The Internet is a place where you never know who is on the opposite side The anonymity of Internet users is now being a controversial topic, as Andy Smith, head of internet security at the Cabinet Office, stated that according to him people should use only fake details – fake names, fake dates of birth, etc., in order to prevent them from cybercrime and unauthorised use of personal details. He said this will be a measure everyone must take, as otherwise your details “might be “used against you”.
At a conference in Whitehall, Mr. Smith suggested the idea of using fake detail on the Internet by saying it was a “very sensible thing to do”, when using sites other than the most trustworthy, such as government sites. He said: When you are putting information on social networking sites don’t put real combinations of information, because it can be used against you.”
“When you are interacting with government, or professional organisations – people who you know are going to protect your information – then obviously you are going to use the right stuff.”
On the one hand, Mr. Smith is completely right, however this statement provoked a very interesting discussion, as Labour MP and shadow culture minister Helen Goodman took the opposite position and called the advice given by Mr Smith to be “outrageous”.
She said for BBC that according to her Smith`s comments, at their very essence promote crime. “”It is exactly what we don’t want. We want more security online. It’s anonymity which facilitates cyber-bullying, the abuse of children.”I was genuinely shocked that a public official could say such a thing.”
In his defense Mr Smith said that nowadays fraudsters are gathering personal information from all sorts of places. These could be social networks such as Facebook and Twitter, online shops and many more. That`s why it is a good idea to provide fake details, otherwise the risk of personal details getting into the wrong hands, is too high/
Lord Erroll, chairman of the Digital Policy Alliance, supported Mr Smith`s advice and said that he has always entered 1 April 1900 as a date of birth. He commented on the Mrs Goodman critique by saying that her argument was not relevant as cyber bullying is a different issue and it should be dealt with great attention, where a variety of methods for uncovering bullies could be used.
Personal details are something, which should be kept secure in order to avoid any misuse or become a victim of “stolen identity”. Be careful not only on-line, but also off-line. Our legal documents can help you.