Tag: privacy

Why Display Names Should Be Allowed On Social Networks


Social networks are the actual craze online. People are spending more and more time online, so it is only logical to give them the option to socialize online too. There is one small problem: privacy. Facebook got burnt pretty badly recently and has had to revamp its privacy controlling mechanisms. Now Google+ is coming with its Circles feature, promising finer-grained control over privacy. But here, I argue about using display names (or nicknames) online, something that no social network wants you to do.

Why do social networks bother with real name? Because it is easier for your friends and people to find you. Because it looks more professional. Because they make money by knowing a ton of things about you. Social networks will do various things to “persuade” you to use your real name, such as suspending your account if you’re caught using a display name, or a name that resembles a display name. Quora goes as far as to possibly require you to prove your identity using official documents just to use their service. Insanity, I say.

Why should you be using a display name?

EDIT: A few days after posting this, I see this very nice article slashdotted about the topics of display names on social networks. Worth checking! 🙂

EDIT2: This piece by Danah Boyd is well worth reading and expands a lot on actual dangers people may face when using their real names online. Gizmodo has also written about Google+ Real Names policy.

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Is Registering On Websites Dangerous?


I am asking this question because recently, quite a few sites are getting hacked. Last year, the Gawker network got hacked, and users’ email addresses, passwords and other sensitive data were taken. More recently, the manga site MangaShare got hacked and again, users’ emails and  passwords were potentially taken.

In a separate case, Lastpass – the “store your passwords in the cloud” service – got hacked too. Moral of the story, your data is not totally safe online. Nothing surprising here, but those cases led me to ask this question: should you register online?

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The end of privacy on the Internet?


CCTV Cameras

A number of recent events occurring over the Internet prompted me to write this article. What were these events about? Well, if you want to know, they are about privacy decreasing over the Internet. Most users think that while they are online, they are nameless and faceless; One among the millions or billions of users and that they can do pretty much what they want.

Guess again buddy! In fact, I’d go as far as to say you are never anonymous over the Internet. Why? There is always your IP address. Hide it via a proxy you say? Your ISP still has your record, and if ever your proxy is not totally reliable, then you could easily be found.

I’ll be talking about the decreasing levels of privacy. “The Internet is an unregulated network with free-flow of Information”, or so the definition says. Is it really true? Not according to me. Do you consider bandwidth regulation schemes, commonly known as “bandwidth capping” to be unregulated flow of information?

You are not allowed to use some services at some times of the day, by some ISPs. That’s a lot of some’s, but it’s there. P2P throttling is becoming increasingly common among ISPs who are seeing their bandwidth being swamped with P2P traffic. This violates the basic philosophy of a free-flow of information, right?

But let’s see what the Japanese have to say when it comes to how they use the Internet.

We know that the Japanese are very good when it comes to high-speed Internet, with something like 100Mbps available at around $45 per month. We also know that Fair-Usage Policies were introduced by Orange in Mauritius, giving you a download-capping of around 10GB a month, or so we guessed. Guess what the Japan ISP, NTT did. They implemented an upload-capping of (!!) 30GB per day! Downloads, of course, are still unlimited. Ok… *shocked* Read more here.

Now for the decreasing privacy topic. Starting with the most recent now, let’s see flagrant cases of what I’d call “invasion of privacy” but which authorities seem to consider “normal”. You be the judge.

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Why we are all liable to receive a DMCA notice?


Bittorrent is one of the most famous way to share data among users. The files ranges from legal to illegal. This method of transmission is very much vulnerable to many exploits. Given its popularity, one ca imagine the number of illegal files like music, movies, tv shows and the likes are alive in the community. The immediate benefiters of these media are going berserk of what is happening. They are getting lesser than ideally they should be. Here come into scene, the monitoring agencies to track down those infringing copyrights. Continue Reading »