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One Step Ahead
May 26, 2009, Volume 55, No. 34

One Step Ahead

Another tip in a series provided by the Offices of Information Systems & Computing and Audit, Compliance & Privacy.

Do You Google? Know How to Protect Your Privacy

Many of us are users of Google’s online services, which include a search engine, e-mail, a calendar, a photo album and YouTube, among others. The company stores huge amounts of data related to use of its services. Depending on the specific products you use, Google may have data about your searches, websites visited, ads clicked, e-mails sent and received, personal appointments and videos you’ve watched.  If you use Google Health, the company may even have your medical records.

If you entrust Google with information that you view as personal, it is important to know how to protect it. There are many ways for users of Google services to protect their privacy but they can be difficult to find. A recent Computerworld article makes several recommendations, including the following: 

• Become familiar with your privacy rights by using the Google Privacy Center.  www.google.com/privacy.html   

• Protect your information by making appropriate privacy choices within the services you use. For example, you can choose to take a Google Chat “off the record” if you do not want to have the instant message transcript stored.

• Encrypt e-mails that you create and read in Google’s Gmail. The option is located under the General tab, in Settings; under the Browser Connection setting, select the “always use https” option.

For additional suggestions on protecting your privacy when using Google’s online services, see www.computerworld.com/action/article.do?command=viewArticleBasic&articleId=336607.



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For additional tips, see the One Step Ahead link on the Information Security website: www.upenn.edu/computing/security/.

Almanac - May 26, 2009, Volume 55, No. 34