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Maintaining Your Privacy Online


How do I keep private things private online?


This question was answered on December 16, 2005. Much of the information contained herein may have changed since posting.

It’s becoming increasingly more difficult to keep your private information private online But, it can be done by heeding this advice:

1. Check your shopping cart for security.

Often, the problem isn't malfeasance but inexperience Some electronic "storefronts" install shopping carts without the proper safeguards When viewing a shopping cart, verify the yellow padlock icon is present, meaning your activities are being encrypted Improperly secured shopping carts could allow a thief access to your contact info and credit card number, yikes!

2. Use an anonymizer when surfing the Web.

These programs work by acting as an intermediary between you and the sites you visit, hiding your identity from invasive tracking measures You access their "proxy server" site and then type in a Web page URL for the site you ultimately want to visit Essentially, you're now coming to your desired site through the anonymizer's gateway Because you are, your targeted site's servers won't be able to identify who you are Most anonymizers will let you turn off these safeguards for sites that you trust There’s a product, conveniently called Anonymizer that works well; you can learn more about it here.

3. Hide your personally identifiable information and camouflage your cookies.

Lumeria is a software product that helps you hide individually identifiable data and then allows you to charge companies to see it This company believes that if information about you is valuable to a business, then businesses should pay for it Lumeria also allows you to obfuscate your Web surfing tracks by providing inaccurate "cookie" information to websites Learn more about Lumeria here.

Of course, all of the common sense privacy rules apply: Don’t be liberal with your information online, even if the website is (or seems to be) legitimate Use credit cards – not debit cards – when making online purchases Check your credit report occasionally for any discrepancies Cheers!

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Posted by Chad of Data Doctors on December 16, 2005