image by furryscaly, Flickr.com
Do you shop online? Send e-mails? Participate in social networks? Then, like it or not, you have accumulated a substantial digital footprint. Controlling this footprint is a good idea, whether you’re worried about employers reading your disparaging remarks, salesmen finding your phone number or Big Brother tracking your un-American activities. Here are some resources to help you learn more about online privacy:
Get to know the issues:
Here's a roundtable on PBS.org about the recently-introduced Do Not Track bill, that would prevent businesses from collecting browsing data automatically from people who visit their sites.
You can also read Margaret Jasper’s book Privacy and the Internet: Your Expectations and Rights Under the Law, which includes a directory of consumer protection agencies, the real text of relevant acts, and suggestions for improving your online privacy.
Investigate your digital footprint:
Take a look at this series of articles from CNet.com, with techniques for finding – and manipulating – your online presence that go waaaay beyond Googling yourself.
And, to find out how your online persona may actually be damaging your life, read Virtually You by Elias Aboujaoude.
Privacy is holistic:
Online privacy, like love, is a many-splendored thing. No single magic bullet is going to perfectly cover you online behind. Look at this Lifehacker article to get ideas for diverse ways you can protect your information.
After you learn all about online privacy, you may feel like getting a new identity and vanishing off the face of the Earth. No worries! The book How To Disappear – by a man who was an investigator hired to find people who really don’t want to be found – will lead you, step by step, through the process of creating a brand new identity. Read this great summary online for the Cliff’s Notes version. (Note: Please return all library materials before burning your ID and moving to Fiji.)