Saturday, July 20, 2013

Lazy Saturday and tech woes

Strangely enough, I find myself this Saturday with some free time and keyboard access. Upon browsing my own blog, I found that my most recent post (The Blonde in the Bar) had been reverted to an out of date draft.

Originally, I had the inspiration for the write up while I was on vacation. As such, the post was created using the Blogger app on my phone and then saved as a draft. When I got home I cleaned up the post on my desktop through Chrome. A few days ago I had reopened the Blogger app on my phone which was still open to the first draft of that write up. Closing the app saved the writing back to the version cached in the phone! Thank you, Google Cache. That was how I had to revert to the correct version.

I would love to write something deep and thought provoking or, better yet, get some coding done but I just heard life calling again.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

The blonde in the bar

In A Beautiful Mind Russell Crowe plays a brilliant mathematician John Nash. Part way through he has a moment at a bar which inspires him to write. His bar moment gave him insight into his field and he left after thanking the blonde in the bar. I have been inspired to write about what I've recently learned from a night in a bar. To my blonde in the bar, thank you.

At some level, everyone knows that their privacy is at best only as safe as the protect it. People also tend to be really bad at doing that protection. When a gorgeous, dashing gentlemen lonely, bored drunk in the bar asks for a dance can be an awkward moment, since both parties are keeping the physical contact to less than that of a middle school formal. Small talk fills the few minutes of the dance.

What has you in town? School.
Study? Interesting sounding topic.
Prompt for information. Chat, including a brief, slightly bragging mention of a great internship.

Part way through the song her friend cuts in and the dance ends. Part ways, no names given. Anonymous.

How anonymous? Not at all. The school, the program of study, and the internship was all that was given. When searched appropriately online, that tuple points initially to a person. One that just happens to share the same first name which was overheard in the bar, said by the blonde's friends. Even without that tidbit, that first entry contains a full name. Searching for that full name on another site provides a picture along with the results. Match.

The friend that cut in, the only information she ever provided was her face and her association with the blonde. Solid anonymity? No more than the first. The online trail included her full name and even a friendly nickname. Hometown? High school? Interests? All exposed based entirely off a chance meeting with her friend, the blonde in the bar.

What is the appropriate amount of information to share and what is the information that must be held close to the chest? A brief, anonymous chat with a stranger in a bar can potentially have wide rippling effects. How much do you say without thinking about if it exposes you, your friends, or your family? In The Art of Deception, Mitnick poses a challenge which should be trained into employees: "If I gave this information to my worst enemy, could it be used to injure me or my company?" (2002, pg 53) This is a question that should probably be employed by all of us about all our information.

Once again, thank you. I never before had thought as deeply about what information I may be exposing just by chatting away.

I can't not leave you without the clip that I began by discussing...