Okay, I’m gonna try to make this quick because I need to get to work. But I feel like I also need to talk about this somewhere.

So. I have this friend who’s about to turn 13. She’s my ex’s kid; I don’t make a habit of going around friending 13 year olds. (Not that there’s anything wrong with friending 13 year olds, but it’s not a common occurrence in our age-segregated society.)

Anyway. She’s the coolest. One of the most important things to me, when me and my ex broke up, was making sure I maintained a good relationship with her. I’ve been making a real effort to do that, and I think she and I have gotten closer since the split, given that we spent “family” time together before but not much time one-on-one. (She doesn’t live with my ex, so we mostly only got together at holidays and such.)

I still feel kinda awkward with her, ‘cause she’s a teenager and I’m a dorky old person and I don’t always know what to talk to her about. I don’t have kids of my own, and most of the other young people in my life are either 18+ or, like, five. This no-longer-a-little-kid-but-not-quite-exactly-a-grownup hinterland is new to me. Is she too old for coloring books? Is she too young for novels with sex in them? (Turns out the answer to both questions is “no”, depending on the specifics of the coloring book and the novel.) I try to remember what I was like and into at that age, but that doesn’t really help either because a) she’s had a harder life than I did and she’s way more mature than I was at 12, and b) I was 12 twenty years ago; the world was different back then, even kid world. But we figure it out. She’s a big reader, so we mostly talk about books and YouTube and go swimming and make cupcakes and stuff.

Here’s the thing: Most of the adults in her life are not very tech savvy. Certainly, they’re not on Tumblr or whatever. She has a Facebook page that she shares with family and posts the kind of innocuous stuff you post where your grandparents can see it. And another Facebook that’s mostly just friends her age, me, and one of her aunts, where she posts somewhat more ranty teenager-type memes about how people who don’t like her for who she is can find other friends, etc.

And then there’s another space online where she talks to her Internet friends. And, like you do, she uses that space to talk about suicidal thoughts, self-injury, depression, feeling abandoned by her family, considering anorexia, the support she gets from her online community, etc. I don’t think the other adults in her life know about this space. And I don’t think it occurs to her that any of them might read it. I only stumbled across it because I happen to be more Internet-savvy than her grandparents…and I haven’t mentioned it to her.

So. I guess this is where that ultimate question of the relationship between privacy and safety gets personal. Honestly, I’m grateful that I didn’t find this site until after my ex and I had split up, because otherwise I think I would’ve felt much more torn about whether I should show it to her Dad. Even when we were together, one of the common points of tension between my ex and I was that I wanted to advocate for the kiddo more, but was always trying to strike a balance between doing that in ways that didn’t make my ex feel like I was criticizing their parenting, thus putting a strain on their relationship with me. Now that we’re split, I’m in the advantageous position of knowing exactly where my priorities lie. I still care about my ex a lot. But their daughter and my relationship with her comes first.

People, especially young people, use the Internet to communicate about and find support around things they don’t feel safe sharing with the people they know in “real life.” That’s one thing I do remember from being a teenager — and from talking to my friends online about depression, self-injury, feeling suicidal, anorexia, being angry at my family, and the like. This is all stuff I went through when I was her age, too, and I turned out alright. But there’s always the possibility that I wouldn’t have. I dunno. All I know is that if someone had tipped my parents off to the stuff I was sharing online at the time, I would have experienced that as a major betrayal.

It’s important to me not to violate what feels to her right now like a safe space. It’s also important to me that she’s actually safe. I’m trying to think and feel through the complexities of how to balance both those things in a way that’s respectful towards her, that’s respectful towards her relationship with her Dad, and that acknowledges how much they care about her and what a really good and loving parent they are, even if I do think they are inattentive and distracted from her life sometimes, and that also pays attention to the complicated custody situation she’s in with the people she currently lives with (who are not people I trust to treat her respectfully the way I trust her Dad.)

I dunno. I don’t know that I’m exactly looking for advice, although I’m open to it. I think I just…am dealing with a tough thing that I’m not exactly sure how to talk about to people in my “real life” without compromising her privacy, and so I decided to talk to my Internet friends for support. Like you do. :P

Okay, I really gotta go to work now.

Watch on thetechgets.tumblr.com
Tim Cook speaks up on Apple privacy in Charlie Rose interview

In the second part of Charlie Rose’s interview with Tim Cook, Tim Cook focused on the Apple’s stance on user privacy, with the exec saying that for Apple, the buyer isn’t the product. Cook also revealed some interesting details about Apple’s dealings with the NSA during the interview, which can be watched below.

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Watch on school-of-privacy.com
Edward Snowden’s Speech on Moment of Truth

From ‘About this guide’:

"This guide explains how the Data Protection Act (DPA) applies to journalism, advises on good practice, and clarifies the role of the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). It does not have any formal legal status and cannot set any new rules, but it will help those working in the media understand and comply with existing law in this area."

See also: Related blog post.

There are a few different issues that a criminal act like this brings up, but before I get into them it’s necessary to make one thing clear: If you deliberately seek out any of these images, you are directly participating in the violation not just of numerous women’s privacy but also of their bodies. These images - which I have not seen and which I will not look for - are intimate, private moments belonging only to the people who appear in them and who they have invited to see them. To have those moments stolen and broadcast to the world is an egregious act of psychic violence which constitutes a form of assault.


The people sharing these images are perpetuating an ongoing assault. The people gleefully looking at them are witnessing and enjoying an ongoing assault. When you have been asked by victims of a crime like this not to exacerbate the pain of that crime and you continue to do so anyway, you are consciously deciding that your enjoyment, your rights and perhaps even just your curiosity are more important than the safety and dignity of the people you’re exploiting. That out of the way, let’s get a few other things straight.

Don’t want nudes leaked? Just don’t put nudes on your computer/phone.

Don’t want your banking account hacked? Don’t use online banking.

Don’t want STD’s or pregnancy? Don’t have sex. Ever.

Don’t want to die? Don’t live.

  • Snowden:*leaks the scope and depth of the governments spying operation and flagrant violations of civil liberties*
  • Public:Who cares? If you have nothing to hide you have nothing to fear!
  • Donald Sterling:*has his private conversation leaked without his consent*
  • Public:OMG that white racist needs to lose his team! Racists have no right to privacy, and anyone that disagrees is a bigot!
  • JLaw, et al.:*nudes get leaked*
  • Public:This is an outrage! Where is their right to privacy!?! As always, men are to blame for perpetuating this kind of misogyny.

Cyborg Unplug

Plug in anti surveillance device that detects and stops potential data infringement in your workplace:

Cyborg Unplug is a wireless anti-surveillance system for the home and workplace. ‘Plug to Unplug’, it detects and kicks devices known to pose a risk to personal privacy from your local wireless network, breaking uploads and streams. Detected devices currently include: Google Glass, Dropcam, small drones/copters, wireless ‘spy’ microphones and various other network-dependent surveillance devices.

Cyborg Unplug comes hot on the heels of glasshole.sh, a script written by Julian Oliver to detect and disconnect Google’s Glass device from a locally owned and administered network. Following broad coverage in the press, the script struck a chord with countless people all over the world that felt either frustrated or threatened by the growing use and abuse of covert, camera-enabled computer technology.

Available to pre-order on 30th September

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