random complexity

with a side of crazy

How I became a hypocrite without noticing

Last week I realised I'm a hypocrite. I've skipped on the whole facebook fad, the twitter fad and so on primarily because I didn't trust the owners to do the right thing with whatever data of mine ends up on their service. I'd convinced myself this was the case and from my initial scan of the facebook policies wrote off the whole service. Of course since then there have been many privacy violations/leaks to add fuel to the fire and the privacy policy grew to larger than the US constitution (currently it's split into multiple pages so it doesn't look so bad). Twitter just fell into the chasm of general social networking stuff. I say fad because I'd ignored previous social networking sites just fine, and right when I decided to go sign up, a new one showed up and everyone jumped at once to the new one, so I held off to see if it'd take off and kept waiting again. Well perhaps facebook was third times the charm, it hasn't passed yet, and I'm right at that point again. Expect the next big thing any day now.

Well last week I realised I've got this all wrong. I've already sold my soul to the cloud and have ignored it like a blind spot. Gmail.

I started using gmail when spam became intolerable and spam assassin stopped working enough for me. Maintaining my own email server became too greater maintenance for not enough gain. Gmail's spam filter is excellent and just works. I like things that just work. A decent web mail client wasn't around at that stage or not for free. The ajax'y ones weren't that good yet and gmail's was again, excellent. So I did it, I switched. I even put up with having to forward all my mail to a single email account and handling it all through there. I also put up with the from header being set to it, exposing the actual account name which I never liked. Not a perfect solution but it worked. 80/20 rule be gone, this was more 95/5. Initially it was a tactical solution which just never got changed.

Then when google apps came along, even better, my whole email solution could be google hosted, however I still used forwards to the master gmail account (because the google apps account wasn't a full featured google account at the time) and I used other services. Since then google apps accounts are now 99% full featured (95/5 again) so I moved all my data from my gmail google account to my apps google account, and all was happy again. My from headers are right now, still no spam, it just works.

However by this stage I had already been sucked into the cloud. As much as I don't trust google (or trust them only slightly more than facebook/twitter) I do use it for important stuff - my email. The contents of my account is important, and due to this I was backing it up for a long time. Though not for a while now. When I moved between accounts I realised the backup tools all suck - hint: they don't backup everything and they battle to restore everything if restore is even an option.

From the privacy perspective; Email can be faked easily enough, or lost in spam, so the level of trust/denial is quite low anyway, just like sms. Being one in billions on the service helps you to blend in.

I believe eventually everything posted online will become public. Through poor information security, coding mistakes, disgruntled/curious employees, cracking and so on. If you're hiding information behind a sites privacy settings to keep something private, it's just a time delay lock, not a safe. It's happened before and it'll happen again, information leaks. Don't trust anyone.

So the answer is to either to play with fake information even if it limits the usefulness of it in the first place, or not play the game at all.

Right now I'm toying with two courses of corrective action:

  1. Wipe the slate clean and start a new fully embracing the cloud and what it provides. AKA the whole hog.

  2. Pull back the error of my ways and figure out a new way forward/around. AKA the long way.

I've ignored the middle ground; Combine existing with the rest of the cloud but not embracing by using fake details; because that dilutes the potential and raises more questions than it answers.

Or simply continue on as I have been and ignore my internal monologue's screaming. That's the do nothing option.

Mental note: must not forget to include a random image.

memes - Philosiraptor - Private Investigators

<3 the philosiraptor. As much as I like things that just work. It's getting harder. And no I haven't bought a mac, yet.


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