Sunday, April 29, 2012

Hiding in plain sight

This post is going to be about protecting your privacy but still making a public blog.  I'm still dealing with my injured eye and it causes too much eye strain to be on the computer more than brief periods.  So I'm not going to upload the pictures I'd planned to put on this post, at least not until my eye heals. 

I'm going to just type with my eyes closed and hopefully remember everything I wanted to write!  Some of you may wonder what this has to do with Poverty Prepping.  We can all learn from each other, and if someone is working at prepping or anything related to low-income/poverty prepping or self-sufficiency, it could be of interest to us.  Anyone is welcome to submit posts for this blog (not just comments, but actual posts), but for those who have a lot planned or want to start a blog to share with other family and friends, this information might help them.

If your blog would be of interest to our readers, I'll post a link as a "sticky" up to the right where I have Pam's blog link posted, so others can view your blog as well.

Reader Tiff commented that she'd like to make a blog about their projects as they work toward their goals.  I love blogs like that!  I search for them on the internet!  I like to read about their projects and adventures, and see pictures of their progress... or of so-and-so when they accidently fell into the mud, or whatever!  :)

She was, however, concerned about security, about the privacy of herself and her family.  That's a valid concern.  There are ways to write a blog and include pictures, and not give away who or where you are.

You're probably thinking "that's pretty obvious"!  There's some no-brainer things like don't put your last name in the blog, don't mention your town, etc. 

You can also be careful about posting pictures that show someone's full face!  It's possible to show people from behind or side-views as they do things, or wearing sunglasses if they're outdoors.  Pictures of just hands and arms while something is being done or built are good pictures. 

Don't post a picture showing your whole house, especially from the direction of the street.  Make sure your pictures only have partial views of, say, a porch or window, and try to take your pictures from the other sides. 

Watch your backgrounds!  Make sure there isn't anything identifiable in the background like famous landmarks (not that many of us live by one!), street signs, the front of the house across the street, and even vehicle license plates!  The state and sometimes also the county are revealed on license plates, and if the number is visible it might be possible to track you down through that.  If your picture must include a view that shows a license plate, you can use a paint program on your computer to smudge it out, or take the time to cover or remove the plate from the vehicle.

Be careful about t-shirts that have your local high school sports team or other identifiable name on it.  Probably no one would be that extreme about trying to find you that way.  You might think that's pretty far-fetched, and it would be if we're talking pro-sports or similiar things, but things like high school sports team logos are pretty much a local thing.

If they can track you to your town, they could start looking around and spot other things that could lead them to you.  Again, it's a remote possibility, but one to keep in the back of your mind.

Of course, you most likely don't want to reveal your last name on the blog, but you can go farther and use whatever family nicknames you might have.  Or make some up.  The way the internet works nowdays, clustering your family's first names on one blog could be enough for someone to identify your family when it cross-matches things like utility records or Facebook Friends lists.

I'm not trying to make you paranoid, but if privacy and security is a concern for you, and you want to have an online blog, some of this might make sense for you.  I had other ideas, and if I remember them, I'll come back on here and include them.  I'll also post the pictures I was going to use for examples.  I uploaded them a few days ago, then my computer froze up and I waited half an hour, then had to disconnect and reboot the computer... and the pictures were gone!  I wasn't up to reloading the pictures!  Funny how having a 'foggy' eye can also cause brain-fog!  Hopefully this post is coherent!


  1. I weighed my options for security versus having a blog. I try really hard not to post my children's names on my blog or FB. In the 4 years I have had a blog I have only had one person that kind of made me nervous....lived within driving distance and made a comment about my kids. Could be friendly OR just never know. So I ignored it and thankfully I have had no problems.
    My REAL concern...or at least real to that I have shared on my personal blog (and FB) a lot of what I do around my canning, animals, garden, ect. Well when TSHTF I can guarantee all those family and 'friends' that hardly talk to me in real life and look at me like I have two heads because we have goats are going to remember that my family has chickens= eggs, goats= fresh milk, garden= food when they are starving because they choose not to prepare!
    I have decided that I would rather share with them what I am doing to encourage them in hopes that they will do it for themselves and if TS really does HTF then I will just have to cross that bridge when it does.

  2. I recall reading that it is best to not post cell phone pictures, as they leave some sort of location/position signature, that can be traced to the area the picture was taken at. So, it may be wise to use an actual camera, instead of a cell phone or ipad. I'm not sure if that is true, but it seems good advice.

    1. Can regular people do this, or just the government?

      Scary thought either way.


  3. People who get scared of "they" have a rotten life... Fear should never lead your way.

    1. I think some measures of security are wise, since not all people are up to 'good'. But I agree, fear should not be the dominant feeling in our lives.