Easy steps toward protecting online privacy

FB Birthday GreetingsHere is some really useful advice from Forbes on protecting your privacy online (see link below this post).

To this list I would add, “Lie about your date of birth.”

DISCLAIMER: USE YOUR JUDGEMENT!  Obviously, there are times when you should NOT lie about your D.O.B.  For instance, when you are applying for a line of credit, a job, or a driver’s license, don’t lie. When you are paying taxes, don’t lie. These are instances whereby there are valid reasons to provide your real, personally-identifying information. It actually protects you to do so, in some cases.

However, there is no good reason why Facebook or Gmail or your knitting forum needs your true D.O.B., other than verifying that you are old enough to be there (the year takes care of that). Oh, and they want to look you up in some “big data” marketing information vat, and target demographically-appropriate ads at you. It can be a little spooky to be on the receiving end of that.

So, if you don’t give your own D.O.B., whose should you give? You might pick a celebrity – someone whom you admire, and with whom you would be honored to share a birthday. Then you could use their month and date, but your own year.  Or, their year, if they are younger 😉

A word of caution – you may stumble to the computer one random, not-your-birthday morning, bleary-eyed, coffee mug in hand, only to find a hundred and seventy two out-of-the-blue heartfelt wishes for a “Happy Birthday!” posted to your Facebook wall. There may even be a few, “But, I thought your birthday wasn’t until…” posts from those who know better. This, it seems, is the price of D.O.B. privacy.

Just go with it.

10 Incredibly Simple Things You Can Do To Protect Your Privacy – Forbes.

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