We often think that most people today understand the dangers and pitfalls of living in a networked world. Students in primary and secondary schools get drilled on safe computing. Mainstream media is ripe with tales of caution and woe. Nonetheless, people continue to do foolish things online, sometimes under a misguided veil of anonymity.
When you are connected to the internet, you are riding on someone’s network and bound by their rules of use. You sign off on those rules, whether you read them or not. Your computer or device is registered. No one really cares what you do until you cross the line. Then, if needed, your actions and behavior can be traced.
Downloading and sharing copyrighted music and movies makes you a target. Students in residence who are identified by the music and movie industry may lose network privileges until they stop.
Some think that when web sites allow for anonymous comments, they can let loose with comments that are disparaging, derogatory or defamatory. If over the line, however, and words are determined to be libelous or threatening, that veil of anonymity can be tracked right back to your computer or internet account.
Be careful what you do and say online. And don’t kid yourself. The value of privacy is not guaranteed. Nor does it protect you from doing illegal or stupid things.