The Reality of Anonymous Posting. - By Bob Hubbard

Mr. E

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I think it is a perfectly valid caution to be afraid of people using personal information about you to make your life miserable. I have noticed that there are some rather extreme nut cases on many martial arts boards. And I happen to have recently read something about how for 29 dollars American and just a little bit of personal information you can get an American's social security number from a service on line. With that, a name and a date of birth, you can essentially assume someone's identity. That is for America, other countries have their own problems and predators that do not differ much in the end result, just the details.

I can just imagine blasting some fraud or idiot and having them try to make my life as miserable as possible. I would not just be a target of oppurtunity, but something they would feel driven to put in the extra time to run down and attack.

Martialtalk is one of the better boards in that it asks your date of birth, but does not post it unless you want. You should not let it be posted IMO, and especially if you give your real name.

But aside from that, there are dangers about the information people can gleen from just what you write. You may not post your birthdate, but if you complain about a hangover from your birthday bash the night before and ever say how old you are they can figure it out anyways.

The following story is false accoriding to this article on Snopes, but it has been forwarded to a lot of people as if it were true.

MYSPACE: A Must Read for All

EVERYONE NEEDS TO READ ALL OF THIS and HAVE
CHILDREN READ IT TOO!

After tossing her books on the sofa, she decided
to grab a snack and get
on-line. She logged on under her screen name
ByAngel213. She checked her
Buddy List and saw GoTo123 was on. She sent him an
instant message:

ByAngel213:
Hi. I'm glad you are on! I thought someone was
following me home today. It
was really weird!

GoTo123:
LOL You watch too much TV. Why would someone be
following you?
Don't you live in a safe neighborhood?

ByAngel213:
Of course I do. LOL I guess it was my imagination
cuz' I didn't see anybody
when I looked out.

GoTo123:
Unless you gave your name out on-line. You haven't
done that have you?

ByAngel213:
Of course not. I'm not stupid you know.

GoTo123:
Did you have a softball game after school today?

ByAngel213:
Yes and we won!!

GoTo123:
That's great! Who did you play?

ByAngel213:
We played the Hornets. LOL. Their uniforms are so
gross! They look like
bees. LOL

GoTo123:
What is your team called?

ByAngel213:
We are the Canton Cats. We have tiger paws on our
uniforms. They are really
cool.

GoTo1 23:
Did you pitch?

ByAngel213:
No I play second base. I got to go. My homework
has to be done before my
parents get home. I don't want them mad at me.
Bye!

GoTo123:
Catch you later. Bye

Meanwhile.......GoTo123 went to the member menu
and began to search for her
profile. When it came up, he highlighted it and
printed it out. He took out
a pen and began to write down what he knew about
Angel so far.

Her name: Shannon
Birthday: Jan. 3, 1985
Age: 13
State where she lived: North Carolina

Hobbies: softball, chorus, skating and going to
the mall. Besides this
information, he knew she lived in Canton because
she had just told him. He
knew she stayed by herself until 6:30 p.m. every
afternoon until her parents
came home from work. He knew she played softball
on Thursday afternoons on
the school team, and the team was named the Canton
Cats. Her favorite number
7 was printed on her jersey. He knew she was in
the eighth grade at the
Canton Junior High School . She had told him all
this in the conversations
they had on- line. He had enough information to
find her now.

Shannon didn't tell her parents about the incident
on the way home from the
ballpark that day. She didn't want them to make a
scene and stop her from
walking home from the softball games. Parents were
always overreacting and
hers were the worst. It made her wish she was not
an only child. Maybe if
she had brothers and sisters, her parents wouldn't
be so overprotective.

By Thursday, Shannon had forgotten about the
footsteps following her.

Her game was in full swing when suddenly she felt
someone staring at her. It
was then that the memory came back. She glanced up
from her second base
position to see a man watching her closely.

He was leaning against the fence behind first base
and he smiled when she
looked at him. He didn't look scary and she
quickly dismissed the sudden
fear she had felt.

