In my mind the question of whether or not what you post on a public domain can be brought back to use against you is kind of moot. If your work on your domain is public and on the Web you should assume that anyone could have a copy of it and could use it against you (see archive.org). If you’re working in a private space on your domain, that’s different (and you do need to be able to rely upon your host to provide a level of security for your private data) but, generally, when we’re talking about DoOO with student sand faculty we are talking about public presence.

At that point, the danger is something happening to your host and you losing your data, which is a real issue. The first domains we registered at UMW were with a less-than-reliable host who went belly-up three months into our 12 month account. We lost our data (if we hadn’t backed it up) and we lost our domains because they had been registered to the host not to us. We learned an important lesson.

We could host ourselves and maintain our own servers (which was beyond our expertise and resources) or we could be smarter about how we proceeded. Domain of One’s Own is about empowerment, but empowerment comes with responsibility. (Sort of like tenure.) It’s on us to backup our data (in case our host goes under), to update our applications (so our sites continue to work), to create and remember strong passwords (so our accounts don’t get hacked). Learning these lessons is part of becoming a capable digital citizen. So we still host with a company and we register domains through a domain registrar (because there is no other option). It’s not perfect, but perfect isn’t real.What is real is standing apart from what we’ve long done on the Web in our schools by proclaiming that people deserve to have spaces on the Web over which they have as much control as we can give them. They deserve to own their data, to take it with them when they need to, and to delete it when they want to.