Identity theft and cyber-stalking are major concerns for Internet users.
CA employs state-of-the-art measures to safeguard its database against unauthorized access. We also offer members the option to choose the data that they display in their profile. Rules against posting personally identifiable information (e.g., addresses, telephone numbers, e-mail addresses) further minimize instances in which members expose their private information to public scrutiny. Ultimately, however, members are personally responsible for their own well-being in participating on any Internet forum.
The volume of posts made to this site make it impossible for staff to read each one; thus, prohibited information, if posted, could be available to public view for protracted periods before being noticed and removed. There is also a risk that, while such information is on the board, it might be accessed and archived by Internet search engines. This means that, even though a post is ultimately edited or deleted, its original content may conceivably be retrievable at a future time, by an Internet search using mechanisms such as Google. This is the principal reason why Internet users are regularly cautioned to never post anything that they are not willing to have available to public scrutiny forever.
There are other considerations and cautions that members should also consider. The nature of an Internet forum is to build a sense of community among its participants, particularly on sites such as CAF. Friendships develop; people share details of their lives -- joys, sorrows, conflicts, and challenges. Invariably, facts of age, sex, marital status, and locale are revealed as posters seek to identify peers who can best understand, empathize, relate, and advise them in their everyday life. The tendency is to extend trust based on words on a computer screen.
Members should be conscious of the importance of safeguarding their personal privacy and carefully consider the potential consequences and risks associated with doing so before posting information that could identify them. Obvious examples of this are the prohibited personal data described above, as well as detailed occupational information and photographs (particularly of children and, especially, those with names attached).
The purpose of this is neither to discourage a sense of community (it's a valuable aspect of a site such as this) nor to induce paranoia, but to urge a healthy caution on your part in what details of your personal life you post to the web, here or elsewhere, to protect yourself from those who might not be what they seem or might not have your best interests at heart. You are your own best judge of how much privacy you need or want and you are the best guardian of your own privacy.
Note: Members are also cautioned to be extremely circumspect and not divulge personal information which they have about other members.