How to Manage your Digital Identity

“You have zero privacy anyway. Get over it”.
Scott G. McNealy CEO of Sun Microsystems Inc. January 26, 1999

Browsers & your Digital Footprint – I don’t think tech4boomers can cover the privacy on-line topic too often. In fact, in March 2012 we published a post “The Scoop About On-line Snooping”) where we covered this topic.

Every time we  revisit this topic, there are new techniques and products, which claim that they can “fix” this very perplexing issue of how to protect our identities and the information being gathered by browsers (e.g. Google) on the World Wide Web (www).

Nowadays, every time we use the Internet our “habits” (e.g. places we like to visit, and spend money and time) are being recorded by “cookies”.

Cookies are messages that web servers pass to your webbrowser when you visit Internet sites. Your browser stores each message in a small file, called cookie.txt. When you request another page from the server, your browser sends the cookie back to the server. These files typically contain information about your visit to the web page, as well as any information you’ve volunteered, such as your name and interests. via What are cookies? – Knowledge Base.

Our dependency on the www makes it very difficult to avoid information being gathered about our on-line habits.  For example, every time we email, pay bills, order on-line, or use skype, information is being gathered about us. Google has in fact confirmed that it gathers information when you use its browser.  Opposite to what you might expect, Google has also produced a set of guidelines on how to protect yourself from its on-line “snooping“.

What Can You Do About It?

Recently I came across an article “How to Erase Your Digital Footprint”, by Jeffrey A. Lambert – Maximum PC. A summary of that article states the following:

visiting web sites produces “tracking cookies” on your computer.  Cookies allow these websites to keep track of your online preferences.

 the Network Advertising Initiative (NAI) is working towards providing solutions and making consumers aware of the practices.

 there are tools available that can be added to your computer for constant monitoring and control to help you find out how big your digital footprint is.

Digital Footprint Calculator will estimate your digital footprint.  This is a service from EMC Corporation.

on a daily basis Google “pings” your browser for information about browsing history. This helps them to target advertising.

  “free” software is available which helps to determine how often Google is “pinging” your computer browser. e.g. Google Alarm by F.A.T. Labs  will give you a visual or audio alert when personal information is sent to google servers.

Simply cleaning out your cache of cookies on your computer will aid you in safe browsing. Check your preferences option in your browser and click the “delete cookies” option.  However, be aware customization on sites you visit will also be deleted.

There is much more to learn about various techniques that can help you reduce this concern.  Check out the full details by clicking the link below.

Erasing Your Digital Footprint -via Maximum PC | How To Erase Your Digital Footprint.

I hope this is helpful! 🙂

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