The internet is permanent–nothing there is private

The internet, social media, and electronic mail are wonderful.  Those tools let us do incredible things that were beyond imagination 15 years ago.

There is danger in the midst of these wonders.  Things you say can travel far.  When it becomes electronic, those things you say can live forever. 

You need to remember the internet is forever every time you say anything, post a comment or photo, or do just about anything online.  Here are a few of the dangers.

Context – What you say in anger, irritation, or reacting to some provocation can become permanent. Your vent can potentially be seen by a whole lot of people who are perfectly calm and don’t have any of the context which made you upset.

Facebook – If you don’t have privacy set, everyone on the planet can see your comments, your likes, links & photos, and everyone else’s comments on your wall.  And if you do have privacy set, you still don’t know who made a copy of your page. You don’t know which of your old friends may now be working in HR or management at the company where you just applied. 

Text messages – Those are stored by your phone provider.  The police and opposing counsel in a lawsuit will have not a moment’s trouble getting every text you ever sent.

Tweets – Those are stored as well. Can get forwarded to anyone else by people you sent them to.  I’m sure they are discoverable too.  Heard a comment on the radio today that a sports figure got in trouble within a few minutes of sending an off-color tweet.

E-mail – You may delete the message, but how about the person you sent it to?  How about the people they forwarded it to? Others who got blind copies?  How about the servers at your office that make automatic backups every night or the servers at the recipient’s office?  The backup copies from corporate servers may be around for a long, long time.  The server backups can be reached by the police and subpoena too.

You need to remember that every electronic thing you do on the internet could be stored permanently somewhere and could be found!  You might want to have your game face on whenever you use e-mail or social media.  Here are two word pictures for you:  How would you like your mother to read your texts out loud?  How would you like your e-mail to appear in 6 inch tall letters on the video screen during a court case?

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