Normally, I find SJ Merc's Good Morning Silicon Valley to be an enjoyable, often useful, information source. Yesterday, however, GMSV picked up a story from The Washington Post on how sites like Facebook etc are some kind of danger to privacy. Wow, hot off the press, being an idiot on the Internet may cause you problems!
Newsiness aside, this article goes on to say that you might be inadvertently leaking your online banking password by "giving out" your pet's or kid's name on a Facebook profile. If your most secure of passwords is your dog's name, for example, and your dog's name is D13gOSYlv, then sure, perhaps you should not post this. But if your password is your dog's name, and that happens to be the mightily insecure password Diego, then you really have no business online.
Picking on the dog name Diego, which happens to be my dog, (and none of my passwords, favorite pet name password prompts, etc.), his absolutely adorable photos on FB tell about 100 of my friends his name. In the real world, about 250-500 real people, neighbors, dog park friends, friends, and family know his name. Another 100 people at the vet clinic know it. 200 people on the disc dog mailing list know it. The city licensor knows it, the pound knows it, any fool on the street can read his dog tag and know it. Why on earth do people think the Internet is so much worse?
Why didn't this article talk about being truly smart online? Use privacy controls on your profiles. Don't twitter your passwords. Don't use FB applications that make you look like a dolt, such as "what kind of drunk are you" quizzes, because your friends already know and strangers don't need to.
Why not talk about the POWER of social networking, to connect people in our busy world, to reconnect old friends, to connect people to information, jobs and new friends?
The sad thing is this article flew around silicon valley, with smart people saying they're going to reconsider what they do online now, limiting their profiles and not sharing who they really are. Thanks, SJ Mercury...