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Protect Your Privacy

Concerned Someone May View Your Internet Tracks?

Please note: This is not intended to be a "catch-all" to eliminate all of your internet tracks. It is, however, a good way to keep the typical user from knowing exactly what websites you have been viewing. However, technologically savvy individuals may be able to track your internet usage regardless of the steps you take. Use these tips at your own discretion and risk.

There are two easy ways to protect your browsing privacy. The first is to enable private browsing before you start a session you wish to keep private. The second method is to erase your browsing history after the fact. Since both of these methods are useful, we'll cover them both.

Click the subcategories below to quickly navigate to that part of the page:

Enable "Private Browsing"

 

Erasing Your Browsing History - Harddrive

 

Erasing Your History In Your Browser

 

Take the following steps to reasonably protect your privacy:

Enabling Private Browsing

Many modern web browsers contain options that allow you to enable a temporary private browsing mode, which saves no history of your activity to your computer or device. The methods of activating these private modes vary from browser to browser so we can't cover them all here, but we'll cover some of the popular choices. If your browser isn't listed here, you can try a Google search for "[YOUR DEVICE OR BROWSER] enable private browsing".

To activate Microsoft Internet Explorer 10's "InPrivate" mode :

  1. Click the gear icon on the upper right.
  2. Select "Safety".
  3. Select "InPrivate Browsing"

To activate Mozilla FireFox's Private browsing:

  1. Click the menu icon on the upper right - it looks like three horizontal lines - or click "File" at the top.
  2. Click the mask icon to open a new Private Browsing window (or click on "New Private window").

To activate Google Chrome's Incognito mode:

  1. Click the menu icon on the upper right - it looks like three horizontal lines.
  2. Click "New Incognito window".

To activate private browsing in Safari (iPad/iPhone):

  1. Launch Safari from the Home screen of your iPhone or iPad.
  2. Tap on the show pages icon in the lower right hand navigation.
  3. Tap on "Private" in the lower left hand corner.
  4. You may be prompted to close or keep all current tabs open. Either choice is fine.
  5. Tap Done in the lower right hand corner.

Deleting Internet History/"Clearing your Cookies"

Benefits of clearing your history and 'cookies:'

  • Improves browser speeds (loading and closing times)
  • Reasonably keeps others from being able to view sites you have been to

Things to keep in mind when you clear your cookies:

  • When you delete cookies, any passwords or user names that log you in automatically will be deleted and you will have to manually put them back in (to avoid this, see tip 3)
  • This is meant to be a tool, not a solution to erasing your internet tracks
  • There are two methods to delete cookies. One is going into your hard drive (VERY easy) and will allow you to select which cookies you want to delete. Perhaps you want to ensure all the other sites remain on your computer for easy selection from your history list and just want to delete advocates-oz.org from your list, there is a method to do that also. Another is to delete all of your cookies, history, and temporary internet files from your computer through your browser (even easier).

IF YOUR BROWSER IS NOT LISTED HERE:

You can most likely find out how to cover your tracks by searching Google for "Clear cookies on [YOUR BROWSER HERE]"). In most cases you will be using the most up-to-date version of your browser. However, if this is not the case, you can determine your exact version from within the browser itself by clicking the "Help" menu and then selecting the "About" option.

Manual Selection (Hard drive) - Internet Explorer Only

If you would like to only select the cookies on your computer and delete them manually (one by one), use these tips. Please be careful not to delete more than what you wish to.

Internet Explorer:

  1. Close all your internet windows (browsers).
  2. Select your Start menu, then Search, then type in: cookies.txt
  3. Once the Cookie folder is found, open it.
  4. The list of text files with names of the form user@sitename, . These are the cookie files.
  5. Select the cookies you want to delete. Be sure not to delete the cookies from sites you visit frequently.
  6. Delete the unwanted cookies.

Tip:

To delete more than one item at once, press SHIFT + CTRL while highlighting the file names.

Deletion of All Internet Cookies, History, and Temporary Internet Files (a more comprehensive delete) DONE IN YOUR BROWSER (Internet Window)

Microsoft Internet Explorer 5.x and 6.x users:

  1. Clicking the "View" menu.
  2. Click on "Internet Options".
  3. Clicking "Delete Cookies".

Microsoft Internet Explorer 10 users:

  1. Click the gear in the upper right hand corner and select "Internet Options".
  2. Select the "General" tab.
  3. Under the heading "Browser History" click the "Delete" button.
  4. Check the boxes for "Cookies and website data", "History" and "Download History".
  5. Click the "Delete" button at the bottom of the box.

Mozilla Firefox 1.0 users:

Mozilla Firefox 1.0 users can delete the cookies on their hard disk drive by clicking the "Tools" menu, "Options", clicking the "Privacy" button, and under "Cookies" click the Clear button.

Mozilla Firefox (newer) users:

  1. Click "History" at the top of the browser.
  2. Click "Clear Recent History".
  3. If you are concerned about the deletion of your history being suspicious to someone, you can click the box at the top marked "Time Range to Clear" and adjust how much history to delete. This could allow you to delete just your most recent histoy and leave the rest intact, which is much less likely to draw suspecion. Otherwise, to ensure you cover your tracks as well as possible, this box should be set to "Everything".
  4. Click the button next to 'Details'. This will reveal a box allowing you to check which parts of the history to delete.
  5. Make sure "Browsing & Download History", "Form and Search History", "Cache" and "Cookies" are all checked.
  6. Click the "Clear Now" button at the bottom of the box.

Google Chrome users:

  1. Click the menu icon on the upper right - it looks like three horizontal lines.
  2. Click "History".
  3. Click "Clear Browsing data..." at the top.
  4. Make sure "Browsing History", "Download History", "Cookies and other site and plug-in data" and "Cached images and files" are all checked.
  5. Click 'Clear Browsing Data'.

Opera users

Opera users can manage, disable, and enable their cookies by clicking the "File" menu, "Preferences", and selecting "Privacy".

Safari users (iPad and iPhone):

Method 1:

  1. Select the 'Settings' icon, usually on the home screen of your device.
  2. Select the option labeled 'Safari' on the left.
  3. Select 'Clear History' at the bottom right.
  4. Select 'Clear'.
  5. It is advisable to also select the 'Clear Cookies' and 'Clear Cache' options as well once you have cleared the history.

Method 2:

  1. Open your web brower on your mobile device.
  2. Select the 'Bookmarks' button at the top of the screen.
  3. Select 'History' at the top of the bookmarks menu.
  4. Select 'Clear History' at the upper right hand corner of the History menu.
  5. Select 'Clear History'.