Using The Internet - Advice And Warning

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hc4361 | 12:37 Wed 16th Jan 2013 | Technology
34 Answers
It appears that some people are naive in respect of the internet and unaware of the consequences.

We should all be aware that we lose control of everything we post on the internet as soon as we hit the 'submit' button. It is possible that the post will be there 'forever' even if we delete the post - it will be in a cache (a sort of short term memory) that others can save and redistribute.

When you post on public forums like AnswerBank the post is available for anyone in the world to read, save, copy and paste.
The vast majority of public forums including AnswerBank have terms and conditions that give the site owners the copyright of your post, for them to do with what they will.

Even if you think your post is restricted and private - eg, FaceBook with high privacy settings - you cannot stop other people copying and distributing your post, photos, anything. Beware of who you allow into your inner circle on such sites.

Many of us use photo uploading sites such as PhotoBucket. Make sure your privacy settings are as high as possible, otherwise sharing one photo will give the viewers access to all of your photos.

Use different aliases for different sites. This will make it harder for people to link your AB id with your FB account and other sites you use.

You should be aware that it is easy to upset or attract a stranger on any site and become a target for a stalker. Make it impossible for that stalker to identify you - don't be precise about where you live; use aliases when referring to your family members and friends (or generic words such as son, daughter, partner); be vague about your workplace.

Be aware that anyone can gather information about you by putting your name or alias in to a search engine such as Google. Anything you have posted in your own name or alias will show in the results, also any news reports about you or posts other people have made about you.
Protect yourself by using different aliases on every site you post on.

The internet is a wonderful tool but users must be aware of how it can be misused.
Just think before you register for a site; think before you press 'submit'. Your post could be there forever and distributed to thousands including your employer.


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Indeed. Our HR section often used to put candidates names into Google to see what came up about them. One idiot used his real name and boasted how he liked to get drunk and get into fights. He didn't get the job.

Another employee was posting on facebook how much she hated working at the place and posted comments detailing what she thought of her manager. She too didn't last long.
And just as important, don`t say where you work and then *** off the customers via the web - very dangerous territory. There have been quite a few "Facebook sackings" on various workplaces.
Question Author
ssquarebear, I've heard many such horror stories, such as teachers slagging off their pupils on FB and parents reading the comments.
May I just ask hc, if posting on a site and the site mentions it has copyright over everything on it, are those who copy and paste info from that site to elsewhere breaking the copyright rules? If so what can be done about it (if you can prove who did it of course)?

Excellent advice by the way, I wish some people on facebook would be advised by it.
but what if you ask the owner of the facebook page to restrict the access to any posts and information that involve you that you did not know they would use on their public site? How easy is it for them to grant your request and what copywrite law are they able to quote that would prevent them from granting your reasonable request?
All good advice, but I think the people who should be reading it are most likely the ones who don't bother with the small print anyway.
I saw a brilliant bit of advice regarding Facebook -

The one fail safe privacy setting to keep your business out of the public domain...

If it's private, don't post it on the internet.

I learned this the hard way! I think you do forget that the internet is open to the whole world, and that things you say and do on here can be re-posted without your knowledge or (in some cases) consent.
Question Author
Technically they would be breaking copyright rules but realistically there is nothing can be done about it. The copyright holder could request the post be removed but what would that achieve? The content is already in the public domain.

It is a breach of copyright to use a photo of a famous person or a company logo as your avatar without the permission of the copyright holder, but unless it is being used to promote a business then action is rarely taken, for example.
(When I say "here" in my last paragraph, I mean the internet, not AB.)
I cannot comprehend how people do not know these things. I wasn't taught, I just knew.
Question Author
That's true, 2sp.
Don't post private stuff on the internet if you want to keep it private.
2sp - exactly right. I remember a while back someone posted on here that they were anonymous on the net. After about 20 minutes I could tell them what colour the stand was for her TV in her living room. They were rather surprised.

I did it by searching for some old answers of hers until I had found more details about her, put some of the details into google to find her facebook page. Went on there and saw a photo of her with her dog in her living room. At the back of the photo was her TV stood on a brown cabinet.
To add to HC's advice. Take your name off If you use gravatar then be careful where you use it or have a selection of avatars for different uses. ON FB, don't "friend" people for game playing purposes. Don't post pictures of the outside of your house or your car registration number. Don't use your real name or parts of it as your username.
Try googling your name and usernames to see what appears.
I got my wake up call many years ago on here when a really unpleasant user encouraged others to post links to pictures of know, "what do we all look like?" he then took the head off of those pictures and posted them on other bodies doing....stuff....... Big shock!!! of course the user got banned but its possible that those pictures are still out there.
ummmm, I think it's more a case of people get comfortable sharing stories and thoughts on a forum from the comfort of their own livingroom and forget that anyone in the world with a PC, internet access and the will can access that info.

That's quite scary really squarebear!
In regards to use of the Internet though, any chance we could start a similar thread in respect to (rough guesstimate) 80% of the questions posted on here that could quickly and easily be answered via a simple Google search?

Or have I just done that?
ChillDoubt, I think a lot of people come on here for the interaction rather than just the answers to questions.
Exactly 2sp_
But isn't there a site purpose built for that called.....

Oh wait a minute!
well said HC, i have suggest on another question that something like this be said to new users, just to be doubly sure people undertsand

its no use people saying others should 'just know', because they simply dont ... people are at different stages of their internet usage experience - some are old hands, some are very new, some are old, some are young, some are savvy some are not, and the upset from dotty shows how someone who has been using the net for many year, still does not undertsand ... so to be safe and sure, simply issue a warning as above and then no-one can complain or be hurt by it.
Providing they read it!
Thanks for the good, timely reminder, hc4361.

One other point that I think should be added is that we need to be careful if we use the same user name on different sites. Googling some of the usernames on AB (done for testing purposes only), for example, shows that some use the same names on other sites such as photobucket and sites which give more info on their identity. It's too late for us to change our AB names but some of us may want to consider what user name we use on other sites or the info they keep on there.

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