A newsletter reader wrote recently and asked a question that I think many people should think about. I replied to him in email but thought I would also share my answer here in the newsletter in case others have the same question.
My correspondent wrote:
I am relatively new to genealogy technology. Are there tips you can provide to ensure the security of personal information? Would building a family tree in software only my computer be more secure than syncing it to a webpage (like MyHeritage)? Is it a good idea to not include details (name, date and place of birth) for all living relatives and maybe back a generation or two? Thanks.
Great questions! However, I don’t have a simple answer. In fact, I can offer several answers and suggestions.
The various web sites have lots of options to control your privacy, except for Facebook, a web site designed to steal as much of your personal information as possible and then to resell that info. You do need to read about each site’s privacy policies before using it. However, most of today’s online services have excellent methods of protecting your personal privacy and your sensitive information.
Unfortunately, the computer on your desk and your laptop computer and tablet computer probably have no such controls. Neither does your “smartphone” which probably contains more personal information about you than does any other computing device you own.