10 things that we should keep private

Our phones and other devices have become an extension of our person and behind our lock screen they possess the most damning aspects of our day to day lives. Our nasty group chats filled with jokes and badmouthing, tragically intoxicated photos that should never see the light of day and our dating profiles on our phones are things we all enjoy, but would like to keep as private as possible.

In this article, we will review some of the most common types of information that people would like to keep secret. (For more serious ramifications of our privacy breaches, read our previous article that beats the myth of “I have nothing to hide.” ) In each of these items, we share personal information with those who are close to us because we trust them not to divulge our secrets to others. We expect our BFF/partners to keep all our communications regarding these topics as secure and confidential as possible.

  1. INTIMATE LIFE: The details of true intimacy between a couple are intended to be enjoyed only by the 2 parties involved. Your sexting and trading of intimate pictures is very sacred. You only share these moments because your trust in your partner has provided you the space to free safe as you express yourselves. No one wants these communications to be read by ANYONE ELSE. According to a recent study, 50% of people have used their mobile phone to share or receive intimate or sexual text messages, emails, and photos from someone.
  2. QUESTIONABLE HUMOUR: How many times do we receive adult jokes in the form of pictures or videos via text messages or whatsapp? Guys share all kinds of stuff they wouldn’t want their partners to see. Similarly, some jokes that women share may not be appreciated by their partners. I have heard of many stories where my male friends’ wives will question some of their pictures or videos not realizing that it was humour. What one person considers funny may be considered inappropriate by others. Some jokes can be taken out of context and may not be meant to be shared with your partner.
  3. WILD WEEKENDS: Whether we just came back from an exciting weekend in Las Vegas or from an office Christmas party where someone took embarrassing photos of your drunkenness, these photos should never see the light of the day. You may want to remanence occasionally by looking at your wild weekend pictures, you wouldn’t want these to be viewed by those who may not understand nor appreciate your sense of adventure. Your communications (text messages, phone calls or emails) to book the Chippendales for your bachelorette party probably should also be kept private.
  4. SEARCH HISTORY: Enough said – check out these embarrassing searches that you wouldn’t want anyone to see in your search history on your phone. Wait, are you still stalking your ex?
  5. RELATIONSHIP DETAILS: Whether you’re head over heels in love with your new sweetie or had a massive blowout disagreement with your significant other, you will most likely share these details with your bestie. We all have problems, no relationship is without the occasional argument or challenge, however when you share with others what is likely just venting in the moment, not only are you violating the trust between yourself and your partner, you now have the utmost expectation from our friend to keep all this sensitive information highly secure. At times, this sharing can include even serious items such as loss of a loved one, mental illness, addictions, therapy session details, infidelity or abuse. If you learned your partner or new date was sharing such details with their friends you’d likely feel a bit awkward, betrayed and maybe even embarrassed, not a great way to build a solid relationship. It goes without saying that if someone has shared something with you in confidence; it needs to remain that way.
  6. NEXT MOVE: Whether you’re planning to change jobs or moving towards starting your own business, or leave your career behind to become a stay-at-home mom or your new dating profile or you’re navigating the choppy waters of a difficult divorce, it’s wise to not let these plans be revealed to people who you don’t know nor trust. While you may be hashing out the details with your BFF or getting advice from others, you wouldn’t want this information being leaked without your consent. You expect your friends to hold these secrets close to their chest and trust them to keep your communications secure.
  7. MEDICAL CONDITIONS: Some people take comfort in being able to relate to others who share the same disease or illness they have, we all like to feel as though we have things in common with others. Or some people like to share their situation to get advice from close friends or spouse/partner.
  8. FINANCES: Another very personal matter is your finances. Did you just buy a brand new house, a boat, a luxury car? Did you just got a promotion at work, win the lottery, received an inheritance, saved up for a decade, etc. Sometime you overhear people casually sharing with close one that they’re broke, their home is in foreclosure, their latest tax return, they received trust money (and specified the amount), etc. If you do communicate these items with trusted friends/partners, make sure that they keep these communications highly secure
  9. POLITICAL OR RELIGIOUS VIEWS: You may debate or share certain political or religious views with your close friends that you may not want others to see. These 2 topics are usually the ones that cause some of the most friction between people. You’ve seen how out of hand political discussions can get with your family at the dinner table. The implications are huge if an innocent comment is taken out of context and the next thing is you’re being labelled as a terrorist or a terrorist lover.
  10. INNOCENT ACTIONS: The very innocent scenarios are some of the toughest to foresee and least likely to occur (as compared to the above 9). I heard about a story where a man forgot his phone at home one day as he left for work. He and his wife of 25 years had a great loving relationship. His wife spots the phone and decides to snoop through his phone. What does she find? She sees a lot of text messages between her husband and another woman. Naturally she’s upset. She confronts him when he returns home. The man takes his wife to a hospital and into a room of the woman who was dying of cancer. He explains to his wife that he was doing everything he could to keep his colleague’s spirits up in her dying days. Sure this situation doesn’t occur to most people regularly, but many other innocent circumstances happen to many of us. How many people still talk to their ex in a plutonic relationship where your current partner may not approve? How would they react if you try to help out your ex with getting a reference for an apartment? In some places, the ex is the 2nd person you call for bail money. There is a laundry list of many more of these innocent things that can be taken out of context and get you into trouble.

This list covers the usual suspects of information that we need to keep private to protect us and our loved ones.  If this trust or communication was breached with this information, we would have a lot to lose in addition to a close friend/partner.

If you don’t want to be the one to leak your bff’s secrets or to expose your own personal private matters, the best way to secure your privacy is to use Conseel. It can protect you in the event someone wants to search your phone and you don’t want to reveal these secrets. It will let you delete your private text messages, emails, pictures, videos, phone logs and search history. With the many different options to personalize your settings, you can even target your whatsapp photos folder to delete.

What kind of information do you keep confidential? Share your thoughts below.