Tuesday, 2 October 2012

the internet is not private

I've had a few eye opening realizations over the past few days and have completely lost trust in any of my social networking hubs. This may sound a bit paranoid or weird, and especially strange coming from a blogger of all people, and it's just kind of random thoughts flying out of my fingertips, but bear with me because at the least it's something to think about. Plus I'll tell you how to hide those pesky private messages that are appearing on your timeline on Facebook.

Okay. So. 

Allow me to show you a couple things:

Today I posted this photo on instagram and selected the "share to tumblr" option. 

I have my tumblr posts set to automatically share on twitter as well. As you can see it's a photo of my dog and some drugs, because I'm pretty sick right now. I didn't write anything about drugs or pharmacies, I didn't say where I'm located or anything of the sort anywhere, right? I also have all the photo maps and shit turned off. Or so I'm lead to believe.

Well about an hour after I posted this, I got this tweet. I don't know anybody who even works in a pharmacy, so I literally have no connection to this ... entity ... other than we are in the same city.

It's a nice thing to read but the underlying feeling is like, oh my fucking god, big brother is watching every post I make about my dog and having a sick day. I can not fathom how pharmasave broadmead found that post. It'd be a pretty big coincidence for them to have already been following my twitter account, and someone working in a pharmacy was clicking on every single photo I have ever posted until one came up where I posted drugs.

How did they find that? And so quickly? And how did they know where to look? I didn't even buy that "hot lemon relief" from the broadmead pharmasave, so it's not like they found me in some database. And I don't use my real last name on the internet anyway.

I mean it. It's really creeping me out the more I think about it.


Also today, as I'm home sick just watching episodes of Six Feet Under and trying not to sweat so much for no reason, I thought about printing some of my photos off. I have probably ten thousand digital photos just sitting on the computer doing nothing. I mean, who flips through digital files of photographs for fun? Not me. But I could hang some up on the wall or something!

I googled "print photos" or something like that and the WalMart photo center came up. It's pretty inexpensive to print 8x10s so I was like "heck yes". But before you can upload anything to the site you have to agree to their terms and conditions. 

Well, seeing as I'm now becoming some kind of conspiracy theorist, I decided to read these terms and conditions. Because, WalMart. That's why. 

And yup, this is a terrifying paragraph I found there:

You grant to Walmart Canada Corp. a non-exclusive, royalty-free, perpetual, irrevocable, unrestricted, world-wide right and license to access, use, copy, reproduce, distribute, transmit, display, perform, communicate to the public, modify, adapt, publish, translate, create derivative works from, and otherwise use such Materials (in whole or in part) in connection with the Site and/or the Products, using any form, media or technology now known or later developed, without providing compensation to you or any other person, without any liability to you or any other person, and free from any obligation of confidence or other duties on the part of Walmart, its affiliates and their respective licensees.

Now who in their right mind would agree to this shit? I am so fucking sick of corporations throwing stuff like this in the fine print of everything. We mindlessly click "okay" to these things so often. One day the entire world is going to be taken over by some umbrella corporation and there'll be nothing we can do because we all clicked "okay" to remove our rights to our own intellectual properties and more over all these years. 
I know, I know, I sound like a crazy raving lunatic but hey, I'm on drugs with my buddy as that pharmacy knows, and I have access to the internet so here I type. 

And one final thing, while we're on the subject of willingly relinquishing personal freedoms and data....FACEBOOK.


I could go on forever about the horrors of Facebook, and all the things we are revealing about ourselves to this internet entity, but I won't right now because I just want to tell you that they have messed up and are now straight up lying to us.

This is something that has for some reason turned into a huge debate, even on my own wall, because people are mindlessly defending the almighty Facebook god without looking into the issue for themselves.

Facebook is posting your private messages on your timelines.

Facebook is putting out all kinds of PR, saying things like "no, you're dumb, it didn't happen, stop being paranoid" (I may be paraphrasing that a bit haha). Basically they are completely denying that private messages are on people's timelines.

Except that they are.

Because I saw them.

I made this my Status on Saturday and people still fought me tooth and nail, telling me it's not true, they don't see anything, there's a boogyman in my closet too.

So I actually ended up going to these people's pages, copying messages that were obviously meant to be private, and sending them to these non-believers. There was a lot out there, sexy things, mean spirited things about other people, phone numbers, family issues, "secret" flirting between married people...pretty much everything you would NEVER knowingly put out in public. And a few things I'm sorry I saw.

If you haven't hidden yours yet and maybe said some things you don't think you want the world to see between 2007 and 2009 then follow these instructions.

1. Go to your timeline by clicking on your name.
2. In the top right corner there are a bunch of dates, aka your "timeline". Click 2007.
3. It'll show a bunch of boxes with different headings. Go to the one that says (#) friends posted on your timeline. Look at what your friends posted.
4. I bet there'll be some stuff that was totally private and now everybody can see. If this is the case, hover the mouse in the top right corner of that box.
5. Click on the pencil icon and select "hide from timeline".
6. Repeat for every year.

Most of the stuff I said at those times was whatever but I still hid it because it's nobody's business. What I was most worried about was when I went to my boss' page and found messages I had written him about work. Private things about my money situation, work schedules and other kind of semi-private business stuff. I also didn't need the world reading all my messages I wrote to Ryan because, you know. Boyfriend girlfriend stuff.

For the record, I never ever ever would have written these types of things anywhere anybody else could see them. They were PRIVATE messages and I saw them displayed publicly.


I feel like these types of things are coming up more and more frequently. We have no privacy on the internet, no matter what it may seem. I have definitely pulled back any trust I had in Facebook, Instagram and Twitter privacy.*  Clearly they're sending info I did not intend to be made public out into the world in many ways, and for now on anything remotely private or personal will not go onto these sites.

 * Tumblr and Blogger never gave me the illusion of privacy to begin with.Which I now kind of respect.

I don't care what illusions these sites throw out there with their "privacy settings", I don't believe it for a second. And I'm somebody with nothing to hide. I'm a good person, I pay my taxes and don't break the law. I am faithful to my boyfriend and am a great dog owner. And yet...I'm feeling like I'm being spied on.


There you go.

Do what you like, and put whatever you want out there, but just know that it could come back at any time to haunt you. The internet is forever.