After the game, he sat on a bleacher while she
talked to the coach. She
noticed his smile once again as she walked past
him. He nodded and she
smiled back. He noticed her name on the back of
her shirt. He knew he had
found her.

Quietly, he walked a safe distance behind her. It
was only a few blocks to
Shannon's home, and once he saw where she lived he
quickly returned to the
park to get his car.

Now he had to wait. He decided to get a bite to
eat until the time came to
go toShannon's house. He drove to a fast food
restaurant and sat there until
time to make his move.

Shannon was in her room later that evening when
she heard voices in the
living room.

"Shannon, come here," her father called. He
sounded upset and she couldn't
imagine why. She went into the room to see the man
from the ballpark sitting
on the sofa.

"Sit down," her father began, "this man has just
told us a most interesting
story about you."

Shannon sat back. How could he tell her parents
anything? She had never seen
him before today!

"Do you know who I am, Shannon ?" the man asked.

"No," Shannon answered.

"I am a police officer and your online friend,
GoTo123."

Shannon was stunned. "That's impossible! GoTo is a
kid my age! He's 14. And
he lives in Michigan !"

The man smiled. "I know I told you all that, but
it wasn't true. You see,
Shannon , there are people on-line who pretend to
be kids; I was one of
them. But while others do it to injure kids and
hurt them, I belong to a
group of parents who do it to protect kids from
predators. I came here to
find you to teach you how dangerous it is to talk
to people on-line. You
told me enough about yourself to make it easy for
me to find you. You named
the school you went to, the name of your ball team
and the position you
played. The number and name on your jersey just
made finding you a breeze."

Shannon was stunned. "You mean you don't live in
Michigan ?"

He laughed. "No, I live in Raleigh It made you
feel safe to think I was so
far away, didn't it?"

She nodded.

"I had a friend whose daughter was like you. Only
she wasn't as lucky. The
guy found her and murdered her while she was home
alone. Kids are taught not
to tell anyone when they are alone, yet they do it
all the time on-line. The
wrong people trick you into giving out information
a little here and there
on-line.. Before you know it, you have told them
enough for them to find you
without even realizing you have done it. I hope
you've learned a lesson from
this and won't do it again. Tell others about this
so they will be safe
too?"

"It's a promise!"

That night Shannon and her Dad and Mom all knelt
down together and thanked
God for protecting Shannon from what could have
been a tragic situation.

Even though it is not true, you can see just how lots of little things that seem to be unimportant can be put together by someone who really works at it to figure out some very important information. Take care all.
 

Shotochem

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Hi All,
I still perfer to remain mostly anonymous. I feel I need to seperate my bussiness and family life from my hobbies and interests. I post as Shotochem on all forums I have frequented. I have discovered that all are not as friendly as this one.

The MA community is smaller than you think. We come across so many people over the years and My not using my real name allows me to freedom to question and openly debate various topics without offending any past instructors, students and friends or have to deal with anyone in the real world who disagrees with me. I will never use a persons name in a negative or disrespective manner on any forum. On rare occassion, I have given praise to persons or instructors I have trained under only because I hold them in high regard.

IMO, there is enough bickering, politics, and childlike nonsense in many MA orgs. I prefer to just train and stay out of it. I don't think of this as cowardice in any way just a means to do what I enjoy without people ruining it for me.

-Marc-
 

Kosho Gakkusei

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Darn! My cover is blown. All this time pretending to be a 35 year old male while I'm really a 12 year old female for nothing....






Just kidding.



_Don Flatt
 

Drac

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I have gone by my nickname for so long that I answer to it as though they were calling me by my first name..The Sgts, Lts, Cmndrs, and the Chief at my full time call me Drac..
 

MAFHonolulu

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Interesting...I never really thought about the whole posting thing that way.
I just never posted my real name (or whole name) because I figured it doesn't matter. I'm still the same person, and people still deserve the same respect from me regardless of whether they know my real name. I guess I just don't put that much weight in a name? Food for thought, this post is.

