The Case of ID - and why this blog doesn't have my name

Since I write such personal things on my blog, and if you know who it is anyway, and most of my readers do, why do I keep it semi-private? Why do I use only initials when I describe someone - lately I've started calling my dog by his full name, but he doesn't have a social*security*number (although he has a police record!) - but otherwise if I ever refer to you or someone else I know, unless they are a politician or a member of the education community, you get an initial or two. That's it.

A former colleague of mine has recently changed jobs and is now the Webmaster for a city of approximately 120,000 people. She has spruced up their online profile and updated it in several important ways, including creating a Facebook profile.

In her free time she is also very active on the net - with both a large presence on Facebook and a blog. In the summer she and her husband travel all over Europe in their RV and blog about their adventures. This summer I was especially jealous of their wine tasting....

The city has an ongoing case with a citizen regarding a specializes housing subsidy that is available for low-income residents. This program requires that inhabitants help to build their own house. (Not completely by themselves, of course). Apparently - and I haven't followed this at all - a handicapped man was found ineligible for this program, I presume because either a) he can't do the required work, and the point is you do it yourself or b) he is eligible for other kinds of subsidies only for the handicapped. I cannot say for sure and every article I've read says that the city cannot comment on an on-going issue, which is how I think it should be handled. Nonetheless, there have been various forms of protest on behalf of this man. Again, I have no idea how serious they have been.

But someone who is supposedly acting on behalf of this handicapped man went a little coo-coo and took his protest too far. He went online and complained. Then when ID (my webmaster-friend's initials) said she would sensor him, he called her something that could be roughly translated as "old bitch" (or just "old lady" (it's in children's music), but I've also heard it used as "bitch" too) and found personal information on ID: her cell phone number, her e-mail, her home phone number, her address, what she made last year, how much savings she has and how much taxes she paid and published it on the Facebook page for the city she works for (the one she administers), and he told people to contact her to lodge a complaint about this man's denial of public build-it-yourself housing.

ID has been in both of the two local papers regarding this breech of internet etiquette.

There are crazy people out there. People who wish you harm or can harm you without wishing to. Take two minutes and check yourself. Google yourself. What do you find? Are you on social media then double check what others have access too. (For example I don't have my cell phone number and my e-mail isn't my everyday e-mail but a hotmail account I started specifically to give to stores, etc. Even the e-mail linked with this blog isn't my private e-mail). A hasty check just showed that if you put my full name in, you get my party affiliation and a link to a private investigator company to give more information. The "teaser" information on the "click here for more" (for only $29.95 apparently you get it all) includes the street I live on and the first 3 digits of my phone number. You also see that I was manager for a project from nearly 10 years ago....that e-mail was deactivated 7 years ago. Good luck trying to find me there!

There is etiquette in the online world, folks. And like with other laws not everyone will follow them. Some get stupid and get caught. Others don't. Just like in "real life".

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