internet? No, really, I mean it.
I equate much of what is done on the web as Vacation. It appears to be fun, carefree, stimulating, somewhat exotic and best when shared with those close to you. Needless to say, that is the fantasy of each and does not remotely resemble the reality.
We all know that there is a seedy side to the net, but that is something we tend to watch out for and may be fairly astute in avoiding. It’s those closest to you and the “off the cuff” comments that can and will lead you to untimely and/or embarrassing publicity.
The pictures of you last weekend, discussions of “inappropriate” behaviors, conversations concerning: friends, family, bosses, coworkers, teachers and other people (both public & private) once posted cannot be erased. The intimate pictures you and your “Friend” sent while promising to not share them with anyone; sound familiar. It’s like trying to put the genie back in the bottle.
A not so subtle example of how this works is Google search engine. Type in a search word and look at the results. In the listing of each is a link to a cached version of the page or site you are trying to visit. That cached link is available (thru Google) even if the site is gone, i.e. shutdown.
They and other companies accomplish this by constantly searching the web for domains and pages, than taking a snapshot of the page and storing it as reference. All of them do this 24/7/365. It is believed that if an item is posted online for as little as 48 hours there is a 90% probability that it has been cached by Google and/or other data miners.
The time to Sanitize your Internet Presence is before “the horses have left the barn”. Actions have consequences, even if you are too young or naive to understand how they can be used and corrupted.

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