privacy on Freenode IRC

Bart Silverstrim bsilver at
Tue May 29 12:06:10 UTC 2007

Patrick Frank wrote:
>> My suggestion is not to use IRC for anything, at all, ever
> It is not surprising to me, that a first reaction goes in the direction of
> something like "If you dont like it, dont use it". People use such lines
> if they dont want to deal with the facts of a person.
> I cant force anybody to take privacy related topics serious.
> But...
> Imagine a similar (fictive) example:
> To be able to use the LaunchPad website you have to register an
> account and give your phone number so your account can be enabled
> after a callback.
> Then you run into a conflict with a person. And the admin of the
> LaunchPad website reveals your phone number to exactly that person
> that you had a conflict with.
> You see? If you like Internet Relay Chat or not, the fictive example
> is about a similar situation with the same result:
> Private and sensible data is revealed.

The primary difference is the medium's immediacy of reaction.  In IRC 
it's easier to pester and cajole and react than reflect on the 
situation, as would normally be the case with email or bulletin boards. 
  IM and IRC are for the people who absolutely can't wait for an answer 
and MUST get it RIGHT AWAY or the whole world stops turning.  It's also 
a lot easier to get PO'd and start flaming rather than sit back and grab 
a snack and then have a reply that doesn't make you sound like an a$$hat.

Not that this *cures* your problem, but it can help.

The only way to "solve" your problem is to work with an organized system 
that holds people accountable for their professionalism.  I very much 
doubt you're going to find that in a free-for-all meritocracy-based 
group that develops for a distro of Linux, unless you want to start your 
own up and play babysitter to the developers.

I mean, what response did you want, really?  That rules would be passed 
about not divulging information?  Good luck.  Let anything loose on the 
Internet and see if you can fend off people who get some bug up their 
shorts.  The only way to even *try* to hide the info is to give a false 
profile or give contact info that is secondary to the one you're, for 
some reason or another, trying desperately to hide or info on someone 
who doesn't mind acting as a go-between for your messages.

Otherwise the people you handed your information to for the IRC group 
are people you don't know.  How did you come to trust them?  Why?

So the snarky "I'm not surprised" comment...really...what did you 
expect, that Ubuntu devs would suddenly create and always enforce a 
privacy policy because you want to participate without revealing any 
information like your phone number?  The best answer really is, if you 
don't like the repercussions, even possible repercussions, you can't use 
it.  It's a tradeoff.  All these years of problems we have had with ID 
thieves and privacy being being eroded and we still have users that 
reply to spam and aren't willing to use encryption.

Sorry if it sounds harsh, but frankly I don't see any way that your 
concerns would be addressed in this type of forum.  Or any forum that 
isn't policed by an organized company where the communications are policed.

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