Internet Safety

Important Internet Privacy Information!

Most computers automatically track information when someone uses the Internet, fills in a search box or form, or sends an email. If you do not want someone else to know that you have been using a computer to get information about sexual violence, some steps you can take are listed here. Remember you can make it harder to figure out what you have been doing on a computer, but there is no way to erase all of your information.
One way your Internet information can be discovered is by looking at the “cookies” on your computer. Cookies are bits of data that a website puts on your computer so that it can track your visits. These are normally harmless, but they are usually named for the website that put them there, and can be viewed until they are cleared. Most Internet browsers also track your “history”, or the list of websites you have visited. Information on clearing cookies and history is in the links below.
There is also software that makes it possible to track what you do on a computer. For example, Microsoft Vista, the new version of Windows, includes a feature called “Parental Controls” that can be used to monitor everything someone does on a computer (including websites visited and blocked, IM conversations, and emails sent and received).
If security is a serious concern for you:
  • Use a public computer in a library or a community center. The RAINN online hotline offers two ways to get information on finding a safer computer.
  • Call on a telephone to get information; don’t email or use the Internet. It is possible for someone with excellent technical skills to figure out who has been looking at a website. A land line phone is safer than a cell phone (cell phone conversations can be intercepted).
The following links provide information on Internet browser privacy, email privacy, and telephone privacy:
Browser Privacy:
Easy-to-understand information (with pictures) on removing Internet search terms:
For up-to-date information for Windows and Internet Explorer (all versions), search Microsoft’s website for “delete cookies” or “delete history.”
Safe Horizon offers information on deleting cookies & history from several different browsers.
Email Privacy:
This site has Outlook and Netscape email privacy information.
**Note: The VAW webpage contains a mistake in the instructions for preventing Outlook Express from automatically adding an email address. The correct instructions follow.
To disable this feature:
Go to Outlook Express:
-Click on EditTools/Options/Send
-Uncheck the box beside Automatically put people I reply to in my Address Book.
Telephone Privacy:
This site has information on phone privacy in English and Spanish.
Updated 6/6/11