A Reminder: Public data is really public

Just a friendly reminder for y’all: The Internet is basically a giant machine for making sure publicly available data is easily searched and found.

There are crawlers continuously scanning the Net for each of the major search engines; for each of the minor search engines; for ad companies; for other net companies which want the data; for academia; for government agencies. Heck, writing and running a crawler is a fairly standard class project for advanced undergrads. The time between a document becoming visible and at least one crawler grabbing a snapshot of it is getting smaller and smaller.

Which means that if you make something publicly visible on the Internet, even for a few minutes, it’s pretty much impossible to undo that. The internet archives and replicates everything.

So always make sure to check security settings three times before posting anything that isn’t meant to be a general-public, on-the-record broadcast.

ETA: Not only is this post number 666 on this blog, but WordPress has assigned an internal ID number of 1337 to it. Apparently the tendency of the Internet to preserve public information as public is both l33t and evil.

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Published in: on October 13, 2010 at 16:54  Comments Off on A Reminder: Public data is really public  
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