Posted by pseudoname on December 13, 2005, at 13:20:11
In reply to small boards and privacy, posted by alexandra_k on July 3, 2005, at 19:26:19
I don't know if this thread is still active, but I want to throw in my feelings. I think Tamar and ClearSkies are right about a members-only board possibly leading to a false sense of security.
I am *extremely* concerned about my own privacy and anonymity in posts here and everywhere, including the private boards I've posted to.
So for example
•my screen-names don't refer to my real name / nickname / location / school / job / interests / etc
•my posts don't mention my real name / nickname / location / school / job / ethnicity / etc
If I'm posting about potentially identifiable situations, I change irrelevant details the way that social science articles change details to protect subjects' privacy. A story about my cousin could become a story about "my relative" or "my friend" (if she is also a friend).
If I'm posting about a client, I might say "someone at work" or just "someone I know", when I think that gives enough context for others to comment on.
I also avoid using similar-sounding screen-names in different boards. Don't be "Bippo" here & at Yahoo; don't use different Disney names everywhere you post.
If someone is worried (like me) about malicious spies / neighbors / etc connecting posts back to her actual identity, can't she take steps like this, too? I would advise taking such steps whether a board is public or members-only. If it's in cyberspace at all, it must be considered insecure and potentially open to the WORLD. I agree that members-only access reduces the risk, but not nearly enough.
My only exposure is in disclosing my true •sex •marital status •age •Midwesternity(?) and •meds that I'm using. Because my meds are unusual, even these few facts may eventually be put together and traced back to me if I ever disclose my meds IRL.
But the only better privacy is not to post at all.
The other problem —of someone in your own residence / school / workplace sneaking into your computer files— won't be solved by a members-only board, of course. It can't be solved, period. That's why President Bush says he can't ever e-mail his daughters...