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Metrowest, MA
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29,823 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I know myself I have only been around one or two dogs of various breeds. This makes it a little difficult to know if their traits or common or not. For example, my sister-in-law has a Westie which seems very hyper, however maybe that is not typical! Based upon her Westie I would not want one, but there may be many wonderful Westies out there!

You know what's REALLY scary... I just had a comparison video come up in my YouTube feed on Havanese vs Maltese. TELL me that is a coincidence! LOL!
 

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Super Moderator
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3,785 Posts
I just ran across these two posts from a couple of months ago. The posters make a good point. Everything we say on Havanese Forum is subject to public scrutiny. This is pretty typical for any social media forum. There are two ways for the general pubic to view posts on Havanese Forum:
  1. sign up to be a member which allows for posting privileges and viewing photo albums
  2. view as a "guest" which allows to view all posts, view member profiles, but not photo albums
I just now checked (6:30 PM PST) to see who's online on HF. We have 2 members online (I am one of them) and 201 "guests." This is pretty typical ratio. I have seen as many as 400+ "guests" online at some times.

I get about 4 new member signups per day. As moderator I vet each new member. About one new member is rejected a day because of spam, about one new member a day is legitimate and becomes a participant in Havanese Forum, and about two new members a day appear to be legitimate but never participate as a poster - they just lurk. Those two members are a concern to me. If they just want to lurk, they could do that as a "guest." Their motivation for being a member of HF is unclear to me. About a month ago we had a new member spam the Forum with offers to sell drugs (the links appeared to be a virus) from a country outside of the US. I saw it immediately but I reported the post to VerticalScope administration. VS has a team of security technicians that are constantly adjusting the security protocols on all their Forums including HF. I sent this post on to them to allow them to adjust their "spam filters." Seven HF members "reported" this post to the moderators and I sincerely thank you for that. But please understand that this post was allowed to stand for a couple of days to allow the VS technicians time to analyze why the post made it that far. The post was eventually deleted. So members continue to "report" those inappropriate posts. However, understand for every inappropriate post you see, there are several dozen that are deleted by the moderators before you ever seen them!

I am not posting this to alarm members but to inform members. I agree with @krandall and @mudpuppymama who posted above - we are being watched and nothing is private on the Internet. I know for a fact that there are some "Havanese people" who are not members who read Havanese Forum periodically as "guests." I want to caution that we all need to be careful about what we say on Havanese Forum or anywhere on the Internet for that matter!

Some days we get some new members from some very odd places in the world. However in vetting them (I am being intentionally vague here to protect HF protocols) they don't appear to be an immediate threat to member security and I am bound to let them pass (but I do keep an eye on them, again being vague). Just know that requiring all new members to make two posts in the "Introduce Yourself" sub-forum is an essential part of the vetting process. It is not meant to harass or bully new members. Unfortunately, some new members post immediately in other HF forums and depending on specific circumstances their posts are deleted and any posts responding to them by legitimate members may be deleted too. The moderators are not being mean or arbitrary, they are just trying to protect your security.

In order to protect my personal privacy and security, I used to have my Privacy settings under my account to "members only". However with so many new members signing up and never posting or participating, I have adjusted many of my Privacy settings to "nobody." You may want to review your Privacy settings and make adjustments as you feel necessary.

Be careful and be safe out there Havalovers.
 

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Metrowest, MA
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29,823 Posts
Discussion Starter · #4 ·
In order to protect my personal privacy and security, I used to have my Privacy settings under my account to "members only". However with so many new members signing up and never posting or participating, I have adjusted many of my Privacy settings to "nobody." You may want to review your Privacy settings and make adjustments as you feel necessary.
Can you explain what this does? I don't understand the difference.

And I have to say, I have always been well aware that ANYTHING on the internet is inherently "insecure". I never post anything that I would allow to be seen in public. 🤷‍♀️
 

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Super Moderator
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3,785 Posts
Can you explain what this does? (different privacy settings) I don't understand the difference.
Sure I will try to explain.
HF Super Moderators have been given a "toolbox" with a lot of tools in it to protect your privacy and security. Unfortunately, there are people out there with nefarious intentions who have equally sophisticated tools (available from third parties). If they are a member or "guest" on Havanese Forum in "stealth mode" they might be able to use information from your HF Profile to gain even more information about you and use that information to steal your identity, send you unwanted spam to your personal email address (there is software out there that can determine your email address if given enough information, available from third parties), determine when you are not at home when posting from a different location (making your home vulnerable to burglary), or just being "nosey" in your personal business. Therefore, I have set most of my Privacy settings so that "Nobody" can view them. Even then I have scam robo phone calls on my "private" cell phone number starting at 7:00 AM.

