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What’s the dumbest privacy choice you’ve made online?

AI is in at the moment. Everyone is talking to ChatGPT like it’s an AOL chatbot circa 2001, and everyone else is happily handing their pictures over to Lensa so they can see what they’d look like rendered by an artist’s pen. The picture thing has struck me as a little odd, as there’s not a lot we know about how those images are used after uploading. Could my photos be used to develop the next person’s AI portrait?

Prisma Labs, the maker of Lensa, told TechCrunch it deletes the photos. But I’m reluctant to give my name when they ask for it at the boba tea place — let alone pay an app to ingest pics of my face to make me a cartoon.

In a group chat recently, a friend asked why everyone was falling for the Lensa thing when we didn’t know precisely how that data was being used. We all agreed that people sacrifice some measure of privacy for convenience — be that the big booby anime version of yourself or a speaker that’s constantly listening for your voice.

I happily post all kinds of things on our social media accounts, and I have no less than four smart speakers in my home that constantly ask what I want, even when I haven’t asked for anything. One friend even admitted they kept all their photos on their company’s server — including the sexy ones. “I mean, I KNOW I should move them,” they said, “but I don’t know how to make a cloud.”

Don’t worry, this person, who I’ve granted anonymity to because I sincerely worry they wouldn’t think to ask for it after telling me this heinous fact, is going to let me set up a new cloud drive for them and all their saucy pics. So they’ll be fine… I hope.

We’ve all made some dumb ass privacy moves online. Once, when I was desperate for an Xbox and had zero money, I happily gave up my name, address, and credit card info to enter what was very, very, very clearly a pyramid scheme. I am still waiting for that Xbox and the $50 they took and assured me would result in said Xbox if I was just patient.

You’ve probably got a very dumb story of your own. So what’s the dumbest privacy choice you’ve made?

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