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Computers, smartphones and the internet are all wonderful things, but it’s important to realise that your ‘personal’ computer isn’t as private as you’d like to think. And let’s be honest here, our laptops and phones are like minefields, riddled with information that we’d rather not reveal to the wrong people – be that your boss, your girlfriend or your family. Now we’re not just talking about potentially home-wrecking/relationship-ending situations here, though if you are involved in something along those lines then you a) should be damn careful what you leave lying around on your phone and b) are a terrible, terrible person.
No, we’re talking about more innocuous actions here. Here are a few things that might make you want to consider while you’re making good use of/procrastinating technology in modern times…
1 – Facebook
Studies by the likes of Peninsula and Nucleus Research have suggested that Facebook eats up hundreds of millions of working hours every month, so you can be sure that your boss will be keeping tabs on your browsing at work. But you’ll also want to be careful about what you’re posting in general – you might not be Facebook ‘friends’ with a much-loathed co-worker, but you can sure that word will get around the office if you slag him or her off online.
2 – Porn
Let’s be honest gentlemen (and, indeed, ladies) – we’re not always proud to admit it, but we’ve all been there. If your hard drive seems a bit bloated all of a sudden, it might be all that extra material clogging up your cache. Or worse, your computer might be suffering from slowdown thanks to viruses or malware – while you can’t put a sheath on your computer’s hard drive to combat these “STDs”, you can give it a good once-over with a virus scanner afterwards, which is a bit like going to the clinic the morning after, I suppose…
3 – Online Gambling
Whether it’s whiling away a half hour at your favourite online casino or having a flutter on all manner of sports, online gambling isn’t necessarily something you’ll want everyone to know about. Sure, it’s all well and good when you win big on the Jackpot Capital slots, or that long-shot racing accumulator comes in, but when you’ve frittered away a large sum of cash and have nothing to show for it, you’ll probably want to keep it quiet…
4 – Search History
Whether it be for ‘research’ purposes or otherwise, chances are you’ve looked for some incriminating or just plain embarrassing things on the internet, and we’re talking anything from sketchy Google searches to questionable Wikipedia articles. Of course, you can help yourself by using browser tools like Google Chrome’s ‘incognito’ mode, which erases all traces of your browsing history once you’ve closed your browser window. But that might not necessarily stop your boss from tracking which pages you visit at work, and you should also be wary of more rudimentary methods of surveillance – including, as the browser helpfully points out, people standing behind you.
5 – Autocorrect
There are entire websites dedicated to those awkward times when you’ve made an embarrassing screw-up thanks to autocorrect. You may have sworn the recipient of the text to secrecy, but you only have to leave your phone alone for 5 minutes, and you’ll probably find a screenshot of it on the internet the next day. But much as we may curse our so-called ‘smartphones’, really they’re only as smart as the person using them…
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