I’ve said it before, and I’m saying it again. Nothing on the internet is temporary, and nothing is private.

And yet people really do seem to expect things that they say on social networks, such as Facebook, to remain private. There have been articles after articles on people complaining that they have been skipped over for promotions, not been offered a new job or even lost their jobs due to things they have said online. And yet they wonder why?

Facebook is a great example. Back in the day, when they obviously had not thought about any privacy concerns, everything was open. Things improved after complaints, and the media spotlight was brought to bear, and information became restricted to friends of friends only. Now you can actively control where your information goes (well, more or less) – and there are warnings when you add applications that it will have access to your information. And yet people still add them, and even the rogue data collection spam ones too. Why? Is it the social network’s fault? Or is it user education? Or is it both? Or even, something else entirely?

I get tired of trying to tell people that what they post on the internet will not disappear (for example, my very first company died out a long time ago … and yet the Way Back machine can STILL dig up the website cache for you to view!). You delete things on Facebook, and you think they are gone. Then just go and try their “download user data” option and check it out. Nope, your information is still there. All those messages that you thought were deleted … are there. Hope you didn’t say anything incriminating!

I’m not advocating a police state style managed internet, but I’m advocating user education – and sensible web app construction. Privacy and Security should NOT be an after thought, but should be deeply ingrained in your design and architecture.

And people really do need to stand up and take any aftermath of things they say. Free speech is still alive yes, however, remember to put your brain into gear before you mouth. There are too many people out there that can probably read your social network page, blog or newsgroup posting to just rant off about something – especially if it’s something about a company or person that you would not want to say to their face!

And, please people, stop adding those damn rogue apps on Facebook. They drive me nuts.

If only users would actually read some of the articles on security blogs, such as Naked Security by Sophos, we might have a slightly safer digital world. But then again, that would assume that people actually understand their personal digital security …

There has to be a better solution to this. Maybe Apple have the right idea with their App Store after all – trying to prevent rogue app introduction by vetting every submission …