WordPress.com hacked

Well, it looks like one or more of the WordPress.com blog hosting site’s server(s) was/were hacked.  Among the things the attackers got were, apparently, the keys used to interface WordPress.com blogs with Twitter and Facebook.

If you know me, you probably know I have a fairly low opinion of Facebook and a much, much lower opinion of Twitter (which could simply shorten its name by three letters to improve accuracy).  There has been a disturbing, headlong rush over the past few years to concentrate far too many people’s personal lives onto the servers run by Facebook, Google, and a few others.  I see this as problematic for a number of reasons.

First of all, I see a very great threat to personal privacy.  It may be tempting to use these “services” for their intended purpose, but people tend to either ignore or forget basic common sense.  OK, so Google lets you search the entire internet for “stuff”.  Great, I love that.  But shall we take a Google search as the Gospel truth?  Google is a multi-billion-dollar corporation.  They make lots of that money by selling advertising space.  Where are those ads?  In your search results.  At the top of your search results.  They also provide “free” email through Gmail.  Free?  Well, not really.  Your email is examined, indexed, and used by Google to (can you guess it?) sell more advertising.  “OK”, you say, “It’s not hurting me, I get free email out of the deal”.  Great.  Then you won’t mind if I stand by your mailbox, open all of your email, read it and sell a general synopsis of the contents to marketing companies who will use it to stand outside your house and wave advertising banners as you pull out of your garage – right?  I mean, I’ll do it for free, and hand your mail to you after I’m done with it.

For some people Facebook is replacing email – not to mention phone calls, text messages, and in-person meetings.  I lost count long ago of how many arguments have spiraled completely out of control due to simple misunderstandings and miscommunication.  Some people’s newfound refusal to just pick up the phone and call someone, or drive ten minutes to visit in person and discuss things face to face, has been the cause of at least two family feuds that I know are going on at this moment.  Brothers and sisters not speaking to each other, sons and daughters, friends falling apart — largely because we seem to be losing our willingness to communicate in ways that involve more than a few seconds of typing.  Hurtful, horrible things that we would never dream of saying to someone in person just seem to slide right out of the keyboard and onto a website, to be seen by people who have absolutely no business knowing your business.

But I’ve strayed away from the WordPress thing.  Yes, I run WordPress (the open source blog software) for my blog as well as another.  But no, I don’t use the WordPress.com site.  Why not?  Well, this is one huge reason.  By keeping my own data on my own systems, I am responsible for what’s there and how secure it is.  I have control over how the site is run, the advertising supporting that site (or complete lack thereof), and whether my blog has to co-exist with those with whom I don’t want to be associated.