How do I manage my online privacy?

google myselfEverything we've covered can help you maintain your online privacy. However, since you can never be too safe, here are some general online privacy guidelines you should be aware of:

Google your name to see what others can find out about you. I found way too many pictures of me out there

  • Change your passwords often: Having to remember ever-changing passwords can be difficult. However, if you change your passwords periodically, you limit the ability for someone to crack them. My recommendation: Create five or so new passwords at the beginning of the year, and rotate them every few months. Next year, start over.

  • Google yourself: This can be fun, but it can also be shocking. You will be able to see everything someone can find out about you online simply by knowing your name. Make sure you also click on the Images tab to see what pictures of you are available to the world.

  • Check your privacy settings: Sites like Facebook often change their privacy settings, and this affects what people can find out about you. For example, your pictures on Facebook are often viewable by "Friends of Friends," meaning a whole lot of people you don't know can see your pictures if you have a friend in common. On Facebook, click on Account>Privacy Settings to modify them.

  • Be aware of geo-tagging services: Services like Foursquare, a GPS-based social network, allow you to share your exact location, including whether you're home or not, with the world. Different Facebook apps can also share your exact location on your profile. Twitter also has a geo-tagging feature (turned off by default). Bottom line: Be aware of what you're sharing, and who can see it.

May-June 2011
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