Erasing Your Internet Tracks
Are you concerned about someone finding out where you have been on the Internet?
Click here for information about reducing the chances that your Internet travels will be followed.
If you think you might be in danger or your activities are being monitored by an abuser, try to find a safer computer to use (e.g., in a library, community centre, or another public place). If you think your activities are being watched or monitored, they probably are! Abusive people are often controlling and want to know your every move.
An abuser does not need to be a computer expert to monitor your computer and Internet activities – almost anyone can do it if there is direct or remote (hacking) access to the computer you are using. Monitoring programs are relatively cheap and easy to purchase. Some allow the user to "see" (on another computer screen) all the things you type on your computer, as you are typing (and without your knowledge). If you think your home computer may be monitored, be careful how you use it.
It is almost impossible to delete or clear all of your computer’s "footprints" or online activities. If you ARE being monitored, it may be dangerous to change your normal computer behavior (e.g., by suddenly deleting your entire Internet history). You may want to keep using the household computer for regular, everyday activities, but go to a safer computer if you want to research an escape plan, seek help, or look for a new job or apartment.
E-mail and Instant/Text Messaging (IM) are not safe or confidential ways to talk about the danger or abuse in your life. If possible, call a crisis line instead. If you e-mail or IM, use a safe computer and an account your abuser does not know about. It’s important to be aware that computers can store a lot of private information about what you look at on the Internet, as well as the e-mails and instant messages you send, Internet-based phone (VOIP) and IP-TTY calls you make, your web-based purchases or banking, and many other activities. It is often safer to use a computer in a public place or at a trusted friend’s house.
Source: adapted from the National Network to End Domestic Violence "Safety Net Project" (2012)