This Board is NOT Anonymous !!

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Posted by Privacy, Man! ( on June 26, 2001 at 01:30:13:

Although people can post a comment to the CH message board without providing their name or email address, the posts all contain the Internet IP address of the sender. For those of you who have cable/DSL, this may be a unique number that can link each and every post you make to your personal account.

There are a number of reasons that people might want confidentiality: 1) Your medical information is your business. If you want to share all details with millions of people on the internet, thats your choice. But people may be posting under a pseudonym, with the assumption that they are anonymous. Not always true here. And maybe not obvious to someone who knows little about computers.
2) Someone may abuse the information that you provide - there have been recent posts regarding cyberstalkers or harassers... potential employers, insurance companies, don't get me started.
3) Our government is not very permissive when it comes to some of the unorthodox treatments discussed here - ie, hallucinogens. Some people have have incriminated themselves; others may have made statements that get govt attention even though they have broken no laws.

PrivacyMan thinks this message board is a valuable, potentially lifesaving communication channel. But he also wants you to be aware of what is (and isn't) private on this board. Ideally, the IP numbers should be stripped out of all posts. If the webmaster wants to keep them in his log for some reason (to ward off spammers or other unsavory charachters) that might be ok, but there should be a privacy policy that spells out what information is being gathered, and what will be done with the information. Individuals may also want to use an anonymizing service, or if that is too complicated, just don't reveal any personal information that you would not publish in your local newspaper. There are several free and low cost anonymizing services that let you browse with out revealing who you are - I am not going to push one brand over another.

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