I don't want to be an alarmist because your exposure to privacy and security fraud on Havanese Forum is very limited although we have HF members (who never post) in countries that are notorious for Internet fraud and I doubt that there is a Havanese within thousands of miles from them. You have much more exposure on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

Feel free to set your Privacy settings on your account anyway you feel comfortable. Only you can determine your exposure to risk.

And I have to say, I have always been well aware that ANYTHING on the internet is inherently "insecure". I never post anything that I would allow to be seen in public. 🤷‍♀️
I think you meant to say, "I never post anything that I would (NOT) allow to be seen in public." You are correct. A close friend of mine (an attorney) said to me, "Never say anything in writing or in a recording that you would not feel comfortable saying in front of a Judge." Again only you can determine your comfort level. It just surprises me how often negative things about people and companies said on Havanese Forum come up in private conversations with people who I know are not members. What I am saying is just be careful what you say on HF that might be used against you for slander and defamation in Court. Yes, be critical of people and products as much as you like, but just be capable to back up your claims with verifiable proof or just simply preface your critical posts with "IN MY OPINION" or "I WOULD NEVER BUY THIS PRODUCT" without further explanation. That simple disclaimer should get you off the hook.

[EDIT] I just checked who's online on HF right now - 4 members and 181 "guests."
 

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Owned by a Havallon
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2,844 Posts
Everything you read on the internet is someone’s opinion, even the supposed studies which most likely have some bias. It is the responsibility of people getting information from the internet to determine for themself what they want to believe. Posters should not have to walk around on eggshells prefacing everything they say with IMO. The readers should assume this is the poster’s opinion and form their own. I am not too worried about getting in trouble legally for what I say. For example, is a major dog food company really going to come down on me for criticizing their food? Everyone is so fearful about being politically correct these days that we might as well not have free speech. As far as guests on the forum, every search I do about Havanese comes up with a discussion on the forum. I assume these are the “guests”. I am not sure what a hacker is going to get out of the HF. There are bigger fish to fry on the internet.
 

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Premium Member
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3,204 Posts
Thanks, Dogfather, for the information.

The Havanese forum shares data collected about members, the same way Facebook/Meta, Google, and other online businesses do, with advertisers and other partners. This is why people have articles, videos, or ads related to their online history in their feeds in other places, such as when they open YouTube. Technically most of this information is not identifying, but the controversy is that individuals with access to this type of data, such as Google analytics, can use logic to piece together a lot of information about someone that can potentially become identifying. This is not supposed to be allowed, so there is a general consensus in IT that if someone comes across personal information, they shouldn’t view it, even if they can. Some people take this more seriously than others, which is why best practice is to prevent it from ever happening. It’s better for software to analyze the information and make decisions than humans. Rules regarding protection of this information are developing but right now there are few consequences for breaking them. Online stores are subject to huge fines for violating the rules, but it’s harder to incentivize sites that rely on advertising instead of sales. Transparency about the information companies can access about someone and how they use it is the goal, which is why privacy policies are disclosed as part of terms of service.
 

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Premium Member
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I’m not sure what you mean when you said there is less risk associated with personal information on the Havanese forum. Maybe you mean a different type of personal information? As far as I can see it’s exactly the same. Potentially identifying information is gathered, stored, and shared by all social media platforms, and the privacy policy here is very similar to other social media. Whether people publically share personal information that may be identifying, such as their email address, name, location, details about their lives, is available in the settings of every social media platform and dependent on what the person posts.

yes, there are examples of individuals online who seek out and exploit private information. But the controversy over private information is not really concerning these individual examples. It’s the same type of risk you might face as far as someone individually targeting you to break into your home or car, and everyone should protect themselves accordingly by being careful about what they post and share. Most of the time “hacking” of the forum is bots, not humans. The programs copy and paste real posts from all over the internet to make them seem like humans. Even phishing emails that go directly to someone’s email are send to thousands of people by a computer and they get lucky if one person responds. What is controversial about “private information,” and most of what people focus on with regard to security now, is what a website shares, because we are “paying” to use the site with the information provided by our devices.
 

