Unsocial 2.0, keep your family jewels out of the privacy grinder

Given the number of online services, Smartphone suppliers, app developers, and the amount of data we “leak” to all kinds of companies, it comes as no surprise that it is nearly impossible to keep things separated.

Photos you take of your children, family, or colleagues can be tagged, used, stored, and seen by companies all over the world – and their employees. Photos you take of the whiteboard after that awesome project meeting can and will be used in a similar manner, you can count on it.

Combine this with location data and timestamps, and it’s pretty obvious that there are few things “they” cannot find out about you.

SecurityAlarm

The rest of the data, we willingly give away for free. And we do this because we always get something “for free”, right? We get 15GB of Google photo storage, we get 2GB of Dropbox space, we get to listen to Spotify’s music, and we get to post our project drawings, mockups, and source material for permanent cloud storage.

Some may argue that we’ve been doing this long before Google, Android, iPhone, and Apple. And they’d be right. Credit Card companies “bleed” or “leak” information to various partners. Shops personalize their offerings and discount coupon based on what you have previously purchased, etc.

And perhaps this is simply the way it works. Privacy and Information Integrity isn’t ours to have any more if we want to “participate online” in one form or other. The concept of “my private space” is an extremely confusing topic if you ask any given person born after 1990.

You can actually make it somewhat harder for your data to end up in the wrong place. But it does require an effort where it shouldn’t and it does come at a price. But you’re already paying a price, so what’s a few extra minutes of your time, right?

Use two completely separate identities using two completely separated devices of the same kind. I am not talking about separating your personal life from your professional life. There’s very little difference for many today. I’m talking about keeping your actual communication “safe” from the “social mind” or “global awareness pool”.

The market is over flooded with inexpensive and/or second-hand smartphones and tablets, regardless of your preferences. Get one that you only use for Facebook, Google+, Spotify, and other similar companies/services that don’t have the first clue nor interest in your right to privacy.

The idea of separating your identities is called compartmentation.

  • On your “scrap device”, use a nondescript e-mail address, which is typically used as a common key between various services.
  • On your “scrap device”, don’t take pictures that you don’t want “leaked” or store any useful e-mails.
  • On your “scrap device”, don’t store any useful contact information.
  • Needless to say, when signing upp for new services, etc. that you want to keep separate, you do it with the e-mail address used on the “scrap device”.

This isn’t all that hard actually. And if you want to share something from your “actual” device to your “scrap device” (like posting the latest photo of your dog on Facebook or sharing the coolest party photo on Google+), send it by e-mail (or Bluetooth, or NFC) to the “scrap device”.

Yes. It adds one step to the process. Perhaps that can also act as a useful filter so we can put an end to all these images of half-eaten food on social networks.

It would be interesting if a manufacturer could actually put out a device that was two devices in one, physically separated with the ability to switch the display from one to the other with a simple press of a button. Think “Dual SIM cards”, but going all the way.

SpyFlashMost smartphone and tablet devices today are way too powerful for most users to harness all of their capacity, trust me, you don’t need octacore and 4K HD resolution to scroll through your Facebook feed or read the latest gossip on Twitter.

If your boss at work doesn’t get this, ask her or him if it’s OK that the latest project whiteboard photos are┬ásent to Spotify. Your boss may change her/his mind.