Browsing history is not only a tool that makes it easier and faster to browse the internet. It is also a valuable resource of highly desirable information about you. Did you know that? Find out who, and why has the access to your browsing history.
Have you ever considered how exactly your browser history works? Who and why has got access to this extremely private tool? Is it dangerous to you? And finally, what can you do about it? Interested? Read the article below.
What exactly is browsing history?
Browsing History is a tool widely used in modern web browsers. It stores the visited web pages and usually contains the name of the page and its URL. These data, along with other data generated while browsing websites (such as cookies, cache, and saved passwords), are saved on your device's hard drive. What for? First of all, to make it easier and faster for you to browse the next time, for example by suggesting addresses and page names on the fly, but that’s not all...
What else is browsing history?
Browsing history is not only a tool that makes it easier and faster to browse the internet or easily return to previously visited interesting websites. It is also a valuable resource of highly desirable information about you. It is said that nothing and no one will tell you about a man as much as his browsing history. The websites, services, and pages you visit can reveal a lot not only about your work or interests but also about your dreams, desires, plans, health, or greatest fears about the future. Can you imagine?
Imagine you are planning a vacation or renovation of your house. How are you looking for information about where you want to go, hotels and flights or interior design trends, prices for paints, and other materials? Where and how do you buy it all?
And now imagine that you are expecting a baby. What do you do? You check online what can happen at each stage of pregnancy and later during the baby's development! You confront your fears and concerns with the search results. Not only that, you are looking for information about what you will need to complete the perfect layette, and then you do the necessary and unnecessary purchases. You make a doctor’s appointment via the application, and at the same time check the opinions about him in groups for future parents.
Finally, imagine that your doctor is diagnosing you with, for example, chlamydiosis. What are you doing first? You google your disease and check what can happen to you, how to treat yourself effectively and what to do to help yourself quickly.
All this information remains in your browsing history. Not only to make it easier for you to use the resources you have viewed before... because you know...
…Your browsing history isn't just yours at all
Anyone with access to your computer or other device has access to your browsing history. So your partner, lover, colleague, parent, or even worse, the employer can check what pages you are browsing.
But that's not all because the pages you have viewed may also be linked to your browsing history. Well, it's not like their files are saved in your history and on your hard drive just to make it easier for you to browse those specific sites again. Using the appropriate cookies, websites you visit can also track your browsing history on other websites! Such knowledge is a tasty morsel for advertisers, right?
It’s still not the end. Your internet provider also has access to your browsing history. And while you can deal with the nosy partner by regularly clearing your browsing history or using the incognito mode, it is not so easy with the service provider. Why? The option to clear your browsing history only removes it from your device's memory. At the same time, via your router, the internet provider has access to all HTTP requests sent from your device - in other words - can see exactly which websites you are connecting to. And even if you use the secure HTTPS protocol, the network administrator, while unable to access the content, sees the names of the domains you visit. Now think, what can your ISP do with such data? Can it sell them to other entities, such as advertising agencies? Can it hand them over to the authorities? I’ll leave you with these questions.
Finally, something that is officially rather reluctant to talk about: the government may be able to access your browsing history. And it will not be called an attack on your freedom, because such actions are usually explained with security reasons that are difficult to undermine. And since such activities are usually not communicated to the public, everything remains alleged - at least until a scandal breaks out.
What can you do about it?
Above all, educate yourself! The more you know, the more consciously you use the internet and have your data at your disposal. Stay tuned to our blog and subscribe to the newsletter, because our goal is to build a community of conscious and responsible internet users.
In addition, do not accept all the cookies automatically - before clicking “Accept All” bottom, read what exactly you agree to, and do not give permission to something that does not agree with you. If you need more information on this topic, follow us, we are preparing a comprehensive publication on cookies for you.
Last but not least - make friends with a browser that cares about your security and offers to browse using a VPN - a Virtual Private Network. Thanks to this, your data will be encrypted and will no longer be available to entities and companies that you do not want to inform about your online activity. One such browser is going to be Altroo. Our goal is to allow you to browse the internet safely, control your data and finally help you support charity. Check us out!