Technology in terms you understand. Sign up for the Confident Computing newsletter for weekly solutions to make your life easier. Click here and get The Ask Leo! Guide to Staying Safe on the Internet — FREE Edition as my thank you for subscribing!

You Can’t Un-Ring a Bell

Become a Patron of Ask Leo! and go ad-free!


Show Transcript

Do this

Subscribe to Confident Computing! Less frustration and more confidence, solutions, answers, and tips in your inbox every week.

I'll see you there!

Podcast audio


32 comments on “You Can’t Un-Ring a Bell”

  1. Hi Leo – did you realise there is no transcript of this video on the website?

    As it is 16 mins long, I was hoping to be able to skim read the transcript, but when I click on the button, it just says “coming soon”. But 24 hours later there is no sign of it.

    Is it coming?

    Many thanks for all your great advice by the way!

    Cheers, Helen.

    • Hi Leo, I was going to post anyway to THANK YOU for going to the trouble to give transcripts of your videos. It annoys me immensely that so much info is now only available in video, That’s fine for demonstating something that needs, or at least benefits from video (like how to collimate a telescope), but in so many cases it’s the author being lazy, I think – easier to make an informal video that type out something where traditionally little matters like spelling, grammar and syntax matter more! With you we get to have the choice! What more could one want!

      • For the record I do sympathise with videographers that choose not to post a transcript. It’s not cheap. It’s not expensive, but it definitely costs to have someone (Hi Andrea!) do the work. Machine-generated closed-captioning, like those available on most YouTube videos, aren’t quite there yet either – and of course that’s not presented as a transcript.

  2. I know that you can’t address all solutions to the photo sharing problem. But, what I find interesting most times is, that people don’t resize there photos when putting them on such services as Flickr and Facebook. Posting the full size photo gives everyone the best possible image to use, particularly far off commercial companies.

    • See what you mean but the point of me sending a photo to my daughter is that she can see it all in its glory and copy and print it.
      Given what’s being described in the article it makes no difference which media you use email or flickr they all copy it.
      The only other means is snail mail, rather defeats the purpose of instant communication not to mention time and cost.

      • Dan’s comments apply particularly to social media sites where unknown parties can copy your photos. Emailing or sharing them through a site like Dropbox or OneDrive would prevent third party copying unless, of course, those accounts were hacked.

  3. Makes me want to use what I understand is a search engine that does not track me. And maybe I’ll change privacy settings in Windows 10. But at the same time I do like the Cortana option.

  4. Something confirming ABSOLUTELY what you were talking about.
    A person I know was having a paid up search job in USA and he was asking about what Laptop-PC should he buy there as they are less expensive than in Canada.
    I wrote to him on AOL an e-mail specifications of what he should try to get. Lenovo, 8 GB memory, quad processor AMD, 1 TB HDD.
    To my surprise, while doing something on a browser (not AOL!!), I got a message on my screen that I DID NOT ASK FOR, giving specifications EXACTLY OF WHAT I DESCRIBED and stating that for one day (ONLY!!) there is $70 off and a price better than average in Canada and the price in CANADIAN DOLLARS although it is shipped from USA!!!!

    I wrote about it to numerous friends and colleagues and more surprisingly, some of them wrote about similar experiences!!!!!!! One described it as “Target Marketing!!!!”
    Believe it or not…This is a true VERY REAL HAPPENING!!!

      • Does it mean that whatever data I stored on cloud (E.g. Onedrive, dropbox, google drive, amazon…) (data only accessible with my own login), after I remove the file/data, there is still a copy somewhere in the cloud server and someone else can see the file/data? Is it only a copy on that cloud company server or is that copy also available to the public?


        • If you delete the files on your computer, they will be removed from the Dropbox, OneDrive etc websites. Ie. if you log on to your account, the files will sometimes still be available in the trash folders. And as the article states, those files will reside somewhere in the form of archives and backups for some indeterminate time, possibly forever. Those files will likely be encrypted and generally only accessible by law enforcement officials.

