My privacy, my choice – not anymore

Iinternet-privacyn previous blog posts we had our say on what we think about the Internet and some of the content on it. However, today we have to check what the Internet has to say about us which I think is even more interesting.

Some of you might think “What’s there on the Internet, is all the data I’ve consented to share myself.” But it’s not true. At least not for me.

Typing my name in Google using UK keyboard, there’s not much you can find about me. All the information shown – LinkedIn, Tweeter or profiles belong to a relative of mine who happens to bear the same name and surname as me.

However, when typing my name in Bulgarian I was surprised to find information for me disclosed which I never consented to share. For instance, the result of my driving licence test was there. (Thank God, I passed it.) I could also see the grades I’ve received in some competitions. My date of birth was right next to my grades. None of this I would like to be seen by random people or stalkers. But is it even my choice?!


It’s actually quite hard to find me on Facebook

If we weren’t to have any mutual friends, none of you would of been able to find me on Facebook. Searching my name on Facebook would of return over 100 results and over 67,000 results on Google – it’s sometimes quite useful having an extremely common name (and another times not, miraculously someone with the same name went to my sixth form and emails never got sent to the right person – nightmare!). Although the first person who added me on Facebook at uni had to use a permalink to find me, and whilst I don’t appear to be that visible online, there’s probably too much information about me online.

Whilst I’m very aware of my online prescience at this moment in time, when I first signed up for Facebook back in 2008, I wasn’t clued up at all about online safety and shared all sorts of rubbish on the lowest privacy setting. Every time I get a notification from Facebook’s ‘On This Day’, I cringe so hard at the rubbish I posted and tend to delete it or change the privacy setting to ‘Only Me’.

I’d like to think my information is under my control, my Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat are locked down, whereas my Twitter and Linkedin are not. The latter are not locked down because I purposely use these platforms to interact with the public. But at the end of the day, no matter how in control we think we are, someone can screenshot your content and re-upload it somewhere else for the entire world to see.

Online privacy? As if.

As cringe as this is, I have a very active social media presence.

When you google me, the first line is literally all me. (except for the small chinese woman far right)

The first and second are photos from the horribly embarrassing twitter account I created in 6th grade, the third is my friend, the forth and fifth is from my current twitter.

When you search on google, you can find my facebook profile which is pretty private, my soundcloud, instagram, and my university wordpress. After the lectures last week, its scary to see how visible I am from a simple search on Google. People can see me on Google based on profile photos that were posted years ago.Privacy settings on websites are becoming stricter, but its not possible to ever know how much a site knows about you. Through famous alclgarhytms sites can actually predict how we are feeling, doing, and what we are interested in.


I guess it really is true, what goes up on the internet never does come off.

Personal Space

Like most people here, when ‘googling’ myself a couple of images do crop up. This is unsurprising as I have a social media presence with accounts on; Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, WordPress etc.

However, I’ve always been rather cautious with my online activity. I suppose it’s just the type of person I am; I don’t like the idea of someone I don’t know having access to photos or information about me – whether it’s good or bad! This means that on Facebook, for example, most of my profile is set to ‘Friends only’ including profile pictures and I haven’t really given away anything too personal; such as my number or email, despite Facebook’s attempts to get me to update these. My Instagram is also set to private, allowing me to control who follows my profile and sees what I post. Therefore, nothing too harmful is escaping there.

Profile for blog

There’s a function that allows you to see what it’s like when the public looks at your profile and what information is available.

Despite this, I noticed that when Facebook brought in ‘cover photos’, privacy wasn’t applicable. From what I gather, they are automatically set to ‘public’ without an alternative option. For some, a cover photo isn’t necessarily of themselves so this wouldn’t matter but if you have friends or other people in those photos, then this becomes a bigger issue because it starts to affect them too.

It’s also evident that no matter how cautious you may be, if you want to interact with the technology of today and feel involved with the modern world, then to some extent you have to accept a loss of control over your privacy.

