ANYONE WHO has used the wonders of the internet to communicate knows that you should not type personal things across an open and unprotected connection. Say something exciting via email and be ready for a friend to forward your mail. Put your travel schedule on a group calendar and be ready for stalkers. Write direct messages to friends on Twitter and apply your best judgment. Until yesterday, direct messages sent by some people via Twitter appeared on the Twittervision public timeline. A few weeks ago, anyone interested could have harvested private phone numbers sent directly to me over Twitter. They could have seen some comments considered playful to one person but acerbic to another. This was an unexpected compromise of privacy but Dave Troy, the Twittervision developer, points out that most people didn't care about it.
Dave Troy told Bobbie Johnson, “For what it is worth, the number of people who participate in something like Twitter who also opt to keep updates private is a pretty small percentage, and you are the first person to bring this up to me. If this were a widespread concern I would have heard about it from others by now.”
Twitter offers an easy way to type things totally banal in an intriguing kind of way. I tend to use Twitter as a pointing mechanism or as a quick channel for yelling across an international room filled with people I hardly know. Twitter has informed my judgment in good ways and it offers a water cooler experience for those trapped all alone working at home. But Twitter should not be seen as an avenue for safe text. Twitter needs an open web connection to pump its content around. If you type something anywhere on Twitter, you won't encounter a screen secured by the https protocol. And that means when you type your phone number onto the Twitter form, you're passing data over an insecure connection. I hope the team behind Twitter respects my phone number more than the Twitter API respected direct (read private) messages sent to and from friends using Twitter.
Meg Pickard -- "There's a hole in your Twitter"
Bobbie Johnson -- "Twitter Glitch Leaves Private Users Exposed"
Bernie Goldbach seen through Twittervision but with no privacy compromises in my case, either live or in the Google cache.