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The Bi Men Network presents
PC Privacy
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Part One Covering Up Your Internet Trails or...
PC Privacy and Playing Safe On The Net
by Len Rogers

In today's world of fast paced worldwide Internet communication it is easy to not think about trails. We read about "cookies" and hear about "SpyWare." How does that affect you the individual just surfing around? Can we really believe the horror stories we hear about family finding something on the PC? The oh so rampant emails daily about "Protect your privacy -they see where you surf!" do they tell a tale of truth? Yes and no.

Your PC does save information gathered on the Internet. It is possible for someone to see that you paid a visit to particular websites. In some cases the intruder/seeker could even see if you carried on a conversation and what was said, as in some MIRC chat features as just one example. This of course could create problems. For the person seeking or needing discretion a cookie or site reference could mean some interesting questions. However, I believe you can do a lot to protect yourself without spending money on programs, that you would have to justify. After all, why do you need to cover your tracks if you do not really have any tracks to cover?

Understand that browsers archive and or save information to make the next page load easier, exchange information, and count visitor returns. Some cookies can collect data on where you surf for advertising purposes. This way they send you the right ads. That could be fun, hmmm. Most cookies merely act as a traffic counter or to make the visit more personal as in member areas of websites. This is not bad, but can be interesting to explain why or who was surfing a particular site, or why a pop-up for "Guy in Town" popped up to the wrong PC user.

A quick visit to your systems "Temporary Internet Files" after surfing can eradicate many trails. First lets talk "cookies." They will be listed as text documents in this file. Some will say cookie, others may say cgi etc. They may be deleted. You can delete member site cookies; it just means you will need to sign in each time you return. Choose a simple username and password. Life will be easier without a cookie to  on your PC to explain. Of course some cookies are fine like those to your bank etc.

Also in the same, Temporary Internet Files you should look for images. Icons, and other files your system is holding for various reasons. This information is held to make future surfing easier, so that images do not need to reload. Not desirable for many reasons. Takes your space, and why wouldn't you want to see the newest information on a website? Again they can be deleted; you will just need to reload on your next visit.

You should also not "Bookmark" or make such a website a "Favorite." Both or either are maintained in a file which will tell anyone who looks where you like to travel. Just remember the URL or Internet address. You can always do a search for your favorite discrete website on Yahoo or Google and then go to the website through them. Each time you type in an URL in the address bar it is stored in the address bar drop down box. Visited links are also stored in history. So you must clear history frequently as well.

These few steps will not take much time and free space on your machine. Not to mention the piece of mind from not having to answer questions best not asked. There are more ways to secure your PC and we will add here in the future. This is a great starting point to take control of what your PC has to say about you. Of course what you save in your PC is another issue to be discussed in a later article. We will be adding your questions and answers here as well to assist in information sharing. No names will be posted only the questions and answers in information format. If however you have an immediate need feel free to send specific questions to me at

Have a great day and surf safe!

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