Catch me if you can…


When it comes to my online visibility, I am surprisingly impressed. Even my mum recently admitted to having a cheeky Google of my name (she claims it was for my own safety), only to be disappointed with the lack of juicy gossip or drunken selfies that popped up.

It has to be said though, if you search correctly, you could probably find a lot about me. Obviously, Facebook has the largest source of noteworthy information, but second to that I’d say my Instagram and Twitter have the most information about me. Although Instagram doesn’t have much textual information, the pictures are taken at locations local to me mainly, so if you want to find out where to find me ordering a caramel latte on a Friday afternoon…I also find that, although on Twitter I’m more aware of what I post, however, a lot of my friends don’t share that sensibility so it’d be easy as pie for you to check out their profiles and therefore, see what town I live in etc.

Most my account settings are on ‘public’ and in a way I feel this forces me to think carefully about what I post. As for ‘why?’, I don’t think anyone can come up with a worthy answer unless your profile is promoting a business of yours or something official. I think the idea of strangers sharing their lives online is rather exciting and in some cases can be a learning experience as you’re seeing how people similar to our age are living their lives in their end of the world. I think we’d all be lying if we said we haven’t made an ‘internet best friend’ or two in our lifetimes.

When it comes to the internet, I don’t think any of us are completely in control – your friends and family will often post images or information about you that you may not have consented to. Ultimately, it’s a good idea to use nicknames and alter-egos online to help prevent unwanted visitors following your life online, but however hard you try, I  bet that embarrassing photo of you taken in 2008 (or even earlier god forbid) will still come back to haunt you in 50 years time..


The one and only Étienne Fermie

My online presence isn’t remarkable. It is probably just the average for a guy my age. I have Facebook and Twitter, but no Instagram or Tumblr. I shouldn’t be that visible online surely?

But despite the perks of having a unique name, one of the pitfalls I suppose could be that I am easily found. I am, to my knowledge, the only Étienne Fermie on Earth. So if you’ve heard or seen something about an Étienne Fermie, it’s probably referring to me.

etienne fermie google

Above is the result of a google image search of my name. The first and third pictures that come up are of me. The second picture is a friend of mine. Below the picture of me looking very red is my mum wearing a grey beret. Also included is a book i’ve read and another couple of pictures that i’ve tweeted. All this within the first two rows.

A little Google web search and suddenly I seem famous. On the first page there is my twitter account, my Facebook account, my writer page, my Storify account, as well as a comment I made three years ago on

The perks of being the one and only.

What is online about me?

I remember at the start secondary school people went through a big phase of googling each other to see what came up, it was funny at the time when embarrassing pictures appeared onto Google images that were taken straight from Facebook. I tried to Google myself but nothing about me came up, I was relieved not to have embarrassing pictures of myself on Google but made me wonder why? Even now when I Google myself only flowers, places called ‘Balcombe’ and the colour Magenta appears not even my social media networks appear; the only thing I could find was the cover I made for a past project. I have three social networking profiles online which is Facebook, Instagram and YouTube.

megenta poppy shit

The reason why I made Facebook in the first place was to keep in contact with old friends and some family members as I don’t really speak to them in person, I used to share a lot of information to my friends when I first made Facebook like statues, photos and where I lived this was because I didn’t mind what people knew about me. I still have some information like the area where I live and some pictures on my Facebook today but I stopped posting statues unless I have to; I also try to make most of my posts private now because too many people were trying to add me that I didn’t know.

As for Instagram I regularly post photos of myself and some parts of my life because I like to share photos and memories, my Instagram is different from my Facebook because I  do not have it on private at all; this is because I don’t mind who sees my photos because they are just memories to me that I want to share. I have only had instagram for just over a year so there is no embarrassing photos or posts from when I was younger which is another reason why I don’t really mind who sees it.

I know that Google is forever sharing information around and selling it to other online advertisers even though I am not that visible online, like when i’m doing my online shopping I always get adds come up on my Facebook about the sites I had just been on. To be honest I don’t really mind what information is online about me apart from obviously bank details, my old address and phone number; I don’t really fancy people taking my money or having a weirdo stalking my house where my family live.