23 July 2006

Log-in not required

Google, "Jeff Shepley" or "Jeffrey Shepley." You'll find that I ran track in high school, am a world class chef, and was a very religious fighter pilot in WWII. If I'm lucky, you may find a link to this blog.

Note that Google is a verb, and a potentially dangerous one. With the poliferation of easily searchable internet services --myspace.com, facebook.com, instant messaging, youtube.com, e-mail -- you can take your privacy into your own hands. But for some, the implications of such power appears to be lost. Stories abound of kids getting kicked out of college/work, not picked for college/a job, due to this or that embarrassing or inappropriate photo posted on the web.

One might become complacent, especially when services allow you to define who can see your page. Somehow I doubt, however, that limiting your facebook photos to "friends only" thwarts government background check-ers. Indeed, as the article linked to above quotes, some people could care less; "people would rather be embarrassed publicly than ignored privately."

E-mail can be little better. I read an article today about suggestions, sent by soldiers via e-mail, on the effectiveness of various physical coersion techniques on extracting information from Iraqi detainees, i.e., torture. Something tells me that those individuals did not expect to see their suggestions in print.

Certainly posting information or photos on-line is different than posting your credit card number for all to see, however, monetarily, the effects could be far more severe. At least with the credit card there is a charge limit and the ability to retrieve unauthorized funds spent. Unless we find one of those mind-erasing sticks from Men in Black, the same cannot be said for a reputation

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