Let’s Be Careful Out There

A couple of days ago I posted on here, below, which had a poll in it.

Fair enough, it was a bit of nonsense, and only one person other than myself decided to vote (the opposite way to me, as it goes. It generally seems a bit weird to like my own posts – of course I bloody like it, otherwise it’d never have gone live! – but I have no problem voting in my own polls).

The post, fair enough, expressed my view, but I also used it as an opportunity to see how polls worked, in case I want to use them in the future. If you read the post, then you’ll have seen that I got that working fine, and that the resulrs, such as they are, did all appear by magic.

But I did find something quite sinister, so it is worth reading on.

I went to crowdsignal.com. I didn’t check, but from the look and feel, it seemed exactly like a WordPress site. It even accepted my WordPress credentials to log in. I went onto this site, created my free account, and created my poll.

In the process, I saw that CrowdSignal also offered a premium account. Paid-for, of course. First question: what’s the difference?

I saw that if I bought a premium account, one of the things it would buy me is the IP address of every voter. Now, whether we realise it or not, we all have an IP address. Every time we connect to the internet, our ISP hands us an IP address as part of the login process. If somebody views dodgy content on the internet, this is how the authorities will get them. It’ll require court orders and the like if the authorities want your ISP to divulge your identity, but the data trail is there, if anybody bothers to look for it.

So, the IP address basically identifies who we are. Not our names, but our computer. How far it goes, beyond that, will depend. But the buck doesn’t necessarily stop there.

So I guess what I am saying is just to be careful if you respond to one of these polls – they’re not necessarily as anonymous as you might think.

Mister Bump

As I was browsing through my reader this morning, I saw a post from CARAMEL. In her post, she refers to Valentine’s Day.

Now, I’ve been married almost 21 years. In fact our anniversary is next month. See? I do remember it! That’s probably not long in comparison to a lot of you, but plenty long enough to have decided whether she’s a good’un or not*.

* most of the time 🙂

On the subject of Valentine’s Day, we both agree that we can’t be bothered. As with many festivals, it just seems like an excuse for somebody to try and sell us something. Wrap something in a pretty bow, claim it is for Valentine’s, then double the price. And, it’s probably something we never wanted in the first place!

But in saying that, I’m aware that I am the original Ebenezer Scrooge! (Okay, maybe not quite the original 🙂)…

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Author: Mister Bump UK

Designed/developed large IT systems, interrupted by a stroke in 2016, aged 48. Now mix development of health-related software with voluntary work and writing. Married, with an estranged daughter.

20 thoughts on “Let’s Be Careful Out There”

    1. Yeah there has to be an element of behaving responsibility, otherwise we will not use the technology at all. I have one of those Google hubs – in my particular situation it can do useful things like turn my light on and off, saving me the trouble. But there is an element of worrying how much it is spying in the process. There are all sorts of areas where I need to compromise.

      Liked by 1 person

        1. I am reassured that the government (any government) is not intelligent enough to process this data.
          Google, however, I’m not so sure. You’d think it would be difficult to keep ita secret, but Apple kept the secret that they were slowing down old phones secret for years, although of course there was speculation.

          Liked by 1 person

  1. What!?! It saves my IP address? How is that not illegal, doing that without disclosing it. I don’t like that at all! The internet is such a weird place, it offers an illusion of a small and safe place but it is huge, you don’t know who you run into and most of the time we’re (I) aren’t aware what information we’re providing.
    The problem is that for a lot of the services you need a login, like for WP for instance.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. The Internet, unfortunately, needs ip address just to work. Even when you send a request out to load a page with, say, news headlines on it. Otherwise it doesn’t know who to send the headlines to. But it only needs your ip address for the fraction of a second it takes to serve your request back to you. Except these people obviously store it somewhere to sell to subscribers.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I think it is a good thing that ‘they’ can trace you, in case of illegal activities but I don’t want compagnies sending me adds for this and that. It is just way too common these days. So I was in an illusion to think that I had more anonymity on the web. On the other hand, I comment here every day about my life.
        I didn’t think that even a poll could be suspicious, thank you for the information!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. That kind of behaviour is probably far more commonly done with cookies. So maybe you should think about disabling them as a first step? But…cookies are how a lot of sites give you a seamless experience, e.g. a web site remembers that it is you, as you browse the site from page to page. So you can’t really win. I use Firefox and have an add-on called “Facebook Container”, which disables any links to Facebook on any particular page. I mention Facebook because I think they are one of the worst offenders for throwing ads at us. But I guess a lot of these big internet giants behave like that – I would if my primary aim was $.

          Liked by 1 person

          1. Incidentally, if you’re in the EU, then the Data Protection regs of 2018 (in the UK they are known as the GDPR but I’m not sure about BE) say that a company should only hold data on you for as long as is necessary to “fulfil” its transaction with you. You have a right to be forgotten once that “transaction” is complete. You could argue that the “transaction” is the serving of a web page, but
            (a) a company would be capturing your IP address, not your identity, so they would probably claim it is not “you”; and
            (b) it does not apply to a server outside of the EU, in any case.
            I bet crowd signal are a US bunch.


          2. Cookies that is something else, with every new website I need to allow them or not or partially. I have no idea what I’m doing most of the time! I do use an adblocker and I don’t use facebook anymore, they already know what they needed to know I guess. I don’t like that site at all. In the beginning I thought that my ‘wall’ was going to let me see what I’ve wanted to see but those days are far behind us, so there is no need for me to check my ‘wall’. The reader on WP is better, it displays the blogs I follow, so that’s something.

            Liked by 1 person

            1. Yes I am also not a fan of Facebook. Mainly I rejected its rudeness. I feel that because it is free, anybody can and does sign up, then they start hurling abuse at people. WP is better if only because it makes people subscribe, so they have to be willing to part with some cash before they jump on board. Beecause of that, people tend to be more thoughtful. I have family in Australia so FB is useful to keeep in touch with them, but that’s about it. PMs only.

              Liked by 1 person

              1. I guess with FB everything goes for the money. But as for WP, my plan is free!
                I think it is nicer because you actually need to put some effort in, you need to write something (I know that not every one does that but the majority does I think) or read posts. It’s more ‘expensive’ in terms of effort and time. It’s just my guess, I don’t know it all of course. I also think that blogging in itself doesn’t interest all people, so at the very start there is a big selection.

                Liked by 1 person

  2. I have been so so tired, I forgot to post a comment at the end of your post the other day.
    I wasn’t interested in plugging VD, just plugging my book 🙂 Apparently once you publish a book, you are supposed to remind people that it exists!

    I have never bothered about it. I have received cards and flowers, but I prefer them come at times when they are a genuine surprise. I don’t like what this commercial world does to people, making them feel obliged to send expensive red roses or other gifts. Neither do I feel comfortable with the origins of a lot of holidays.

    But I do like romance. Real love that endures through thick and thin is more important though. I am currently in a relationship with someone who I had a seriously rocky patch with. Tokens like flowers and chocolates are useless for us. We have needed to work on trust and kindly reassuring each other. That’s a daily effort, not a one day a year thing.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. So tonight I nipped into M&S to pick up some goats butter and parsnips.
        They were removing all the VD chocolates and replacing them with Easter eggs.
        Every shop I passed were taking down their hearts this evening. Then I walked home and of course all the restaurants still have their hearts up and there seem to be plenty of couples sitting at tables.
        I have to spend my evening doing training for a job that I am planning to leave in a couple of months. Sigh!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. I am a little confused, though. I followed the links to Amazon and I wasn’t sure whether I was looking at two of your books, not one. Do they just allow you to self-publish? You’ll have to tell us about the process one day.


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