- What does my search history reveal about me?
- How can I change my browser settings to keep my internet activity more private?
- How do the websites I visit keep track of what I do?
Consider these questions as you review the examples below.
With the public’s rising concern for online privacy, the search for anonymity online is more pressing than ever. Despite high demand, so far it has proven impossible to truly browse anonymously. Using a Tor-browser maybe the next best option, but this may come with higher rates of surveillance.
A first step toward cleaning up your digital footprints is to actively manage your browser history. Digital Tattoo made a online tutorial which you can view here. Additionally, users can take steps to control their cookies online; these are small pieces of code that are stored on your machine and identify you to the websites you visit. Cookies can be managed by using browser settings. Additionally browser extensions like Adblock Plus, Ghostery and Do Not Track me directly block website cookies from storing information about you.
Watch our Think Before You Ink video below to learn about about online cookies and internet advertisements.
Cookies are essential to keep track of individual actions on a website. They make it convenient to do what we need to do on the internet. For example, they allow Amazon to store info about your browsing history and previous purchases so that they can recommend books for you. Cookies associate data you have submitted to online forms with your unique ID, so that you don’t have to re-enter that info every time you visit the site. They also make it possible for website analytics (like Google Analytics) to accurately track user visits.
- Cookies are necessary for site personalization (such as Google Chrome, MSNBC, BBC or Netvibes) and to participate in many online courses at UBC. Many browser extensions let the user choice which (if any) cookies to approve.
- Your computer keeps a record of the websites you visit. Your internet history is a chronological list of URLs you’ve visited (which can also be arranged by frequency of use). Your computer also stores temporary internet files from individual websites you access.
- If somebody else has access to your computer (physically, through cookies, or by hacking) they will be able to find out which sites you visit. This could be a problem if you save your password on your favorite sites since an attacker might be able to visit the site and pose as you.