Pit Notes May 2010

Some one picked the wrong Ann Job to job with a fake message using her name and email address to appeal for urgently needed funds because she and her family had been robbed at gun point in London and were stranded there without cash or credit cards to get them home.  The giveaway was the poor grammar. The well-regarded AP journalist would consider that a crime in and of itself.

A recipient of the plea checked it out and in a series of email exchanges was given a location where the money could be delivered. In the meantime, Ann was at her desk in the States, busily assuring the many friends, colleagues and associates who phoned that she was aware of the scam, had shut down the email address and was calling every authority she could think of to bring the “perps” to justice.

She had no time to speculate or investigate how her email was infiltrated but Kurt Opsahl writes in his DeepLinks Blog for the Electronic Frontier Foundation: “As Facebook grew larger and became more important, it could have chosen to maintain or improve those (privacy) controls. Instead, it’s slowly but surely helped itself — and its advertising and business partners — to more and more of its users’ information, while limiting the users’ options to control their own information.”

Laurie Sullivan, writing for Social Media Daily, summarizes a Consumers Reports survey and recommendations for better securing personal information on the Internet: 1) do not list full birth date, 2) use a strong password, 3) do not overlook privacy controls, 4)leave off contact information, 5) do not identify kids in photos, 6) do not say when you will be away from home.

Closing Speed by Ted WestTed West reports that he is “more than a little amazed” that his first novel, Closing Speed, has been published and is available through http://www.demontrevillepress.com/, Amazon or online brick and mortar. The novel, West says, brings back to life “one of the headiest experiences of my long career.”  It is a fictionalized remembrance of the 1970 World Manufacturer’s Championship he covered in Europe for Road & Track. . . . Melissa Preddy alerted her Detroit News readers recently to the Internet Movie Car Database (imcdb.com) where car fans can quickly verify makes and models of cars used in Hollywood films.