In the past two years, i've been thinking a lot about online and offline security.
My whole perception changed after I was involved in a "prank". It began with online stalking, which turned into harassment and the police got involved. To cut the story short, the person was charged with good behaviour probation for 6 months. They paid a charity money, and wrote me an apology letter.
The bad luck streak didn't stop there though. After moving into my first home and coming back late one night, my partner and I were randomly tailgated, blocked in our driveway and screamed at by a crazy person. It's happened a couple more times, and even to my friends. The only option is to get an intervention order at court, because the police can not get involved till we're physically harmed.
I've always been an extremely carefree person, who believes the best of people. It's why the "prank" carried on for so long, and we still haven't taken out an intervention order yet. These two instances are what I'm assuming are just a series of events and challenges that i'll constantly face over my lifetime. I like to refer to these events as "The crazies are just attracted to me".
Recently I attended the Above all Human conference. I wanted to share my story for months, but I couldn't put it into perspective. I found these quotes inspiring and they helped give me perspective.
The first, "Reduce the value of your data" - Window Snyder.
Window's talk was all about Software Security. She made comparisons to how we protect our identities offline, for example, shredding documents. The "crazies" would have to spend a lot of time rejoining the pieces of a shredded document to steal your identity. Don't keep your eggs in one basket. Whether it be online data or offline identity documents, make it less appealing - remove the "value".
The second being, "Trust people to have control" - Anil Dash.
I choose to share my information because I thought it was harmless. Anil talked about the "Old Internet" where he made many friends and connected with others. When I previously blogged, I never had any haters online. I shared my life, my experiences, and my inspirations. I connected with others over the world and I learnt new skills. It even helped aid me in my acceptance into an overseas exchange program. (The Internet is actually amazing!)
When I decided to take a break from blogging, I redesigned my website and shared my contact number. I thought because it was presented in a professional and business-like manner on my website, nobody would abuse that. But, they did. For me personally, you can trust most people, but you can't always trust everyone to have control. This brings us to the third quote.
The third being, "Everyone of us is responsible" - Anil Dash.
We are responsible for the content we share both online and offline. There are preventative measures that can be used to increase your own security and privacy.
A good place to start online is to restrict the amount of personal information you share on your social media accounts. Think twice before making your personal content public. Know your audience, think about what you're saying and the responses you'll receive.
A good place to start offline is the proper disposal and protection of all your private information. For example, the person who's been blocking our driveway went through our mailbox (crazy, I know) and screamed the name on the letter that was mistakenly put into our mailbox that day. So, we've put a lock on our mailbox and chucked up a security system in our driveway. Extreme, but if the situation does escalate, hopefully there's solid evidence that can be used in court.
I like to think of it as out crazy the crazy, but in the most legal way possible - because you're not that crazy.