Browser Definitions

If you must use a com­puter your abuser can access, you can attempt to cover your tracks by doing the following:

E-mail
If an abuser has access to your e-mail account, he or she may be able to read your incom­ing and out­go­ing mail. If you believe your account is inse­cure, make sure you select a new pass­word that your abuser will not be able to guess.

If an abuser sends you threat­en­ing or harass­ing e-mail mes­sages, you should print them and save them as evi­dence of the abuse. Addi­tion­ally, the mes­sages may con­sti­tute a fed­eral offense.

For more infor­ma­tion on this issue, con­tact your local United States Attorney’s Office.

What is a Browser His­tory?
Your web browser keeps a record of every web site you visit. This is called a “Browser His­tory”. If you have vis­ited sites which your abuser may find sus­pi­cious, you should clear your browser history.

What is a Browser Cache?
In order to view a web page, your web browser will down­load a copy of the page to your com­puter. These copies can be found on your com­puter and may reveal which sites you have been vis­it­ing. If you have vis­ited sites which your abuser may find sus­pi­cious, you should clear your browser cache.

What are Browser Cook­ies?
Some web sites will send data to your browser so the site can iden­tify you the next time you visit. This is saved on your hard drive in the form of “cookie” files. For instance, if you shop at Amazon.com, they will store a cookie on your com­puter which will con­tain a user ID. Then, the next time you visit Amazon.com, they can read that ID and it will tell Amazon.com who you are. This allows Amazon.com to keep items in your shop­ping cart between vis­its, keep a list of items you viewed the last time you vis­ited, etc. Not all sites will set a cookie, but some sites do. These cook­ies can be found on your com­puter and may reveal which sites you have been vis­it­ing. If you have vis­ited sites which your abuser may find sus­pi­cious, you should clear your browser cookies.

What is Web Form Data?
A web form is a form that you fill out online using your web browser. For exam­ple, when you pur­chase some­thing online, you fill out a form to give the online store your name, address, credit-card num­ber, etc. Web forms can also be search fields or login fields or any text box on a web page. Most cur­rent browsers include a fea­ture which saves every­thing that you type into web forms. The web browser can then copy that infor­ma­tion into other web forms so you do not have to retype it. While this is a handy fea­ture, it can be dan­ger­ous because if, for exam­ple, you do an inter­net search by typ­ing “domes­tic vio­lence shel­ters” into a search field, your abuser may later see what you typed. If you type any­thing into a web page which your abuser may find sus­pi­cious, you should clear your web form data.

Even if you take these pre­cau­tion­ary steps, your abuser may be able to dis­cover your online activ­i­ties. To ensure that your online activ­i­ties are not dis­cov­ered by your abuser, you must use a com­puter that your abuser can­not access.

There is help. You are not alone and it’s okay to talk about it!

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