The W3 conventions form a powerful tool for bringing together a widespread academic community. These conventions will allow current and future software systems to work together harmoniously across different platforms. Software is available, and continually being contributed, to allow information to be presented to a world audience, and read by anyone. If the need arises, restricted access to particular servers can be implemented easily.
– Tim Berners-Lee, et al.; World-Wide
Web sites can access a considerable amount of information about you when you visit their pages, as shown for example at the following sites:
While your computer communicates a lot of technical data when you visit web sites, your browser is built to safeguard your name, email address, and other personal data. The information that web sites can access is described below:
- IP address confidentiality. Web sites can and often do record the IP
addresses of visitors. For most dial-up users a new IP address is dynamically assigned every time you sign on, so the most that it reveals about you is the
Internet Service Provider that you are using. This is a confidentiality risk
only if the service provider provides their logs to others, which is unlikely
are under a court order. However, if you use an office computer or a high speed connection where your IP address is permanently assigned, then the address can
to uniquely identify your machine, and a web site can use this information to
- Cookies. Cookies are often used to store information on your computer to track your browsing patterns
on a particular site.
- Configuration. Web servers can record the operating system
you are using, the browser you are using, the plugins you have installed, and the pages
you access on their site.
- Previous address. When you
click on a web page link, the HTTP protocol sends the URL of the current page to the new page, so the new page can tell where you linked from. The destination web server can capture this information and store it in their logs. If you don’t want a web site to be able to tell where you accessed it from, then you can manually copy and paste the link you want to access into the URL field of your browser and then press return, so there is no sending page to transmit. This feature can also lead to a particular vulnerability when clicking on web page links from a web email service..
- Next address. A site could include code that will tell it which link you choose when you leave
the site, so it knows where you are going, although normal links to other sites do not return this sort of information.
If you are concerned about confidentiality risks, you can consider use of an Anonymizer.