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Online Privacy

No Such Thing! (As Online Privacy)

I see the ads all the time for programs that will give me online privacy.

Folks, don't believe it, there is no such thing as online privacy. You may be able to do some surfing anonymously, but that's about it. Of course, if you absolutely never send an email to anyone or absolutely never sign up to view content or anything else, never post anything anywhere you may have some privacy. If you delete all your Temporary Internet files very frequently, always delete all cookies and all emails, then you may have some online privacy. However, traces and tracks of what you do will remain somewhere in cyberspace and on your computer.

The best policy is to follow these simple steps.

1. Don't turn on your computer and go online, ever.

2. If you decide to disregard # 1, then create an online identity. False name, false address, made-up phone #, a web email address with the false name and be very choosy about where you go while online. Totally wipe your drive and re-install your OS every week (or day). This will remove the stuff on your computer, although a determined computer forensic expert can usually retrieve the information.

Now since none of us are going to go to all of that nonsense, just use some common sense. Assume that everything you do online is not private. Just don't post anything you wouldn't want your mother or employer to see and you will probably be OK. Emails are likely to be on someone's server for years, if not forever! Search engines can find stuff you posted that you think is trivial and someone will read it.

As a general rule it isn't very smart to give out your personal details on public forums or web site sign ups, unless it is a secure site. Even then you need to be careful and make sure you are signing up on a legitimate site. If you don't know how to make sure, then don't sign up.

The Internet can be a very useful tool and if used properly, can help resolve problems and provide information on just about everything. However, there is a lot of wrong information out there and some just plain goofy stuff.