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Old 08-11-2019, 17:47   #1
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Who Can See (Read) the Contents of Private Messages

I'm curious...

Who can access the contents of PMs on CF?

Obviously the writer and the intended recipient can but who else can?

1. Mods?
2. Administrators?
3. Owners of CF?
4. Hackers?

I guess 4 is a no brainer if they have the skill but the others????
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Old 08-11-2019, 17:57   #2
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Re: Who Can See (Read) the Contents of Private Messages

It's up to the administrators of the site. Obviously at the top level they can read anything. Lower level moderators can be set to have them visible or not. Don't expect any privacy - you are typing into a privately owned computer system and should have no expectation of it.
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Old 09-11-2019, 05:30   #3
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Re: Who Can See (Read) the Contents of Private Messages

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Originally Posted by Tillsbury View Post
It's up to the administrators of the site. Obviously at the top level they can read anything. Lower level moderators can be set to have them visible or not. Don't expect any privacy - you are typing into a privately owned computer system and should have no expectation of it.
Sort of defeats the "private" thing.
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Old 09-11-2019, 05:55   #4
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Re: Who Can See (Read) the Contents of Private Messages

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Originally Posted by Tillsbury View Post
It's up to the administrators of the site. Obviously at the top level they can read anything. Lower level moderators can be set to have them visible or not. Don't expect any privacy - you are typing into a privately owned computer system and should have no expectation of it.
What he said.

It’s been a while since I’ve administered on vBulletin, but most forum software leave these setting up to the discretion of the owner. So certainly the owner and Admin level has 100% access. In most cases all the Mods do as well.

So yes, never assume anything you type here, or anywhere on the Internet, is private. It ain’t.
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Old 09-11-2019, 05:59   #5
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Re: Who Can See (Read) the Contents of Private Messages

If you want to be private, use a messaging app outside of this. Preferably something that is peer to peer and end to end encrypted.
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Old 09-11-2019, 06:22   #6
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Re: Who Can See (Read) the Contents of Private Messages

Long ago, when I was CF Administrator, there was NO WAY I could see Private Messages, not addressed to me. This may not have been typical of vBulletin software, and may have changed, in the intervening years.
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Old 09-11-2019, 10:29   #7
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Re: Who Can See (Read) the Contents of Private Messages

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So yes, never assume anything you type here, or anywhere on the Internet, is private. It ain’t.

Sound advice.



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Old 09-11-2019, 10:46   #8
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Re: Who Can See (Read) the Contents of Private Messages

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Sort of defeats the "private" thing.
They’re not immediately visible to other forum users, that’s what “private” means. A bit like writing “private” on the outside of a letter.

iMessage and FaceTime are private. A small number of other instant messaging apps probably are, for all intents and purposes. Anything you type into a computer must be something you don’t mind one day being public. It might be secure now but it’s permanent and there’s no guarantee it will always be so.
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Old 09-11-2019, 14:02   #9
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Who Can See (Read) the Contents of Private Messages

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Originally Posted by GordMay View Post
Long ago, when I was CF Administrator, there was NO WAY I could see Private Messages, not addressed to me. This may not have been typical of vBulletin software, and may have changed, in the intervening years.


To my knowledge nothing has changed.
However as one poster put it, I wouldn’t treat anything that I put on any kind of Social media as private, regardless of what I was told.
Don’t put anything on anywhere that you wouldn’t put on a billboard.
Bu then I don’t trust email either, and never have cell phones, even though I was assured by experts that digital phones were secure, they couldn’t be cracked.

Remember the old walk around land line phones? I had a scanner that would pick them up.
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Old 09-11-2019, 14:32   #10
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Re: Who Can See (Read) the Contents of Private Messages

I remember a Stanford IT professor saying , “Just remember, the ‘e’ in email stands for two things, Eternal and Evidence”
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Old 09-11-2019, 14:37   #11
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Re: Who Can See (Read) the Contents of Private Messages

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Don’t put anything on anywhere that you wouldn’t put on a billboard.
Bu then I don’t trust email either, and never have cell phones, even though I was assured by experts that digital phones were secure, they couldn’t be cracked.

Remember the old walk around land line phones? I had a scanner that would pick them up.
Exactly! The Internet is forever!

The word private will have different practical meanings. In this case, it is private in that I can't read PMs that are not addressed to me. Likewise, it seems that most administrators can't read the PMs. We must remember however that there are cases were a person in a position of authority (and I am not talking about this forum) has abused their authority. Fortunately these are small in number contrasted to the billions of messages sent worldwide.

Of course, there are hackers. Perhaps worst of all are the various governments, at all levels, who read things and listen in regardless of what their Constitution or laws say.

The end result is that generally these are private, but that privacy is not necessarily absolute.
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Old 09-11-2019, 14:39   #12
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Re: Who Can See (Read) the Contents of Private Messages

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I remember a Stanford IT professor saying , “Just remember, the ‘e’ in email stands for two things, Eternal and Evidence”
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Old 09-11-2019, 14:53   #13
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Re: Who Can See (Read) the Contents of Private Messages

Always expect anything written on the internet to eventually be found or made public. PERIOD

Ask any politician if this is not true.

Be nice, polite. Pretend your parents and minister are listening. Say nothing you would not stand up and scream in front of a thousand strangers.

‘Sticks and stones may break bones but words can destroy you. ‘. That sort of came from Grandma but she never saw a computer.

To the OP, if you want another level of privacy, exchange e-mail addresses and go off-forum.
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Old 09-11-2019, 15:03   #14
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Re: Who Can See (Read) the Contents of Private Messages

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Originally Posted by Nicholson58 View Post
Always expect anything written on the internet to eventually be found or made public. PERIOD


Quote:
Originally Posted by Nicholson58 View Post
Be nice, polite. Pretend your parents and minister are listening. Say nothing you would not stand up and scream in front of a thousand strangers.
Completely agree. This is one of the reasons I keep advocating to move to proper names only. Actual research shows that when people perceive that they must take responsibility for the words they write on these online forums, that civility and behaviour improves.

It’s not a panacea. And yes, it is still possible to hide behind fake IDs. But it’s been well studied, and it does help.
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Old 09-11-2019, 15:11   #15
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Re: Who Can See (Read) the Contents of Private Messages

There is of course one simple solution.

Never be ashamed of your words or actions..... Clarify..... If necessary, but never apologize!
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