Online: Covering your online tracks …

It’s no secret that there are no secrets on the internet.

Google an item and related ads start appearing on seemingly all websites you visit.

Post something on Facebook, and suddenly ads become a lot more personal.

Pick up the phone during election season and the caller mysteriously knows your’ political hot buttons.

As we posted before, if you think that you’re being followed around on the net … you’re right.

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So how do you avoid having your browsing linked to your real identity online?

The Wall StreetJournal offers up a couple of ideas:

  1. Log Out of Social Networks … don’t “stay signed in” or just leave the page … log out.
  2. Don’t “like” anything … it just triggers another piece profile data
  3. When done  on a site, clear its cookies … more on this below.
  4. Establish one or more non-personal email addresses … e.g. NotReallyMe@Yahoo.com  … and use it when signing up for newsletters, etc
  5. Use aliases – unless, of course, when you’re buying something (that would be fraud) … there is no rule that says you need to use your real or full name online to, say, just sign-up with a site.

These steps will keep your profile from growing, but remember, they’ve already got a lot of info on you.

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Clearing cookies on a site

OK, here’s my value-added … a handy trick.

If you want to clear the cookies from a site you’ve been visiting, simply hit F12 (while still browsing the site) and a coding box appears at the bottom.

Don’t be intimidated by the box … a couple of clicks are all that’s required.

Simply click the “Cache” button on the ribbon and a drop down menu will appear.

Then, click “Clear cookies for (this) domain” and you’re done.

The cookies for the site will be automatically purged.

To get rid of the coding box, just hit F12 again.

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3 Responses to “Online: Covering your online tracks …”

  1. Tags Says:

    CCleaner is a great free tool that cleans up a good amount of “stuff” on your computer including cookies and cache.

  2. John Carpenter Says:

    Have you ever right clicked the Flash Video window, like the one in this post, and then clicked “Global Settings”? It will show what Flash is storing concerning flash video sites you have visited. These files store info on past visits and it can be accessed by 3rd parties. It is not deleted when you delete browsing history or cache. I have set mine to disallow storage with no apparent adverse side effects.

  3. Steve Says:

    Another good technique: InPrivate browsing.

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