August 27, 2006

Stalking on the Internet

Since 2000 I have worked almost exclusively on line through a series of programs from Logic's Rocket to AIM, ichat, FTP, dot mac etc. These days it is possible to co-write, send files, produce sessions with isight etc.etc. in fact I would say it is fast becoming the norm.

All people on my "buddy list" are professionals - Idle chat isn't the name of the game (-: although occasional deep and meaningful discussions about the soul of the universe do help with song-writing . . (-:!

Recently i was stalked on the internet by someone who, because of her obsession with a male co-writing friend of mine, tricked me into a long drawn out series of "interviews" under the guise of writing a book. As time went on i realized it was turning into an unhealthy obsession, Every time i went on line a bubble would appear on my desktop It was as if she thought I was available 24/7 to answer any technical question or just to chat about "nothing". I would try my best to answer the flood of increasingly bizarre messages and if i didn't there would be indignant emails. Eventually i just had to ignore her which as i found out is the worst thing you can do to a self absorbed obsessive as, when her computer crashed, she accused me of hacking into it because of MY "infatuation" with my co-writer . . !!!!

Anyway the outcome of this bizarre episode was that I realized how easy it is to let people know your every move on line . .
So I decided to post some tips to prevent this kind of situation happening to you!!!

If your email is a dot mac or AOL prefix anyone, who knows that email address, can find out when you are on line by using ichat or AIM

SOLUTION: Go to ichat or AIM Prefs/Accounts/Security
Select your desired Privacy Level which will determine who can see you are on line and who can send you messages

If you are on MY SPACE anyone can see when you are on line
SOLUTION; Go to Account Settings/Privacy Settings
Select your desired privacy settings and hide the on line now icon (if desired)

IF all else fails you can BLOCK a user on AIM/ichat and BOUNCE emails from that user in dotmac

Wishing you many happy hours on line (-: