The Privacy BlogPrivacy, Security, Cryptography, and Anonymity



What you never create can't leak

Shhh finger to lips man

The latest leaked messages to blow up in someone’s face are some emails from Evan Spiegel, the CEO of Snapchat. These were incredibly sexist emails sent while he was in college at Stanford organizing fraternity parties.

These emails are like racist rants, homophobic tweets, and pictures of your “junk”. They are all trouble waiting to happen, and there is always a risk that they will crop up and bite you when you least expect it. If you have ever shared any potentially damaging messages, documents, photos, or whatever then you are at risk if anyone in possession of them is angry, board, or in search of attention.

Even if it only ever lives on your computer, you are vulnerable to hackers breaking in and stealing it, or to someone getting your old poorly erased second hand computer.

This falls in to the “if it exists it will leak” rant that I seem to be having to repeat a lot lately. The first rule of privacy is: think before you write (or talk, or take a picture, or do something stupid). Always assume that anything will leak, will be kept, will be recorded, will be shared. Even when you are “young and stupid” try to keep a thought for how that thing would be seen in ten years when you are in a very different position. Of course, ideally you are not sexist, racist, homophobic, or stupid in the first place.

Lance Cottrell is the Founder and Chief Scientist of Anonymizer. Follow me on Facebook, Twitter, and Google+.


1 comment

  • Lai Kuan · August 18, 2014 at 1:26 am

    Totally agree with you! What you never create, will never be leaked!

    Mobile number is one piece of personal information that is often being misused. Our mobile number is part of our identity. Once given out, it will remain out there, until and unless we change our mobile phone. Does this mean we have to change our mobile number every time a hacker or telemarketer gets hold of our number?

    What if there is a solution that enables you NOT to give out your mobile number in the first place?

    StitMe is a mobile privacy app that enables users to use their name as their mobile number. Users can connect with people simply by using a StitMe ID (such as #JANEDOE). When users make outgoing calls, the recipient’s caller ID will show the unique “StitMe Privacy Protected Connection Number” instead of users’ personal mobile phone numbers. The actual mobile number is never exposed.

    Also, users can pre-set the days and hours to allow incoming calls. Once a contact is deleted, that person can never call the user back! Absolute privacy in the control of the user.

    StitMe also comes with a secured chat function. Unlike other self-destructing messaging apps, StitMe allows users to pre-set a timer to “Kill” the chat messages from both ends, the sender’s and the recipient’s mobile phones.

    Find out more on:
    Press release:

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