Thursday, March 11, 2004

A Few Notes On Privacy

When I first started my AOL Journal I was very cautious about how much personal information I released.  I was careful about what was visible in pictures.  For instance, surroundings, clothing, time of day. Might sound strange but this is the Internet, right here in my bedroom. I know where my own integrity stands and what my own intentions are while I'm online. But I learned recently, there are over 3 million anonymous people in chatrooms at any given moment. Just chatrooms.

The first picture I posted in my About Me section was blurred, scratched and faded to the best of my ability. Still it made me uneasy. It took a while before I started posting more pics and then music and videos. Now, even after the launch of my music website, you'll notice, I've never personally given my full/true name in my own journal or anywhere in AOL-J.  I've only refereed to myself as Freeepeace [or variations of my screenname].  And still some insist on calling me by my true name - even people I've never been introduced to.

When my website was being launched, it was a big deal and a huge risk for me to link it to this journal.  I wonder every single day if I should change that. It sometimes keeps me awake at night.  But then I remember, I'm as safe as I feel.

Some of us have relationships outside of AOL-J. We share email, Instant Messages, snail mail, phone calls. And some have met in person. For me, information shared in private is sacred.

I know I can't control what others choose to post in their journals but I can only ask that my privacy and personal information be kept in confidence. Please check with me before posting something I've written, said or information I've given to you personally. There are copyright laws that protect us all in that regard.  But I would like to believe I don't need to refer to them - especially here in AOL-J.

This isn't a rant. It's a reminder.  I am who I am. What you see is what you get. But it's up to me to introduce and expose parts of myself when I'm ready - on my own time. Please remember there are others reading our journals, outside of our community. We may be very comfortable with each other. But this is the Internet. Anyone in the world could be reading.

~ peace please ~


diannevan said...

I bet I'm the first of many who are pressing that pretend "rewind" button in our brains to see if maybe we inadvertently said anything we shouldn't. I'm THINKING I was okay, but I'd definitely like to know if I made a goof. Especially if I made a goof about a goof! You goofy girl!

BTW, very good points were made in general, and I definitely know what you mean about linking the site to your journal... it's just too easy to track. I debated, but decided to go ahead and link.

queenz43 said...

Hey Freee,
I can understand your concerns because we do have to be careful. It is easy to become comfortable and snug in the little community here in J-Land and easy to let our guards down. While "fortunately" good, safe, friendships can be formed offline and you want to be open to all you meet, caution still has to override emotion. Don't think I've ever done anything to infringe upon your privacy, but if I ever do, let me know. See ya on the next run,

ondinemonet said...

I think you said that quite well...we all have to have boundries. If only most folks would try to remember...if you wouldn't want it said or posted about yourself, then its not a good idea to post it about someone else. The Golden Rule is not a difficult concept to grasp. Take care Freee...Love, Carly :)

gingergirl05 said...

Very true...we become relaxed with those we "know" and forget that there are millions of others creeping about. I've never posted a picture of myself, but that's mostly because I don't have a webcam, scanner, or digital camera (I'm so behind the times! lol). It's good to have fun online, but it's also good to be cautious. Thanks for the reminder :o) ~ Kate xo

kemh632 said...

at least people are leaving you coments! They don't on mine!

viviansullinwank said...

Wow {{{{{Freee}}}}} I'm sorry someone has infringed on your privacy. I hope your reminder will take care of it.

irun01 said...

Thanks for sharing this Rock Star. Need me to "hammer" anyone for you? I got your back dude!!

rinakatay21 said...

Elaborate on this copyright thing. As far as I know, or since my Communications Law class, the internet is not protected the same way a regular copyright is. i.e. the Napster fiasco. The music thing may hold up...but I dunno about the writing part..and especially not word of mouth. I may be totally wrong elaborate, please.

nikki247 said...

When I first started my journal, I never thought ANYONE would read it - not even people that I knew. But - somehow people that I was close to, people that I worked with even stumbled upon it. To be honest, if I felt like my privacy was being violated, I would have never started an online journal - I just would have kept my private journal under my bed like usual - instead, I chose to share my views with everyone hoping that I might be able to meet someone that shared the same things I was going through - I think you have done the same and some people may not think that copying your name or something you say in your journal as copyright infringment but only wanting to add a comment to something you had said that touched them.

freeepeace said...

