About Internet Privacy
There are many ways in which personal information can be inadvertently or unwittingly disclosed over the Internet.
- Disclosure of email addresses could be used to send you junk email.
- Knowledge of your password could result in someone breaking into your bank account over the web.
- Information of the sites you visit and the pages that you view on such sites could result in a profile being taken of you with junk e-mail tailored to your profile being sent to your email.
The following list describes some of the ways that personal information can be gathered on the Internet. In understanding these methods, you can prevent accidental disclosure of personal information.
- When you transmit information on the internet, a third party could unlawfully intercept such information. When information is being sent unencrypted, such information is available to be intercepted.
- Some sites ask you to register before allowing you to review articles or newspapers at the site even if the service is free. The web site will sometimes ask for your e-mail address, phone numbers, and street address. Sometimes the information that is gathered is sold as part of a mailing list to those who want to send spam (junk mail).
- Your emails are sent through mail servers, which are computers that relay messages from one mail server to another until the destination site is reached. At any mail server, the persons who maintain the server can read your email. While it is unlikely that most servers are being administered by individuals who are reading your e-mails, the possibility still exists.
- When you are visiting a web site, the site can determine who and where your Internet Service Provider is, what site you last visited, what browser you are using and what pages you visited at that site. Your name is not disclosed, however, nor is your email address or any other personal information.
- When you post information on a newsgroup, your address is available for display to the public. Spammers collect such e-mail addresses and send you junk e-mail. As well, spammers can develop a profile of you by the newsgroup to which you have posted information and thereafter send you junk mail tailored to your profile.
- Your response to a randomly sent junk e-mail will display your e-mail address to the spammer on reply. Doing so provides verification that your email address is a current working address, worth more to them than gold.
- Using cookies, small text files stored on your computer, your preferences can be recorded when you visit a site. When you revisit a site, these cookie files tell the web site some information about your preferences.