Online privacy tips: 3 ways to control your digital footprint

Christine asked about her digital footprint: “What can I do about it.”

Like real footprints, your digital tracks leave a record of where you’ve been and what you’ve done. They show your searches, what you bought, which sites you visited, and the opinions you’ve expressed on social media.

Many for-profit companies, both legitimate and criminal, can make a profit out of knowing you better. Governments also like to get into the act.

So it’s a good idea to get control of your digital footprint.

[Have a tech question? Ask PCWorld Contributing Editor Lincoln Spector. Send your query to [email protected].]

1. Be careful in social media

In any online services you’re using, check the privacy settings. On Facebook, for instance, you’ll find them by clicking the lock icon in the upper-left corner of the screen and going through the various options.

But that’s not enough. Before you post your status, re-examine what you’re saying and showing and ask yourself if this is something you’d want your parents, your kids, your in-laws, your boss, or the IRS to read. And then make sure you’re sending it only to the people you want to see it.

0125 facebook privacy 2

But that’s not enough. Before you post your status, re-examine what you’re saying and showing and ask yourself if this is something you’d want your parents, your kids, your in-laws, your boss, or the IRS to read. And then make sure you’re sending it only to the people you want to see it.

2. Use multiple identities

The information you share with one website can be combined with information from another, creating a more complete record of who you are. To protect yourself, try to be different people at different sites.

3 Comments
  1. Reply John 15.08.2016 at 09:56

    There is almost no way to hide your activity from all on-line services and sites at once — anyway they can know your hardware (PCs and mobile devices), screen resolution, specific time zone, operating system, browser version and more. If you want to be really hidden, you have to avoid using Internet at all or become a technically skilled user. I don’t think that we have to hide all our private data, but some tips from this article can be used without doubt.

  2. Reply Diana 05.09.2016 at 16:26

    I try not to show off much on facebook. It`s easy to hide from some people from the past you don`t wanna know anymore just be not mentioning the city where you`re from. In my case it works.

  3. Reply Erika 05.09.2016 at 16:33

    Actually that`s what i do! I have a few mail addresses and all my accounts are private so that only so-called “friends” can see what i share. I hate it when my ex`s are looking through my stuff so i have to watch out 😉

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