Online security and blogging

It’s my goal to be honest and open in my blogging. However, things we do in cyberspace have implications in the real world. That’s why, while I’ll try never to lie to you, I won’t always tell the truth. For example, I’ve been out of town the last several days. I never let on, did I.

That’s because, while most of you are nice, kind, decent people, there are some people out there who will go to great effort to avoid honest work. And just in case some of those peopel have managed to connect my online identity to my physical address, the last thing I would ever want to do is let people know my house in unoccupied.

There are many things that people online just don’t need to know, and I would be foolish to assume that the only people who read my blog live in Russia and therefore would never go to the effort to come to where I am. There may even be people out there following me online just to see if I let slip bit of my personal data so they can hack my accounts. Paranoid? Perhaps. More secure? Hopefully?

I would never go so far as to assume my account can’t be hacked without my help, but I certainly don’t intend to make it any easier for anyone. And I certainly don’t want to be sending out message, “Hey, my house is empty and I won’t be back until 5:27 pm on Friday. We have people looking in on our cats, but they will be coming between 9-10 am and 6-7 pm.”

I learned this particular habit of paranoia from the inimitable James Lileks, who is obviously a much bigger online personality than I am, but I think it’s good advice. Anyone who likes me enough to care about my vacations will be understanding enough to accept that my pictures from Aruba are a few days old rather than released as they’re taken. Just because the technology will support it doesn’t mean it’s a good idea. That’s one of the reasons I’m not on Foursquare. People don’t need to know where I am. Sorry.

So there you have it. Thom’s paranoid rant of the week!