Website snooping

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Got a boyfriend, girlfriend or ex who’s trying to track what sites you visit? You have a right to keep your private web use… private!

A young woman checking her computer in a public space

Unfortunately it’s pretty easy for someone to find out where you’ve been online.

Someone could check what you’ve been searched for and what websites you’ve visited, by checking your history and searches.

Clearing your internet history (‘cache’) and deleting messages doesn’t erase all your tracks.

There is even software (called ‘spyware’ or ‘keylogging’ software) that can be secretly installed to monitor what you do online and what you type on a keyboard when you search, post, email or message others.

How to feel safer on the web

Find a different place to get online

The best way to keep your internet use private is to use a computer which is not at home.

You could use the internet at:

  • a friend’s computer,
  • one at work or school.
  • at the local library. Find your nearest library at the Australian Library Gateway. Click on ‘map search’, then write the name of your town or city.
  • If you’re in Victoria, this map has all places with free public internet.
  • a youth centre or neighbourhood house. Contact your local council for your nearest one.
  • an internet cafe.

Create a new email or instant messaging account. If you suspect that someone can access your email, consider creating an additional email account on a safer computer. Don’t create or check this new email from a computer that the abusive person could access, in case it is monitored. Use an anonymous name and account: (example: bluecat@email.com – not YourRealName@email.com) Look for free web-based email accounts (like yahoo or gmail), and do not provide detailed information about yourself.

Always sign out of your email or social network sites

Protect your passwords

Choose a password that would be hard to guess, and be careful to keep it secret, especially if you are using your home computer. Make sure your password is not stored anywhere on the hard drive, and make sure there is NO TICK in the box ‘Remember my ID on this computer’

Save everything

Save abusive or threatening emails, online messages or photos (you could save them onto a USB memory stick). They could be used as evidence later. Cyber-stalking is against the law in Victoria. You can report abuse, threats, stalking or cyber-stalking (following you online) to police.

Related links

Photo from Flickr by manoelnetto / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

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