Fact Sheets

Protecting your Privacy Online

Protecting your Privacy OnlineCanadians are the world’s biggest Internet users, logging an average of 43.5 hours of online browsing per month, almost twice the global average. There’s no doubt that websites, e-mail, social networking and discussion groups are a great way to keep in touch, share ideas, buy and sell things, and conduct business.

But it’s important to remember that online data is there for good. If you post a thought or a picture, it can live on in cyberspace forever, even if you think you’ve deleted it. It can also be shared an infinite number of times, causing you potential embarrassment or even harm to your reputation.

Also, even with the toughest privacy settings, your online activities are never entirely private. You may not know it, but your clicks and website visits leave data trails. Over time, these coalesce into a highly informative digital shadow that reveals a lot about who you are, what you do, and what you like and dislike.

And that’s valuable information. Businesses may use it to tailor ads to your interests or preferences.

In extreme cases, criminals can find sophisticated ways to trick you into providing your financial and other sensitive personal information online to defraud you.

In other words, you may go online to network with friends. But, in the online world, you may not always be among friends.