privacy in a blog world

Privacy is a real concern for all of us in this age of identity theft. Privacy is also a real concern for those with health issues. Doctor blogs like Revolution Health and blogborygmi (cf. USA Today’s Paging Dr. Blog: Online discourse raises questions) are starting to write about a behind-the-scenes look at the doctor and patient interaction, with supposed fictionalization and composite profiling to obscure personally identifiable information.

Recently someone asked me to remove their name from my website, with concern for identity theft. I promptly complied with that person’s request. And, I wanted to learn more about the dangers of blogging and identity theft, and wrote back:

I recognize a rise in identity theft abounding; would you counsel that every blogger should stop blogging and quit using real names?

That person replied:

In my opinion, I do believe blogging should live on as it is freedom of speech. However, I would probably use an alias if I were to blog in the future.

I don’t think my question was answered. I woulda thunk that if this person really cared about identity theft and public safety, s/he would have warned other bloggers about not using personal names in their blogging. But my reading of this seems to suggest that it’s more of a personal preference for non-disclosure privacy. After all, there are plenty of people who are in the public eye, about whom there is plentiful personal information online that could be used for social engineering and identity theft.

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  1. Noel says:

    My wife and I were at a carnival with our family a couple years ago. Someone we didn’t know approached us and said “Hi! We just looked at your vacation pictures this morning.”

    From that day forward, I removed my personal family info from my blog and I don’t talk about when I travel, with very few exceptions. It’s about helping my wife feel safe.

  2. Suzanne says:

    When I first began using the internet, I was advised by my husband not to give out any real or personal information.

    In my walk with the LORD, over these last 7 years of internet relationships, I have discovered that if I want REAL (Honest, Open, Transparent) relationships with people, if I really want to walk as the LORD walked, I will be myself wherever I go. Wisdom is employed with our words whether ‘live and in person’ or in our online relationships. I trust God to allow into my life the people HE wants there and even if I suffer from my Realness, God will use that, too.

    Jesus’ life was not about privacy, but of disclosure of Truth. I want my life to be a disclosure of Truth. I don’t want to live a safe life. I want to live a real life with the Passion of Christ. I listen to my husband and always do what he says first unless it goes directly against what I know that Christ says. I will stand before God alone at the end of my life, so in order to live with a clear conscience, sometimes I must “hate my father and mother, husband and children, brothers and sisters, yes, and my own life also, so that I can be Christ’s disciple.” Luke 14:26