There are a few reasons that I have decided to write about this topic. It all probably started a few weeks ago when I noticed that someone has been googling my information. If you are familiar with the blogger platform, then you know that you can go to "Stats" from your dashboard and by clicking on "Traffic Sources", you can find the keywords that people enter into Google that leads them back to your blog. What I found was someone who had entered my name, email address, and some other information. Now, I already know who the people are that would be trying to get information on me. You would be surprised at how many people you know that may have been close to you or maybe still are, that would try to find anything they can to use against you. I, myself, have even used Google to bust many people in lying, cheating, etc. This is okay with me, because I have nothing to hide.
I also received an email a couple of weeks ago, that had video from the local news station attached. The news did a segment on how uploading pictures from your smartphones to blogs or social networking sites such as Facebook, leaves a trail of information behind. Hackers can track down you and your child's specific location just by looking at the information contained in the photo file and using programs to decode it. The news had investigators look at these photos and they were able to get information such as addresses, phone numbers, and even the names of the schools where the pictured child was attending! How scary! Let's take another example...Facebook has an option where you can use your mobile device to "check-in" to places you go. Whenever I am on my Facebook, I see this from everyone and I don't understand it. Why would you willingly post where you are going and what you are doing everyday? Many people will argue that it is okay because their profile is private and they only have the people they know and trust on their page. While keeping the privacy level of your account at it's maximum is definitely a good thing and helps tremendously, it doesn't mean that it will fully stop someone from accessing your information. Let me be the first to tell you that there is NO such thing as private on the internet! Do you not think that professional hackers can't hack something as simple as your Facebook account? I have friends who have little knowledge of computers who know how to hack people's accounts! Would you post where you are at, what you were doing, what school or church you are going to on some random website? No...so you probably shouldn't post it on Facebook either. Not to mention many people also list their education, their employers, their phone numbers, addresses, email, and other very personal information. Why not just post your income and social security number as well? Also, if your phone can easily track you, so can people. Investigators are now urging people who upload pictures to the internet, to turn off the GPS settings on your mobile device. On the iPhone and iPod touch, this can be done by going to "Settings" and switching the "Location Services" off. I have shared the video I received with all of you and you can find it at the end of this post.
I love blogging and posting pictures. Especially now that I am getting into photography, I feel my blog can serve as a great platform to showcase my photos and other hobbies. I think that blogging and having your own website can be very safe so long as you are taking the necessary precautions. There are many things bloggers can do to keep their photos and information secure.
- Public vs. Private
Bloggers should have an idea from the beginning what they want to blog about and their target audience. For most of us, blogging serves as an online journal where we can go and have an outlet. So we should ask ourselves this...what kind of information are we sharing? The more information you share on your blog, the fewer people you should share it with. If your blog is strictly pictures of you and your family and you write about all of your vacations and where you are going next and when so you can share the information with family and friends...perhaps consider having a private blog that allows only the people you choose to read it. Remember that any information you are sharing publicly, is open to anyone and everyone!
- Be very smart about the photos you share!
Remember that there are SO many ways that blogs can expose your information. Even just writing about your feelings can show how vulnerable you are. Maybe you post a picture of yourself and your dog in your front yard with your car in the background. Well, if you live in a small town or rural area this is plenty of information for someone to find you. Blogging is supposed to be fun. For many of us, the whole point of blogging is for it to be a little break from the stress of our everyday lives, not to cause more. So just be smart about everything you do and post online...and remember...if it's on the internet, Google will find it!