When you might have been browsing somewhere you do not want others to find out, it is common to delete your online history. For the most part, this can stop people from spotting what you were shopping for when you want to buy a surprise gift. However, whether you are looking to cover a surprise or you are simply looking for a bit of privacy, it is important to know one thing: can you truly delete your internet history?
For many, going in and clearing out your browsing history and cookies feels like the slate has been wiped clean. The problem is that today, our internet history goes way beyond just what we look at on our devices. Thanks to the growth of things like Big Data and social media, there are digital footprints all over the web pointing to who we are.
From posts about your daily lives and your personal history to your opinions on anything from sports to politics, your internet history is much harder to remove than you assume. You can stop someone from looking at what you have been browsing; it is much harder to remove a digital record of all interactions you have enjoyed online.
The terms of the agreement promote permanence
One of the other elements that ensure your internet history is nigh-impossible to delete is the presence of terms of the agreement. When you sign up for something, how often do you read the terms? Probably never. All of the information that you give to a company like a social media platform is stored in its database. Sure, you could delete your account and it means people cannot search for you – but the company will not delete or erase your data.
You have to go and file a request for that data to be deleted. Android smartphones are constantly recording information and discussion without saving the information to your phone – there is no way to truly remove your digital footprint once you have become a common user of the internet.
You can delete accounts, but you can rarely – if ever – remove any proof that you were ever online. Most companies simply keep enough data, and it takes a lot of work and strain to get them to remove that data. Our data is one of the most precious commodities a company as – they will never give it up without a genuine fight.
From national security to social media marketing, then, our online history is far more challenging to remove than we first believe. Wiping your cookies and browser history might remove internet activity from one device; removing that activity from the online ledger, though, is much tougher.