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Metrowest, MA
Joined
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29,823 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
If they are a member or "guest" on Havanese Forum in "stealth mode" they might be able to use information from your HF Profile to gain even more information about you and use that information to steal your identity, send you unwanted spam to your personal email address (there is software out there that can determine your email address if given enough information, available from third parties), determine when you are not at home when posting from a different location (making your home vulnerable to burglary), or just being "nosey" in your personal business. Therefore, I have set most of my Privacy settings so that "Nobody" can view them. Even then I have scam robo phone calls on my "private" cell phone number starting at 7:00 AM.

I don't want to be an alarmist because your exposure to privacy and security fraud on Havanese Forum is very limited although we have HF members (who never post) in countries that are notorious for Internet fraud and I doubt that there is a Havanese within thousands of miles from them. You have much more exposure on platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.

Feel free to set your Privacy settings on your account anyway you feel comfortable. Only you can determine your exposure to risk.
Not so concerned about someone burgling our house, my email address being vulnerable through HF is a good reason to change my settings. Mine is NOT accessible via FB, because I do not use my regular email there. I have a special “throw away“ email I use only for that. I actually understand the weaknesses of FB quite well and feel quite secure in the way I use it.

I think you meant to say, "I never post anything that I would (NOT) allow to be seen in public."
LOL! Yes, for sure.

You are correct. A close friend of mine (an attorney) said to me, "Never say anything in writing or in a recording that you would not feel comfortable saying in front of a Judge." Again only you can determine your comfort level. It just surprises me how often negative things about people and companies said on Havanese Forum come up in private conversations with people who I know are not members. What I am saying is just be careful what you say on HF that might be used against you for slander and defamation in Court. Yes, be critical of people and products as much as you like, but just be capable to back up your claims with verifiable proof or just simply preface your critical posts with "IN MY OPINION" or "I WOULD NEVER BUY THIS PRODUCT" without further explanation. That simple disclaimer should get you off the hook.
I may make a lot of typos, because my brain goes a lot faster than my fingers. But I am pretty clear about what I say and mean. And I can always back up what I say.
 

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Super Moderator
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3,785 Posts
I have a special “throw away“ email I use only for that.
EXCELLENT! I have about six disposable email addresses that are coded so that I know what website they are coming from. Some websites are worse than others.
I may make a lot of typos, because my brain goes a lot faster than my fingers. But I am pretty clear about what I say and mean. And I can always back up what I say.
I can't get my brain out of low gear and it has been in the shop for several months now for "diagnostics." My fingers go a lot faster than my brain!

And Karen, I know you well enough that I would NEVER doubt what you say and mean and are fully capable of backing it up, often to my detriment. 🤭 That's one characteristic we share in common!
 
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Super Moderator
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I have no intention to get into a debate about the motivations of people who post on social media. Ultimately the one who posts is responsible for the content.
The readers should assume this is the poster’s opinion and form their own. I am not too worried about getting in trouble legally for what I say....There are bigger fish to fry on the internet.
Perhaps, the problem is that the legal folks know what the law is and can take advantage of that. In the case of VerticalScope (the owner of Havanese Forum) THEY are the "bigger fish" in the scheme of things. Legally they may be held accountable and responsible for what posters say on HF and they are going to protect themselves. Please read the Terms of Use at the bottom of this page. They reserve the right to edit or delete any posts that cross the line. They will and have taken further action against members who consistently cross that line.

Everyone is so fearful about being politically correct these days that we might as well not have free speech.
The US Courts have determined there is a difference between free speech and irresponsible speech.
I am not sure what a hacker is going to get out of the HF.
Potentially they can get your email address and home address plus whatever other personal information you wish to put in your Profile. And then from there, your soc. sec. number, mother's maiden name, bank/credit card accounts, and that leads to identity theft. There is some pretty intrusive malware for sale on the Internet that is available to the bad guys.

But we're getting off topic, just make it clear where you are getting your information when you post on HF.
 

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Owned by a Havallon
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2,844 Posts
I think there are two subjects being discussed in this thread. One is protection of our privacy and the other is making sure we don’t say something that the HF owners don’t like.

@DogFather makes a good point about keeping our profile information private. I am shocked that our profile information is not kept private by default, especially our email address which is required to register.

As far as watching what we say, that is a bit vague. It is sort of like trying to please someone else. Pretty much impossible. I enjoy frank and honest discussions from members even if their views are different than mine. I don’t see anything wrong with mentioning specific products or brands. For example, if a particular popular harness from a well known company does not allow freedom of movement and can damage a dog’s shoulders I do not have a problem calling this particular harness out. This is not irresponsible. Not calling it out is what is irresponsible. If the HF owners call me on it so be it. We are all doing our best to share information that can help our dogs.
 
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