Survive France discussion used in a Scottish newspaper!

I get a feed from The Local France and was more than a bit shocked to discover that a conversation that was meant for THIS GROUP ONLY was online in two places --- -- and then the link is posted to the article in a Scottish newspaper.

The Scottish journalist logged onto THIS forum (perhaps she is one of our members?) and she has 'lifted' the essentials of 20 pages of our members' comments as the start of her weekend article. I was rather surprised and disconcerted to find it there.

She has apparently had some issues with her own life in France, but that's not what I find unsettling. It's that she took content material from a closed forum. At least she didn't use our names or the name of the group!

However, any idea that we, as a group might be protected from intrusion and identification, was blown right out of the water when the article above was trumpeted on bloody Facebook by our administrator.


I'm not going to be drawn into an argument with you -- and the two places were posted with links in my original note to the group informing them that segments of our group discussion had been used in a newspaper article.

Not sure why you find the act of informing people to be scaremongering.

Subscribe to the Herald! The paper is so low key and Murdochish that the nine-letter-word 'subscribe' is longer than the longest in their readers' vocabularies! So, not many people pay then ;-)

I've read some of her other work in the Scottish Herald on line until they had the cheek to suggest I might want to subscribe. The most awful musing type tosh that makes Barbara look like Carl Bernstein.

Has anyone posted a comment to the article that was published in Scotland? I’ve just read the article. I’m half French and have lived here since 1978. The attitude in villages that she describes ALSO happens to FRENCH people who are not born and raised in the village - I’ve seen it happen. So it’s not really anti foreign…unless you agree to a different definition of what “foreign” means.
And the Front National vote is a whole other debate…many French people abstain from voting at all, or vote for this fascist party with the desire to shock the more moderate right wing party into acting more conservative. A “protest vote” of sorts… to the point that voters seem to forget that the real purpose of an election is to elect someone! This combination of abstention and “protest voting” lead to the debacle one presidential year with the fascist candidate in the runoff with the right wing candidate Chirac, with Chirac elected, receiving more than 85% of the vote.
The article seems to me to be the typical journalism of today: doom and gloom and ominous stories to “sell” the paper.

I Hate FB. Period.

You are receiving a mental 'thumbs up' for that comment, David.

A wise statement, Vic.

Idle idle "journalism" . Why write something original when you can simply plagiarise.

Just 'cos you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not spreading your stuff all over the internet.

Well it is not me.

Thank you, Tracy. I feel a bit more empowered today because I went through my posts and deleted all of the truly personal stuff.

It's just a shame that this has happened in a newspaper and that the 'reporter' thought that she could discuss people's personal posts with such ease. It does actually make me reluctant to ever, EVER do the amount of sharing that I did in the past.

Yep, she probably is watching to see if any of us have 'noticed' that our privacy was invaded. Wouldn't bother to send her an email though -- that's like being a fish after she has thrown out a line with a hook on it. It might just feed her ego.

And by the way, good for you for looking her up and reporting back to us!

Deborah, if this was Facebook, I would have pressed the 'like' button for this comment. Hope you are Ok - I understand how you must feel but hope you feel a bit better now.

Well I didn't know SFN was shared with FB but then. in my innocence, I know very little about things like this & tend to take things at face value. I realise that a Google search will bring up the SFN stuff but one surely has to make a conscious effort to do that. If I'm correct, anyone on FB can see our stuff at the click of a mouse. I joined SFN to help & be helped, not to feed the salacious appetite of FB people. It's the sharing without my knowledge thing that pisses me off. If I knew I would have had a choice as to whether I posted in this place which now seems a bit like Speakers Corner. I'm sitting here imagining all those FB folks wetting themselves reading our posts & I'm not comfortable with that!

My point about the hacking cases exactly, times have indeed changed.

Valid points -- and I believe in taking responsibility for my actions.

Sooooo -- I am holding up my hand and saying that yes, I probably posted far too much personal stuff over the last few years about all sorts of topics. But no, I didn't actually know that strangers outside of our "blood sacrifice in a dark cave" group (loved that!) could read our stuff. Silly me!

