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By 9 April 2014 | Categories: news

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In these information rich times, Deep Fried Man believes being average is the easiest way to protect your privacy.

WhatsApp has been a busy little messaging service. Last month I wrote about Facebook buying it for $19 billion. Now,  WhatsApp has emerged as a star witness in the Oscar Pistorius trial. Not bad for a service best known for being used by young people to commit grave crimes against the English language accompanied by at least ten emoticons per message.

It seems that anything you do or say on WhatsApp, or via SMS, or even on BBM if you’re unfortunate enough to own a BlackBerry, can and will be used against you in a court of law. And it’s not only Oscar’s private messages to Reeva that are now public knowledge, it’s his cellphone’s internet browser history as well, which proves that, like most men, Oscar surfs the web for porn. Unlike most men, he isn’t very good at covering his tracks afterwards.

Too much, too little

The use of these messages as evidence has also led to the inevitable posturing by guys, who say things like “I’m never using WhatsApp again,” or “This trial is going to inspire all of us to delete our browser histories.” These gents are somehow managing to think too much, and too little, of themselves at the same time.

They are thinking too much of themselves because they are assuming that the world is as interested in them as they are in a famous athlete once seen as a global hero, and I can assure them that they are not. They are thinking too little of themselves because the only time their messages will ever be used in a court of law is if they do something horribly wrong. Just don’t kill your girlfriend and you should be fine.


But the NSA…

I had a similar reaction when ordinary people were all up in arms about the NSA spying on people’s emails with Obama’s permission. Is it wrong for them to do this? Yes. But is Barry Obama sitting in the oval office chuckling at the embarrassing messages you sent to your girlfriend apologising for your failure to sexually perform the previous night and explaining that it has never happened before? I think not.

The only conclusion that one can logically draw from all of this is that by far the best way to protect your privacy is to be as average as humanly possible. Very successful people are interesting, as are total losers, but by being utterly dull, normal and unremarkable you are doing exactly what it takes to ensure that no-one in their right mind would have even the slightest interest in your private life.

Sure, we live in a day and age in which governments could spy on your private messages if they wanted to. But, dear reader, take solace in the fact that if you are as average as most of us are, they probably don’t.

Photo courtesy of GA Goodman
Article first appearead in TechSmart April 2014

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