erase digital footprintEver wonder why ads show up for products you search for online? The ways you can keep your privacy online and erase your digital footprint.

Online activity tracked

Companies track your activities online for legitimate business purposes. Tracking software follows your every move, so businesses can advertise to you. They track you with “cookies,” but there are crumbs left behind when you close your browser.

There are ways to increase your privacy while browsing by deleting the cookies at the end of your session, logging out, or by browsing privately. On behalf of NewsChannel 5, the security company, SecureState, put together step by step instructions to help you make these changes.  Click here to see what you need to do to start browsing privately.

Since our story aired, the Federal Trade Commission suggested a “Do not Track” option that would give you a simple way to opt out of personalized ads.  Think of it like the Do Not Call list for the Internet. There are some trade groups as well that are on the cutting edge of this by offering self-regulation.

Now, Google is offering Keep My Opt-Outs as a plug-in for Google Chrome so you can permanently opt out from tracking cookies.   Google says once it’s installed, you may see the same ads repeated on certain websites or you’ll see ads that are less relevant to you.

Google also offers you the option to customize the ads you’ll see. Click here to see this option, called Google Ads Preferences.

This video from Google explains how it works.


According to national reports, Mozilla is also working on a Do Not Track option for Firefox.