I was a working journalist for quite a long time and my head editor would have strung me up for doing what this 'reporter' has done and written about afterwards. How times have changed, eh?

Look at it this way, there is so much information available that had you been interviewed by your local newspaper and a lazy reporter (I shall not use journalist) picks it up, thinks it'll make a nice little story, hides some info and puts it up as though he or she went out and interviewed the person, what would the difference be. Openly published things like SFN are easy to poach but as the News of the World and Daily Mirror (the ones who have been caught) stories reveal, it is easy to get at personal details. Snowden alerted us to the fact that everything we do bar sneeze (and perhaps that even) is collected.

I write academic articles and books, they are in the human rights domain (children, but nonetheless) and am quite easy to track down. The problem is that there are other people with my name, one or two of them up to no good or have been in the past, so I get tarred with their brush. That makes me (making this up) a dangerous commie who has scammed insurance companies out of millions (I wish) and have a second hand car business in Peckham with a partner named Derek. Either we live with it or we stay entirely out of it, but everything else you do is recorded so what is the difference at the end of the day.

I have had a quite nasty spat on Facebook, it was an open forum that has been closed now for quite some time because of what somebody implied I am, whereby the moderator knows me. So they got embroiled in a tussle. When the forum went closed, somehow the 'offender' stayed in although she had no reason to be in it in the first place. That was put directly to Facebook to resolve which they only eventually did reluctantly. I am not a Facebook fan as it happens, less so since then but I still have a look every couple of days. Ultimately though, if anybody wanted to use any of what they glean from Facebook or any other pages then usually they would have too little data to do much with. That is why there are hackers who will more or less walk into your hard disk and have everything without you ever noticing. They go phishing, dipping into as many people as it takes to get something worth going for and then doing whatever they want which might be having everything in your bank or identity theft for false passports. The possibilities are infinitesimal.

So, what is the option? Well, we might all gang up and demand that Tim Berners-Lee un-invent the WWW that opened all of this up or go completely offline ourselves. Bad choice if the latter given that banks, insurance, electricity providers, phone companies and so on are gradually forcing us to pay everything electronically. Then all possibility of online orders are lost. The list in long and getting longer.

I find what that reporter did was impertinent to say the very least because nothing was said to anybody here, so it is just a crib that she wants to use to look clever. The links to Facebook and other networks are patently clear on SFN but give away nothing more than this site itself. As for closed forum, well if that reporter is one of the several thousand members there is no way it could have been avoided and if SFN was closed to all but 'trustworthy' members who have sworn secrecy over a blood sacrifice in a dark cave somewhere, how would new members join? No, SFN is not just handing out our info, I am a member as well as part of the administration group, it is more or less universally available out there anyway. The risk here is no higher than elsewhere and unless we have something really dodgy to hide is part of our everyday reality for good or bad.

Hi Vic (and Deborah)

Don't think Catharine or James are on line at the moment but yes many of the pages on SFN are shared on the SFN Facebook page. Have to say I have not read the T & C on here but you should be very concerned about anything you write on any public forum, even if it is in a closed group. SFN has never professed to be a closed forum, indeed it is more public than most as we don't hide behind pseudonyms, which contributes to the great discussions we have on here.

Not sure where the bosses are today but I would imagine they are quite concerned about journalists taking quotes from SFN without permission. Having said that, no names have been used, either your name or the network name so it is the equivalent of someone overhearing a discussion in a public place then going on to write an article about it. Does that mean you mustn't talk in public any more?

You have both contributed to great discussions on SFN and it would be a shame if this were not to continue. I can only advise you and everyone else, that anything one posts on the Internet, in any form, should be considered as standing up and making a public announcement or publishing it in a newspaper, no matter where you type it.

No, my dear Shirley -- I never thought that it was you! But I find it to be quite ridiculous to be sitting here for hours though -- quietly and patiently deleting posts from years gone by because I have only just discovered that ANYONE can read what we have been sharing with one another. (sigh!)