Idiot Rob and his broadcast receipts

Food 18th

I’ve got lots more like these…

Today I finally got around to claiming money for some work that I did ages ago. (Actually, the results of the work have just been published here) . As part of the claims process Microsoft, not unreasonably, likes to see receipts of all the things I bought, including food and bits and bobs. So, I did what I usually do, which is make up a zip archive of all the relevant paperwork and put it on SkyDrive for Microsoft to read. This is not particularly confidential, so I just made a folder, dropped the file into it, emailed the link and thought nothing more of it.

Turns out this was really stupid. I forgot that lots of things out there are watching what I do and then sharing that information with lots of other people, including folks on  Facebook. I got a message last night that the file was visible and that Facebook had told all my friends about it.  I changed the protection so nobody could see it any more, but of course there are by now thousands of copies of the file out there on the web, and probably even a video on YouTube.

There’s nothing in the file that anyone couldn’t find out about me by doing a simple search of my name (apart from some aspects of my eating habits I guess) but I guess this is a salutary lesson to anyone who uses the cloud on a regular basis that if you want to keep thinks private, you should mark them private. Security through obscurity was never really an option, and with this kind of “auto publicity” it is now even less of one.