This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

Protecting your privacy on the web

I was at a party recently and someone said to me, "You're Brad Hall, aren't you?" For someone like me, this is great, as I have been a big believer in publicity since I named my company after myself when I was 19. My website has my company name, and my name in it. I've had business cards for years with my name on it. Whenever I've taught a class, my name is on the syllabus, and I write it on the board. I sign my cartoons with my name.

But many people prefer privacy. I've known people who use a "code name" at Starbucks because they don't want to hear their name shouted in public. At first, I thought this was a little comical, but after a while I came to understand why some people prefer privacy. If that's you, there are few things that you need to do.

• Stay off the internet. That seems a no-brainer, but the internet is not a private place. You can select all kinds of privacy settings on sites that may or may not work. This is the best place to start. Even reading this blog will tell me where you are on the planet, although only the city. Not owning a computer, or even a cell phone, is the best thing to do. I'm not kidding here.

• Learn a bit about the internet. Ignorance is not bliss, it's dangerous. People will write things about you without your permission. They will post photos of you.

• Have a friend, like me, who uses the internet regularly. Your name and image can be searched in Google. If someone posts your name or photo on a Facebook page, thinking it's all in fun, it can be found, and you can ask them to remove it. Most people will.

The price of privacy is constant vigilance. The internet grows explosively every minute, and it's main function is to share information. For someone like me, who is indexed very highly on Google, it's great. In fact, I don't really have to do that much. If you are on the other side of equation, you will have to work a bit.

I hope this helps.