About Me

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I have recovered from the disease of Alcoholism. I believe there is only one person really,.. everybody. And that peace of mind is everything. -So treat your neighbor as you would treat yourself, because your neighbor IS yourself. I think most of recovery is what I would call common sense, but that learning to be ordinary is a true gift very few people acquire. My ambition is to accept everything unflinchingly, with compassion, and therefore be intrinsically comfortable in my own skin, no matter what. I am comfortable being uncomfortable and am willing to go to any lengths to improve my life. I believe the Big Book was divinely inspired, and is extraordinarily powerful. Unfortunately AA's best kept secret a lot of the time. (In my opinion). I just try to do what works, no matter what it is.

Monday, April 05, 2010

Online Privacy: I don't recommend Facebook to anyone. Delete as much as possible.


Having heard about some recent development in Google indexing, I decided to e-mail some people who I thought might have their online privacy compromised by their activity on Facebook. I had a look at the laughably titled "privacy policy" and the equally disturbing "statements of rights and responsibilities". I was so disturbed by the information I collected that I immediately e-mailed quite a few people who I thought might want to delete as much written or posted data from Facebook as possible.

The reason I thought I would mention this here, was because us alcoholics have the 'gift of the gab' as we like to say in Ireland. The upshot is that due to the years of talking very ! frankly in AA meetings, means we've become very verbally expressive and we are excellent communicators. This is ! fantastic when it comes to certain professions such as becoming a salesperson or becoming a competent board member who can express themselves well in group situations. But this has a down side in relation to things like Facebook. In my opinion anyway. This verbal dexterity can !! absolutely backfire on AA members if they are not careful. As while the rest of the population keeps schtum and says virtually nothing, apart from the occasional ? dodgy photo that gets posted after a drunken party, AAs are FAR more likely to say just about ? whatever they are thinking.
Also if there are any who have decided not to be anonymous AA members on facebook, the new indexing may have blown their anonymity permanently if they (even once) referred to their AA membership on a FB 'page' using their real name.

None of this would matter if the privacy rights of Facebook users were better. Unfortunately in my opinion they are ! DIRE.
A development in February 2010 exposed every written word on anything other than a persons "wall" to Google indexing. This appears to have been done without notifying Facebook users, as I can see no reference to this in the recent amendments to the privacy policy which attracted a lot of press attention due to the potential abuses of privacy rights.
The upshot is that unless you really !!! really want to leave a permanent Google trail linked to your name of everything you've ever posted on Facebook, do one of two things. Either confine what you write exclusively to people's walls, as opposed to pages.
Or else delete as much material linked to your name as possible and use Facebook in its most minimal sense.

Re PAGES. This is any group or fan page or ? anything other than a 'Wall'
If by ? any chance you have written anything on a FB page on Facebook, Delete it. As soon as possible. Why? Because all this material is being archived (as we speak) on Google next to your name and you will not be able to delete it at a later point. Meaning a Google search will reveal this material next to your name eventually. The sooner you delete this material the better. The process has been underway since February 2010 so the process is not yet complete. There is still time to delete comments before they are cached permanently.
Re WALLS
Unless you are certain that the person's Wall you are writing on has VERY restrictive privacy settings, do not write anything on it. Email them instead. Same reason as above.
Re Writers who use Facebook
There are serious IP issues regarding anything you write as effectively you lose your intellectual property rights as soon as you say anything on Facebook. Although ownership doesn't pass to FB, Facebook acquires a licence to use the information whenever they like, which amounts to the same thing. So if you're planning on writing a novel or poetry or ?anything, be aware that you are granting a licence to Facebook any time you write that material on Facebook.
Photographs on Facebook
Precisely the same rules apply to photographs and pictures or videos. Any material you upload to Facebook, automatically grants Facebook permission in the form of an unlimited licence to use that material.
In an ideal world, the best thing would be to delete your FB account altogether.

So I hope perhaps I've given you an idea of why I don't recommend Facebook to !!! anyone, and I suggest that anybody who has a Facebook account, delete as !!! much material as they !!! possibly can. The priority regarding deletion is any written material on pages, and 'walls' without restrictive privacy settings. Because these are the pages that are now indexed by Google as of 25th February 2010. Now that I've looked at the terms and conditions, I find Facebook very sinister and unpleasant. I cannot recommend strongly enough, that the less written, picture, or any other interaction with the FB institution the better.
Perhaps privacy is a lost cause, but I really dislike infringements into privacy, so I have a ! very strong personal dislike for surreptitious invasions into personal material by institutions. The same google indexing concerns extend to twitter, myspace etc, but I thought I would mention FB first as it gets by FAR the most use. So apply the same reasoning to other online activity where your identity is revealed.

Generally speaking. I would say ALWAYS opt out of online databases OF ANY KIND, such as the heavily criticized UK healthcare database they are trying to set up for Londoners at present, and re social networking, delete as MUCH as possible. Ideally delete the social networking account altogether. Same goes for invitations to participate in DNA databases. Or any optional database really.
Oh yes, For the attention of those in the Greater London area ONLY. You have until 11th June to submit an Opt Out form to your GP in order to NOT have all your personal information including mobile phone number, address etc left on a laughably insecure UK government database called the SUMMARY CARE RECORD. If any of you are lucky enough to know anyone who works in computer security, ask them what they think. I have yet to meet one who is comfortable with this kind of online security. But each to their own. Thats just what I've discovered by asking around, and doing a little research. Whatever.

Right!! I should be !!! studying so, much as I would like to blather on about Facebook, and other dodgy databases I really should start organising my day.
I hope you managed not to eat your body weight in chocolate over Easter. Not an easy task! I am considering whether to go for a much longer than average run in order to mitigate the damage incurred by overzealous cake consumption over Easter :) I need a cup of tea first though :) I hope you have a !!!! lovely Easter Monday :)

1 comment:

Steve E said...

Never thought before about our AA experience making rather vociferous characters out of how I used to be, reclusive, "...spoke to no one, and the world seemed a strange place." St

Thanks for the advice, and warnings.