Friday, November 28, 2014

Social Media, Security and a Petrol Station

Alan Parsons: The Voice

Today it seems that social media requires us to surrender the ownership of our most private photographs or writings to them, a corporation, and for the most part we seem happy to do so .....

My Background
The following tale is unfortunately a true story.

Marcus's parents were over vigilant of personal information, and this could make even a simple journey to the Petrol (Gas) Station both awkward and time consuming.

Back in the day in England there was a phase Petrol station attendants wrote down Car Registration details on fuel sales in order to combat fraudulent sales.

Unfortunately my parents had complained to Barclaycard that this was a violation of personal information stealing since it was not part of the Credit card agreement and so armed with a letter to declare the same, post petrol filling began a long standoff between my parents (with letter) and filling station attendant (who had written down the registration as per their instructions).

After upto 30 minutes of arguing the station attendant would normally back down, and the letter from Barclaycard was tucked away safely until the next fillup / confrontation!

This is but one childhood example that made Marcus and Agata promise to ourselves to never be bloody minded and hide information from anybody unless revealing it would honestly compromise our security or well-being.

Be mindful about what information you share, but never be bloody minded.

Some of the big snoopers are?

Google reads the text of your personal emails to better determine what advertising to send you


Tracks your activity whilst you are logged on.  And unbelievably also tracks your activity in the browser after you have logged out

Our assumptions

Our main assumption is that as law abiding and quite boring citizens we don't have anything to hide.  So via this blog or social media or sports sites we are perfectly happy if you want to look at our cycle races or rides in the last 12 months or our holiday photographs from our motorhome adventures in 2014.  You can even dive back a few decades and check Marcus's University notes on Political Philosophy or Electronics.  It's all online and out there to be read.   

Of course, if you are a bloody minded person, who cheats and performs illegal activities, you might not consider being so open. 

The world is quite full or twats and malicious people who often because of jealousy or spite are determined to cause grief to you via their illegal acts or their representations.
It seems such hateful people have nothing better to do, and rather than aim to do better for themselves are content to put others down.  So one can not afford to tell everybody everything.

Be mindful and aware

Some of the big fight backs
Some of the measures that we would recommend to stop 3rd parties from taking information we would recommend include

Google Permissions

Check which websites have access to your Google based data.  Revoke the ones that should not have access to your information.

Device Specific Passwords

When a website asks you for your Google credentials give it an application password instead.   You first need to create it using the above link.

Location Aware Applications

Certain Smartphone applications like Runkeeper or Strava may publicly display your location over time.  This is also true of any photograph you publish publicly from your GPS enabled Smartphone  (Google+ strips this information I note).  So consider if you want this information to be private you need to restrict who can see the location information embedded in any shared or Internet broadcast photograph or Smartphone app giving public access to you.

Application Permissions
When you install a PC or Smartphone application make an attempt to understand what rights you are surrendering to the writer of the application.

Facebook Disconnect

Install this Chrome extension to prevent Facebook snooping

Prevent other websites from snooping in on your information

Adblock Plus
Install this Chrome extension to prevent Advertisements and popups from appearing everywhere and at the very least causing your webpages to load more slowly!


Marcus and Agata try to have different passwords for every account.  So if any account is compromised a hacker trying a different account will get precisely nowhere.  We hate and abhor single signon.   What a stupid idea!

The other golden rule.  For every online account you have e.g telephone voicemal, never leave settings at a default.

And finally

Social media Interactions
Consider that  anything you say online even in a private forum can be rebroadcast usually without your consent or knowledge.  Also, what you say online today can have an almost infinite digital lifetime and can be rebroadcast years later to your very possible considerable shame.    

Be mindful but not bloody minded,


Facebook ad tracking
Facebook web tracking