Increase your Internet Awareness

We will come straight to the point: 'absolute security' does not exist, so to pursue this therefore doesn’t make sense.
This applies to all of us during our (daily) life. We can (so to speak) clothe ourselves in space suits in order not to become infected with viruses and bacteria, socially isolate (no longer see family and friends) because of fear for diseases and accidents, only eat 'healthy' food, compel others to take the same precautions and hold them responsible for our health, life and/or death.
Then, after showering, to be stung by a bee which causes an allergic reaction that is fatal.

The above example outlines the 'illusion of security' and is therefore, to a certain extent, false security. To a certain extent because consuming healthy food is a prerequisite for staying alive and possibly reaching an advanced age. The other measures described are disproportionate and cause an inhuman and undesirable condition.

The tragedy of life is not death…but what we let die inside of us while we live’
~Norman Cousins~

There will always be factors that can penetrate our safety measures or even shut down the entire (security) system. In our example, within the security of computers and networks, this disruptive factor or the weakest link is (almost) always human. This means that by (wrong) acting or non-acting, a security vulnerability or breach can occur with all its (bad) consequences. One of the classic examples is the yellow post-it note on the computer with all passwords.

So, security is always relative and man is the weakest link. That is why it is crucial that people are aware of their actions and motivation to do or refrain from doing certain things. This could be defined as 'Internet Awareness'.
Nowadays, a wealth of information is shared via email, social media and file transfer programs, which makes information sharing a lot faster but also poses a number of dangers. By means of a 'Sharing Online information Protocol' (SOP) developed by us related to an example, we want to emphasize the importance of this awareness and give you a practical tool to protect yourself and your loved ones online.

SOP

- What kind of information do I want to share online?

* a document;
* a text;
* a photo;
* a chatmessage;
* an URL

* confidential information;
* semi-confidential information;
* non-confidential information;

- Who is going to share the information online? With whom am I going to share the information online?

* I'am going to share the information;
* I'am going to share the information for someone else (e.g. your child or one of your parents);
* I want to share the information with another person;
* I want to share the information with more than one person (group);
* I want to share the information with a large group of people;
* I want to share the information with the whole world;

- Where do I want to share the information online? (location)

* I want to share the information from home;
* I want to share the information from my workplace (e.g. office);
* I want to share the information while traveling (e.g. car, public transport, airplane);
* I want to share the information from a public place (e.g. library, restaurant);

- When do I want to share the information online? (time)

* I want to share the information immediately;
* I want to share the information in a few hours;
* I want to share the information within a couple of days;
* I want to share the information at a time to be determined;
* I don't know (yet) when I want to share the information;

- Why do I want to share this information online? (motivation)

* I want to share the information in order to inform others or draw their attention to something;
* I want to share the information to make my feelings known (anger, sadness, joy, pride);
* I want to share the information to make/maintain contact with someone;
* I want to share the information to harm another person (this is never a good motivation, besides that it is punishable!);
* I don't know why I want to share this information online;

- With what (how) do I want to share this information online?

* I want to share the information from my desktop/laptop;
* I want to share the information from my tablet;
* I want to share the information from my cell phone;

* I want to share the information via my email account (e.g. Gmail, Outlook, Protonmail);
* I want to share the information via a chatapp (e.g. Whatsapp, Telegram, Kik);
* I want to share the information via social media (e.g. Facebook, Instagram, Tik-Tok);
* I want to share the information via a dating site (e.g. Tinder, Badoo, Happn);
* I want to share the information via a file-transfer program (e.g. WeTransfer, Tresorit Send);

- Which reason do I have to share this information online?

* I want to share this information because I like to be or stay 'in the picture';
* I want to share this information because I have agreed that (with someone) or want to reply to the shared information of other person(s);
* I want to share this information in response to a certain emotion (e.g. anger, sadness, joy);
* I want to share this information based on feelings of revenge (be very careful with this, you can cause irreparable damage to the other party but also to yourself. In addition, you can be criminally prosecuted for this;

Then ask yourself the following questions:

- Is it allowed to share the information online?
- Do I know what happens to the information that I share online?
- Is it necessary and/or wise to share the information online?
- Do I potentially endanger the privacy of myself and/or others when I share the information online?
- Do I harm myself and/or another person(s) when I share the information online?
- Is the device or platform I want to use the right one for the information I want to share online?
- Are there other (offline) ways to share the information?
- Does the information need to be shared online as soon as possible or can it wait until a later moment?

In our example the SOP is filled in by a 33 year old lady named Sandra Cas. She is married to John Cas and mother of three children; two boys and a girl (Ferenc, Jovano and Liberty). Here are her answers with, where applicable, our feedback below.

- What kind of information do I want to share online?
* I want to share a photo of my daughter celebrating her 18-year anniversary (yesterday);

- Who is going to share the information online? With whom am I going to share the information online?
* I'm going to share the photo with family members and friends (large group of people);

- Where do I want to share the information online?
* I want to share the photo of my daughter from the train;

- When do I want to share this information online?
* I want to share the photo of my daughter on the train on my way to work;

The fact that you want to share the photo right away is understandable, but you can ask yourself to what extent it is serious to wait a few hours so that you have a more suitable moment.

- Why do I want to share this information online?
* I want to share the photo of my daughter to inform others, including those who couldn't attend her birthday and to express my joy and pride;

- With what (how) do I want to share this information online?
* I want to share the photo on my public Facebook profile from my cell phone (Android) while I'm connected to the wifi of the NS;

This is the least sensible choice, it is not smart to connect your device, in this case your Android phone, to a public wifi network. There is a good chance that your phone is not connected to the network of the NS, but with a network of an attacker that can access your device and all the data it contains, including your daughter's picture. If you want to connect to a public wifi network, do so while you are connected to a VPN (virtual private network) but do not upload or download anything.