          None of those file on cloud storage servers are ever made available to the public if those companies are doing their job correctly. The only files which are publicly available are the ones you make public by creating a link to them, and even then those files are only available to those who know the link (not that secure, so be careful not to create non-encrypted public links to sensitive files). Any public links you created to those files and sent to people would no longer work once you’ve deleted the files.

  5. I seem to remember that, some years ago, I read somewhere that Facebook records every keystroke made by any given user, and that record is retained, EVEN IF THAT USER DELETES ALL THE TEXT THAT HE/SHE HAS TYPED!

    I understood from the article that this applies, EVEN IF THE USER CANCELLED THE POST – I don’t mean deleted it after posting: I mean, that the user changed his/her mind, and decided not to go ahead and post.

    I also understaood from the article that the reason Facebook records the text as it’s being typed, is to improve the targetting of advertisements to any given user.

    Just my 2¢ worth… :)

    Does anyone else remember reading this article, or something similar? I’m fairly sure that it could be anything up to 5 years ago when I saw the article, and I seriously doubt that I could find a link to it now, but if I do, I’ll post it here.

    • I don’t believe that Facebook records every keystroke. That’s a little too “conspiracy theory” for me. They do, obviously, work with the text as you type (it’s how they automatically turn names of Facebook friends and pages into links, for example), so they could, of course. But man that’d be a lot of text. I doubt very seriously that they’re recording it.

      Comes back to another of my maxims: don’t use services you don’t trust. (Or, don’t use them further than you trust them.) If even the possibility concerns you, then your only recourse is to get off of Facebook.

      • I don’t believe in most conspiracy theories either, but it does seem like they do record all key strokes. They also have the ‘Friend is typing’ feature on articles which is additional evidence that they are recording it. Whether they save them and use them is another story, although if there a way to monetize those keystrokes, I wouldn’t be surprised if they took advantage of it. No conspiracy, just monetization.

        • “Friend is typing” only means that they notice the typing happens. THat’s NO indication that they’re being recorded. (Recorded to me means saving them somewhere.)

      • I don’t believe that they record it either but, as you say, they certainly could. In fact, Facebook’s data scientists did exactly that in a study on self-censorship behaviour…..

        “For our purposes, we operationalize “self-censorship” as any non-trivial content that users began to write on Face- book but ultimately did not post. This method is fast and ightweight enough to not affect users’ experience of Face- book. We also believe that this approach captures the es- sence of self-censorship behavior: The users produced con- tent, indicating intent to share, but ultimately decided against sharing.”

  6. Very many thanks for the informative advice Leo. Although I know that once posted it’s there for all to see, I didn’t realise just how wide scale it is!! Forewarned is forearmed and I shall be thinking twice in future thanks to your kind help.
    A very Merry Christmas to you, a safe, healthy and Happy New Year too!
    Best wishes, Sue

  7. Some years ago a client hired me to write several articles including specific SEO phrases and post them on a number of free article websites. These are copyright free websites where anyone can post articles and anyone can copy the info as presented to other websites. I was amazed at how quickly these proliferated around the world (which was just what the client wanted). Although they no longer appear (thankfully) at the top if you search on my name, they are still out there. I just searched on a few of my titles and see some have been turned into YouTube videos (and no longer include my byline).

    • Worse are podcasts, even including my own. Music download (aka theft) sites will go around and suck up anything that even looks like an “mp3”, and copy it to their sites. So I regularly get reports of my podcast episodes on all sorts of questionable sites.

  8. Leo, Very interesting video! Firefox has an app that will retrieve a deleted website or page thereof. I lost pages of my website and am able to access them with the Firefox app. I assume it accesses a cache from some search engine.

  9. Now that you have explained in great details what happens to data uploaded online, I can tell you with a big “YES”, it is scary enough. By the way, I am taking the opportunity to wish you and your family a prosperous, happy and especially HEALTHY (the most important) new Year!


Leave a reply:

Before commenting please:

  • Read the article.
  • Comment on the article.
  • No personal information.
  • No spam.

Comments violating those rules will be removed. Comments that don't add value will be removed, including off-topic or content-free comments, or comments that look even a little bit like spam. All comments containing links and certain keywords will be moderated before publication.

I want comments to be valuable for everyone, including those who come later and take the time to read.