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Protecting Your Privacy -
even with registration you can still be anonymous!



One of the things that users both liked and disliked about the old PalletBoard system was that people could post without having to first register as a member. This made it easy to post messages and allowed posters to shield their identity. This encouraged people to be frank about their opinions, which is a good thing, but it also led some to use the PalletBoard to pursue negative personal agendas. It also made it difficult for Industrial Reporting to administer the PalletBoard and keep these people out.

From spammers to those with an axe to grind to people posting things that have nothing to do with the pallet or sawmill industries, we had no way to keep people from posting inappropriate messages. Now that has changed. With the new PalletBoard, people can still remain anonymous to the general public and board administrators while giving us the ability to block those who violate our rules. Registration also allows users to block messages from those members whom they find offensive, annoying or simply a waste of time.

To register and maintain your anonymity simply enter a screen name of your choice, use an email address that doesn't disclose your identity, then edit "My Profile" and select the option to hide your profile.

Registration is FREE and offers a number of benefits:

  • Only registered users can post to the forums; guests can only read the posts.
  • Registered users can subscribe to a particular board or thread to receive updates when something new is posted.
  • Registered users can block posts from other board users. Does one boarder always seem to annoy you? Now, you can block his posts.
  • Registered users can customize their viewing experience.
  • Registered users can edit their own messages.
  • The system keeps track of what posts a registered user has or has not read. One click brings up all posts that are new - a real time saver!

The PalletBoard will offer advanced features in the near future. These will only be available to registered users, so register now, it's FREE!



In-depth Discussion of Anonymity Issue


While the PalletBoard does now require users to register and login to post, there is no way that any other user or the administrator can know who you are unless you tell them. The only required fields in the registration form are a screen name, valid e-mail address and password. You can make up whatever screen name that you want. As far as e-mail, you can get a free e-mail account from a number of sites/services including Yahoo, Hotmail, Net Zero or Rock.com. These accounts can be anonymous and it is very hard to track the true identity of the account holder.

Let's say that somebody posted something that a fictional company called PalMat did not like and thought was illegal activity. Discovering the real identity of the poster would be nearly impossible if the poster did not reveal his true identity to the e-mail provider or when he registered for the PalletBoard account.

If the user posted using a typical Web-based e-mail account, PalMat would have to issue a letter demanding that Industrial Reporting Inc. (the publisher of the PalletBoard) and the e-mail account provider release the registration information for the account. PalMat might do this, but it is highly unlikely that the free e-mail provider would comply. Let's say that it did. All PalMat would get is the info in the database. If you put false info, they have nothing. There is no process to verify that you are who you say that you are. Once again, you are only visible to others as much as you want to be. IRI has no intention of releasing any data on a specific user unless required to do so by a court order.

Even if PalMat went to all that effort, if the poster was smart and did not disclose any legitimate info, PalMat would have nothing. And even if they did somehow discover the identity, posting on a public board is hearsay evidence. It wouldn't likely stand up in court.

When the authorities catch some computer geek sending out viruses, they use a variety of techniques to do it that are not available to private companies in a civil case.

One of the most common ways to track a person is through the IP address. All devices connected to the Internet are identified by a unique IP number. "IP" stands for Internet Protocol, which is the name of a standardized identification scheme. It is via IP numbers that computers on the internet locate and identify each other.

There are actually two ways of assigning IP numbers, static and dynamic. Static IP numbers are permanently assigned to a computer. Dynamic IP numbers are only assigned to a computer at the time it connects to the Internet and they can change with each connection to the Internet. Dynamic IP numbers are used to maximize the use of the numbers available to an organization or an Internet Service Provider (ISP).

Corporate networks and online service providers economize on the number of IP addresses they use by sharing a pool of IP addresses among a large number of users. If you're an America Online user, for example, your IP address will vary from one logon session to the next because AOL is assigning it to you from a pool that is much smaller than AOL's base of subscribers.

Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) is the company that provides you with a connection to the Internet. ISPs can track their users by IP/date/time/location even when the IP is dynamically assigned. However, they have no reason to give that information out unless required to do so by court order. If a user accesses the Internet via an internal company network, the network administrator could certainly identify them by IP/date/time, but again this is private information not subject to public disclosure except by court order. Thus, no one outside of the company or ISP which provides the Internet connection could really identify a particular user on the PalletBoard unless a court got involved and began to subpoena ISP and/or network records.

The IP addresses of visitors are normally tracked by websites as a standard practice. The old PalletBoard tracked IP addresses for users when they posted a message. This information was not publicly revealed with the old system and will continue to be protected with the new PalletBoard. Nothing has really changed regarding IP tracking from the old board to the new one. Generally, your IP address is being recorded all the time on the Internet even when you don't know it. Any Web site that is keeping stats is probably recording the IP of users.

If you wanted to post something anonymously, it would be best to have two screen names on the new board. As long as you have a different e-mail address, you can have as many unique screen names as you want. You could have one for posting basic messages, such as "Wanted" notices or comments on general discussion topics. Then you could have a second profile for posting messages that you wouldn't want to be traced back to you.



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