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WEEKLY WHINE

Remaining private stumps Edvard

We here at GoobNet are committed to defending your privacy. In fact, we’re so committed to defending your privacy that we don’t even know who you are.

Don’t tell us! Lah-la-la-lah, we’re not listening!

Of course, if you live on Earth, you may find that your home is visible on Google Earth. And if you live on a street on Earth, you may find that your home is visible on Google Street View. So that’s two invasions of privacy right there.

But when questions of morality collide with questions of privacy, you need to know someone to whom you can turn. That would be “Dynamite Eating” ###### ### ## ####, who is not afraid to let everyone know his real name [###### ### ## ####], his occupation [former dynamite eater], or his place of business [GoobNet Enterprises, Inc [which doesn’t actually exist however]].

Dear Edvard: What’s the best way to surf the web in private?

– #### #########
Yellowknife, NT, Canada

Dear ####: Here are some ideas.

  1. Don’t say “surf”. That totally identifies you as a n00b ripe for pwnz0r1ng.
  2. Disable cookies. It won’t prevent sites from saving information on their end, but at least it prevents them from saving information about your browsing history on your own PC.
  3. Don’t use Google, unless you believe what they say about the priority they place on user privacy. And if you do believe them, do try to convince the rest of us.

Dear Edvard: I have contributed thousands of dollars to a political candidate, but I don’t want anyone to know. What can I do to defend my privacy?

– ###### ######
New York City, NY, USA

Dear ######: If you are contributing at least US$200 to a political candidate in an election cycle, your contributions must be made public. But if you donate to another organisation that is secretly trying to elect the same candidate, just about anything goes. Most importantly, when the candidate uses a picture of your daughter with an unflattering implication in an attack ad against the candidate’s opponent, you must pretend to be outraged, even if you think that your daughter is a chronic fuckup who will never accomplish anything that will enhance society in any way.

Dear Edvard: I just purchased a huge house at 714 Madison Street in Houston. But I don’t want anybody to know. How can I keep my involvement secret?

– #### ##########
Houston, TX, USA

Dear ####: If you don’t want anybody to know that you live there, you should start by never going there, so that your neighbours won’t see you enter or exit. Likewise, don’t park any cars there, and don’t send anyone in to maintain the lawn. And whatever you do, don’t E-mail the address to us here at GoobNet.

Dear Edvard: I’ve got a Fastest Finger question about Internet privacy. Want to hear it?

– ##### #####-######
Jupiter, FL, USA

Dear #####: Do Americans remember what Fastest Finger questions are? Okay, fine. Let’s have your Fastest Finger question about Internet privacy.

Dear Edvard: Put these Internet companies in order of the amount of personal information they’re secretly holding about you, starting with the most.

  1. Amazon
  2. Yahoo
  3. Google
  4. Microsoft

– ##### #####-######
Jupiter, FL, USA

Dear #####: Done.

Dear Edvard: And time is up. Here is the correct answer, starting with the most personal information they’re secretly holding about you, and it’s Google, followed by Microsoft, Amazon, and finally Yahoo.

– ##### #####-######
Jupiter, FL, USA

Dear #####: None of us got it right. We’ll need to have another Fastest Finger question.

Dear Edvard: How much personal or identifying information does GoobNet have about me?

– ###### ####
Hong Kong, China PR

Dear ######: Enough to know that after thirteen years of marriage and ten years of questioning your sexual identity, you’re debating whether to tell your husband that you want to become a man.

Dear Edvard: Why don’t people use fake names and disposable E-mail addresses when they write to well-known websites?

– ####### # #######
Olive Mountain, OR, USA

Dear #######: Because they’re dumb.

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