- Which reason do I have to share this information online?
* I want to share the photo because I agreed so with my family and friends and I am proud of my daughter, I want to make that feeling known;

Sandra answered the additional questions as follows:

- Is it allowed to share the information online?
* yes, it is allowed to share the photo of my daughter online, didn't I take it myself?

Yes, you took the photo yourself and therefore you are the one who owns, in this case, the so-called copyright which is regulated under copyright law and the definition (Article 25.1) that reads as follows:
‘Copyright is the exclusive and assignable legal right, given to the originator for a fixed number of years, to print, publish, perform, film, or record literary, artistic, or musical material.’

In short, this means that you have the right to publish the photo and share it with other (multiple) persons because you are the one that took the photo. But please do consider if you also have permission from your daughter to share the photo, in this case, since she is of age, the so-called portrait right. This right is part of the Copyright Act article 21 and reads as follows:
‘If a portrait has been made without a commission to that effect, given by or on behalf of the person depicted, or for his or her benefit, then its publication by that person, who is entitled to the copyright, is not permitted for as far as a reasonable interest of the person portrayed or, after his or her death, of one of his or her next of kin, opposes its publication.’

In everyday English, this means that the person whose photo was taken, without him having ordered to do so, (as in this case a photo taken at a birthday party) has the right to oppose its publication if he has a reasonable interest in doing so. The above also means that if your daughter feels her right is affected, she could even go to court

However, you can reasonably wonder whether it is desirable to publish photos of your daughter online without her permission.
Would you like that when it comes to your photo? Is it nice for your daughter to be confronted with pictures of herself online in the future? In addition to the portrait right, she could also invoke the fundamental right to privacy and the protection of private life, article 10 of the Dutch Constitution, which reads as follows:
1. Everyone has the right of respect for his privacy, subject to restrictions to be imposed by or pursuant to the law.
2. The law lays down rules for the protection of privacy in connection with the recording and provision of personal data.
3. The law lays down rules concerning the claims of persons taking cognisance about their recorded data and the use made of such data, as well as to the correction of such data.

The fact that you have taken the photo and you therefore reserve the right to publish it online does not detract from the fact that this choice can have unpleasant consequences for your daughter. Now or in the future.
Please note: in this case it concerns a photo, but also be aware of all (personal) written information that you share online (about others).

There is another right, which is part of the Copyright Act, this is the so-called right of use.
This right means that, in case of publication by others (third parties), both the creator of the photo (the author) and the person depicted in the photo (the person portrayed) must be asked for permission for publication.
The right of use is therefore in fact a kind of license right.

- Do I know what happens to the information that I share online?
* yes, the photo will only appear on my Facebook profile and on the timeline of my (Facebook) friends, including my family members;

You say you know very well what happens to your daughter's picture when you share it on Facebook; in your view it will only appear on your profile and the timelines of your (Facebook) friends and family. In theory this is so, but unfortunately the practice is different. First of all, you use a public Facebook profile, which means that THE WHOLE WORLD can look at your daughter's picture, not just your (Facebook) friends and family. Realize that there are persons and/or groups among them with (very) malicious intentions. In addition, and many people are not aware of this, the right of use (as mentioned before) of the photo lies with Facebook. In other words: Facebook can and may do whatever it wants with your daughter's photo. They do not have to ask you for permission to publish the photo, share it with third parties and/or other processing purposes. This of course also applies to all other (written) information that you share on Facebook. Powerfully summarized: 'everything you share on Facebook is owned by Facebook and your rights expire'.
This also applies to most other social media platforms, keep this in mind!

- Is it necessary and/or wise to share the information online?
* yes, I have promised my family and friends to share the photo(s) with them and I see no immediate danger;

- Do I potentially endanger the privacy of myself and/or others when I share the information online?
* no, I am not endangering the privacy of myself because it is a picture of my daughter. I am not endangering her privacy because she is neatly dressed in a nice party dress in the picture;

Despite the fact that your daughter is neatly dressed in the photo, you do endanger both your own privacy and that of your daughter. See the text above regarding Facebook policy (and that of most other social media platforms) and our remark about potential malicious actors.

- Is the device or platform I want to use the right one for the information I want to share online?
* yes, via Facebook all my family members and friends can view the photo;

From your point of view, it is understandable that you consider Facebook to be the right platform to share the photo because that is where all your friends and family are gathered. From a security point of view, it would be wiser to share the photo via (well encrypted) email or a file upload service.

- Are there other (offline) ways to share the information?
* yes, by email or by showing the photo to all my family and friends from my phone;

In this case, opt for (well encrypted) e-mail and when you want to be completely safe, show the photo from your phone (face to face). Be careful when saving photos on your phone, it is advisable to limit the number and/or remove them and put them on an external hard disk and/or usb stick that you keep safe somewhere. Unlike what many people think or are taught, uploading to the cloud (e.g. Google drive) is not that safe at all.

- Does the information need to be shared online as soon as possible or can it wait until a later moment?
* yes, the photo should be shared as soon as possible because it was my daughter's birthday yesterday, now it's still fresh and I can't wait to show her in her beautiful party dress!

It is understandable that you would like to share your daughter's photo as soon as possible, but there is nothing wrong with waiting until a later moment. People often don't realize that others are much less concerned with you, your children and/or your activities and (in this case) viewing your daughter's photo has little or no urgency for them.

With this blogpost we have tried to improve your Internet Awareness.
The SOP can be downloaded for free via the link below. Feel free to share it to create a greater Global Internet Awareness together!

Download SOP

©Hermes Recherche 2020