Back in the late 1980s I was one of those early adopters of the connected world, and became involved in developing forums on Compuserve and GEnie. I got involved with ALPE (Apple’s online social network) which rolled out as eWorld. Then Apple decided “the online world doesn’t fit Apple’s model” and eWorld was sold to Quantum. Shortly thereafter, the name was changed to America Online and we all rejoiced in the new, graphical online universe!
I was helping develop the Desktop Publishing forum, and intensely involved in developing the “User Group” community with Jerry Kline. It soon become painfully clear that troublemakers and the crime industry would be active ingredients online that we (as ‘sysops’ or AFAs) would always have to deal with.
It followed that some rules of deployment would be developed. One of the most important rules was for the protection of our users and community, particularly their copyrighted images, photos, paintings and writings. Rule #1 was…
NEVER UPLOAD ANYTHING YOU’RE NOT PREPARED TO GIVE AWAY.
Rule #2 was…
NEVER POST ANY PERSONAL INFORMATION.
We knew the online world, by its very nature, was not secure, and never would be. The hacker mentality was spreading like a bad virus and the cybercrime industry was already innovating new ways to capitalize on people’s gullibility. No matter what safety features were put in place, the underworld was always quick to break. So the mantra became if you don’t want it to show up online, don’t put it there. Period.
It’s fairly easy to see that very few people follow that rule. It’s most unfortunate, because today we’re worried about security, hacking email, stealing identities and profiteering off content, photos or ideas people have posted.
In 2014, Facebook legitimized plagiarism and forfeit of ownership when they purchased Instagram and changed their TOS :
… any user who clicks ‘like’ on a brand was effectively giving their consent to be used in commercial content. Instagram’s new policies, which now apply to users as young as 13, enable the site [Facebook] to use members’ names, text, photos and other content with marketing messages.
Very few people gave notice or cared.
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The good news is, if you practice Safe Netting and the two original cardinal rules of the online world, they’ll never come back to haunt you.
… and thanks for reading