The internet is public.

People seem to forget that.

They forget because sites have things called “privacy settings,” that sometimes work when programed effectively. But more often than not, users do not set these up correctly and then send off messages into the social media world that get them into trouble. They forget that messages can be emailed, texted and screenshotted. Those who have learned this the hard way, may be wary about posting their thoughts, feelings and ideas to social media or blogs in the future

However, the popular Whisper app claimed they had a solution. Whisper promised users could post things and remain completely anonymous. Anonymity and the internet? It sounded too good to be true, and yet it drew everyone’s attention. Sites like Buzzfeed partnered up with them. Journalistic outlets like The Washington Post used Whisper to quietly find sources for their articles.

All seemed well, until yesterday, The Guardian published an article claiming that Whisper was tracking their users–without their knowledge. The article also claims that Whisper then shares that information with third parties, including the government. The Guardian also noted that Whisper changed their Privacy Policy shortly after The Guardian’s article was published, prompting more scrutiny.

Whisper adamantly denied these allegations, telling the Guardian they “will regret it,” and promised to “debunk” all of the allegations very soon.

Whether or not, there is clarity in the next few days or weeks about Whisper’s protocol and the tracing of users, it feels like a good time to remind everyone that: The Internet Is Public. The internet is not your diary; it’s not you and your BFF gossiping over coffee; it’s not confidential. If you put anything on the internet–a post, a photo, a blog, an article, a thought, a feeling, ANYTHING–there is a way for someone to find it. Always remember that. So, yeah, maybe telling your deepest darkest secrets to the internet isn’t the best idea, if you never want anyone else to find out who you are or where you’re posting from.

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