Break the Chain The Chat Room Walls Have Ears

Exclusive (11/5/2001) There's nothing like sudden tragedy and the threat of terrorism to make ages-old common sense finally appeal to some people.

SAMPLE CHAIN LETTER TEXT

TO ALL MEMBERS:

Please, with safety and concern for all of us, do not reveal any information such as where you are from, and if you had heard anything about the possibility of war via rumors, misinformation, heard it down the grapevine, etc. Do not tell anyone on message boards of your military spouses and friends going here or there or discuss preparations, etc.

Be wise and think about what you will say before you act/write!

Remember the famous saying during World War II: Loose lips sink ships!!!! Don't cause the lives of many if you talk!!!

In case if might not have heard, these terrorist are using chat rooms and small communities to pass information - and now collection information.

They join your sites and use your chatrooms to pass their information so the government cannot trace them.

SO DO NOT PUT INFORMATION OF YOUR LOCATION, FULL NAME OR ANY INFORMATION SOMEONE TOLD YOU ABOUT THIS SITUATION ON THE BOARDS.

Please copy these instructions and post them on your sites!!! DELETE any message that contains information that could be used against you, your family or our countries.

END CHAIN LETTER TEXT

The advice is good, though the motivation behind it is ludicrous. The thought that authorities can't monitor chat room traffic is absurd. They can, have and often do when criminal intent is suspected.

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But this letter implies that unscrupulous individuals lurking in the shadows of a chat room are a new thing and that they're all terrorists. Personal information theft has been happening for years. Folks have been using chat rooms and other web resources to farm e-mail addresses for spamming and other information for fraud or stalking. The contention that terrorists are now using chat rooms to spy on us and learn military secrets is feasible, but totally unsubstantiated.

It has never been wise to reveal personal information in a public forum. It's a shame that it took a tragedy of the scope of September 11 and a letter full of misinformation to make people paranoid enough to listen to the warnings the experts have been issuing for years. Break this Chain.

What Do You Think?


References: None

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