Safe on the Internet – an oxymoron

Recently (and more often than just this specific instance) a Facebook page focused on girls from a specific area was discovered. The images and information available to the page creator(s), due to being publicly available (unsecured) or due to being available to friends-of-friends security level, were compiled on the page. Then people started commenting about the girls in a not so polite way. I didn’t look into this very far but it’s quite possible the girls’ pictures and/or information was “tagged” on the page so that their friends and family would be made aware of their not so pleasant presence because one was quoted as saying, “I have a lot of family that are my Facebook friends and I don’t want them to see that.”

Long story short, if you grant friend-of-friend permissions you might as well grant public permission. This is especially true since your friends (or you? gasp!) are playing FB games (e.g. Farmville and its ilk) that make it part of the game to friend and interact with strangers.

It’s all in fun right? Not necessarily. I’m sure I’m not the first one to realize this is an easy way to compile far-reaching contact information and build relationship trees from which to launch targeted marketing campaigns. Those with less scruples could and are waging more dastardly campaigns.

Berosh said people should be aware that that’s always a possibility with information made public on the Internet.

“That picture is subject to being taken from them and posted on a page like this,” he said. “The students who think everything is private and nobody can get it are clearly mistaken.”

So be safe out there. If not for your sake, for mine.

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