Hygiene
in The Digital Public Square

You’re less incognito than you think.

Malicious apps, theft, spam, cyber stalking, censorship, surveillance.
There are no foolproof answers to risk online.
But there is advice to help.

Begin
Identity or Location

Identity or Location

Computers and smartphones leave traces about you and your actions. Connected together, all these pieces of information can reveal a lot about your identity and the places you have visited. Browsing and communicating on the Internet is inextricably linked to your IP address and MAC address. These details are continuously recorded by your Internet service provider, in accordance with Data retention legislation passed in most countries, and often times by the website you are visiting as well. The IP address can also be linked to a geographic location, as you can see by visiting http://www.hostip.info. The MAC address can be linked to your online accounts and identity. There are several solutions to ‘hiding’ your identity or location from the site you are visiting or masking your true destination from the ISP. However, disassociating your location from the IP address assigned to you on the network and disassociating your identity from the MAC address of your personal computer or smartphone require a different approach.

Inadvertently we leave a lot of traces and information about our identity and location through the voracious use of social media services and the pervasive presence of online trackers that record, correlate and create profiles of our characteristics and persona. Simply by using open source intelligence it is possible (and fairly easy to any savvy Internet user) to locate and identify a person from their online accounts.


Now What?