JENNY KNIGHT :)
 

Mary Chant

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I appreciate hearing about the pros of anonymous posting; I hadn't thought of some of the reasons used before reading this. I use my real name as my username just as a personal check on myself. Knowing that my real name is going to show up along side whatever I post helps prevent me from posting things out of a hasty ego or anger response; it prevents me from activating my "Oh Yeah!?" button, which has resulted in more than a couple mea culpas over the years.

Mary
 
OP
Bob Hubbard

Bob Hubbard

Retired
MT Mentor
Founding Member
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Don't need to be compromised, any spoofer will work fine.
 

Tez3

Sr. Grandmaster
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I used Tez as a user name originally as when I logged on an MMA website over the computer at work because it felt easier to post if people didn't know I was female,then when I got a computer at home it seemed just as eaasy to carry on with it. Now at shows and when training so many people know me as Tez I quite happily answer to it as well as Irene. I rarely tell anyone my date of birth, not for security though....vanity!! if it's a random enquiry I always lie lol yep always take ten years off! (Not on MT though!)
 

rusty nail

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Excellent thread and I am really enjoying the entire site.

The thoughts expressed herein are respected. As to the issue of Identity Theft, there is really no way to completely avoid it. I am very careful with my information and I have had my identity stolen several times. The most recent was due to the theft of my information by an employee of a credit reporting agency.

I helped a co-worker whose first inking that his identity had been stolen was when he received a whopper of a bill from the Internal Revenue Service for taxes owed on defaulted lines of credit. It took us over a year to get the mess straight and he had to literally fight everybody.

As far as I can tell the only way to insure yourself against identity theft in any truly meaningful manner is to completely destroy your own credit to the point that it is not usable by an identity thief. The offense of Identity Theft is hardly ever prosecuted and it is a low risk way to turn a nice illicit profit.

Now as to using my real name on line; when it suits me, I do so. There are many sites on the net who are not actually who they claim to be either. One chat room that I visited on a very limited basis is run out of the Psychology Dept. of the University of New Mexico. They, as a whole, are very abusive; I presume they are doing case studies of one kind or another on the unsuspecting.
It is a very simple axiom that the person presenting him or her self to you on the net really may not be the person they claim to be. As far as personal meetings; completely out of the question for me. I'm not looking for dates or a good time on the net. I simply enjoy sharing the ideas of others; there have been many times that I have found it to be extremely instructive.

In any event; please keep up the high standards that you have here, from everything I've seen, I like it.

All the best !!
 

rusty nail

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Excellent thread and I am really enjoying the entire site.

The thoughts expressed herein are respected. As to the issue of Identity Theft, there is really no way to completely avoid it. I am very careful with my information and I have had my identity stolen several times. The most recent was due to the theft of my information by an employee of a credit reporting agency.

I helped a co-worker whose first inking that his identity had been stolen was when he received a whopper of a bill from the Internal Revenue Service for taxes owed on defaulted lines of credit. It took us over a year to get the mess straight and he had to literally fight everybody.

As far as I can tell the only way to insure yourself against identity theft in any truly meaningful manner is to completely destroy your own credit to the point that it is not usable by an identity thief. The offense of Identity Theft is hardly ever prosecuted and it is a low risk way to turn a nice illicit profit.

Now as to using my real name on line; when it suits me, I do so. There are many sites on the net who are not actually who they claim to be either. One chat room that I visited on a very limited basis is run out of the Psychology Dept. of the University of New Mexico. They, as a whole, are very abusive; I presume they are doing case studies of one kind or another on the unsuspecting.
It is a very simple axiom that the person presenting him or her self to you on the net really may not be the person they claim to be. As far as personal meetings; completely out of the question for me. I'm not looking for dates or a good time on the net. I simply enjoy sharing the ideas of others; there have been many times that I have found it to be extremely instructive.

In any event; please keep up the high standards that you have here, from everything I've seen, I like it.

All the best !!

A decent site if you sre concerned about Identity Theft;

http://attrition.org/dataloss/
 
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