DIANNE - You goofy girl yourself! Please know I will always come to you if there's an issue between us. :)

RC - The reason I refer to you as RC is because YOU always refer to yourself as RC. Perfect example :) No, you've never infringed upon my privacy. Yes, I would let you know. Please do the same. xo

CARLY - I agree with your Golden Rule. But I do respect that others have different views. We're learning - I'm learning. I too try to treat others as I expect to be treated. But I also give the benefit of the doubt. Can't expect others to 'guess' what my needs are. Thanks for your support Carly. Love you.

KATE - Your screen name is another good example. I'm sure I used to refer to you as "Ginger" until I realized you sign your name as "Kate." And, I for one would love to see pics of you in your journal. Webcams are cheap! :)

freeepeace said...

KEMH - If you leave the link to your journal everywhere you leave a comment, I imagine you'd start getting comments. Make it easy for us to find your journal. :)

VIVIAN - I responded in my next entry. I am well. My privacy has not [yet] been infringed upon. :) ::hugs::

IRUN - No need to hammer anyone! LOL But it's good to know you've got my back! :)

KAT - You're not totally wrong. There's risk in anything we say, write, sing, post, etc. But there are US copyrights that exist for our protection. Scalzi elaborates here:

NIKKI - Absolutely! I agree. Anything I post in my journal is "up for discussion" since I openly displayed it. [I do expect to be credited for it, where ever it's re-posted]. But in the sense of private conversations, I expect them to be private - unless given [or gotten] permission from all parties involved.

slowmotionlife said...

I think this is a good reminder for ALL of us, actually. I've personally been very lax in my own security lately. I've probably made some poor choices and become too comfortable in my journal and around AOL-J. I know that each time you put something on the internet, you're exposing yourself to the world. But it's still possible to keep certain things sacred - your name, address, location, etc. And it's equally important to be mindful of people who trust you with their own information.

itsjustusinnc said...

Hmmmm. Now I kow you're SAYING you haven't had a problem yet, but something must have triggered this line of thinking. What's up? Even with your site up, I still refer to you as FREEE even when responding to your comments cuz I've never seen you refer to yourself otherwise. Kinda the same with SLOMO. I hope I didn't slip up somehwere. :-)


freeepeace said...

SLOMO - That's exactly what this post was for - to serve as a reminder! I know you understand where I'm coming from. Mutual respect and admiration :)

GREGG - Sure, something triggered these posts but that's usually true of all my posts :) Really, all's well. And you've always been respectful of me. Mutual respect and admiration here too!

musenla said...

This is a very good and timely post, Freee. I think all of us need to be reminded once in a while, since our community here in AOL-J has grown so close and familiar with each other. As close-knit as we feel, there are strangers who can come and go through our journals as they please, not all of them desirable. I am considering asking my posters to start referring to me by my screen name for that very purpose. If at any time I mistakenly go beyond your set limits, please let me know.

bridgetteleigh75 said...

Oh...I'm guilty of this too! I've called you by your first name many times in my journal, and for that....I apologize. You're absolutely is thoughtless of me. That will be changed, I promise, because I do have a tendency to mention you quite a bit in my journal.

You're one of my favorite people in AOL-J's hard NOT to talk about you. =)

XO ~ Bridgett

sxypriincess said...

Hi Free!
I totally respect you for writing this..I think it was a great idea and a reminder for ALL of us. I too have a tendencey to do some of the things you mentioned...You just get so comfortable with people and it is something you don't think about. Thanks SO much for posting this and for giving me a little reminder too.
Have a great weekend!!!

freeepeace said...

MUSE - I'm happy to refer to you as your screen name. As you say, this was a timely reminder! I feel your integrity on a daily basis. Thank you.

BRIDGETT - I was worried about how you might respond to this post - mainly cuz you always refer to me as my frist name. But I knew things would change once I linked my website. It's all good :)

DOTTIE - I've gotten real comfortable in here. Nothing wrong with that. Just a little reminder that we're not alone. :)

quroboros said...

I often find myself dealing w/this, vacilating between reserve & paranoia. I use my FIRST name only, but have never gone so far as to put husband's, names of family members.. hell, I don't even print my HORSE'S real name (just her nickname.) Perhaps that's an overly cautious attitude, but I routinely keep my cards close to the chest. ~Holly

somenuttychic said...

In light of my last comment, I find this particular post extremely timely. I am like you. Although I am sorely tempted to, I have never posted a photo. I don't use my real name and I have never ever disclosed my location. I won't even admit to what part of the country I'm from. You're so right about internet safety. There are many, many people lurking in J-land most of which we will never know about. I'm even careful about what I disclose privately, outside of the journal to anyone here. (Which generally isn't much.) It's not that I don't want to, it's just easier for me that way. Trust is imperative and the less I have to worry about it, the better.