Your Partner Can Discover Your Internet Activities

You have probably heard that your internet activities are never private or anonymous.  Your partner may have access to information about you through your email records or through “cached” files, or automatically saved webpages and graphics.

You can’t make your internet activities completely private, but you can take steps to make them somewhat safer.  If there is any chance that your abuser will review your internet activities, follow the steps below to erase your internet history, THEN close this site immediately and continue your search on a safe computer — at a friend’s house, a public library, or internet cafe.

To delete records of email and web travel history:

  • In your email program, look for a folder called “sent mail” and delete any mail you don’t want traced.

  • On the hard drive (C:\) locate the folder: c\\windows\temporary internet files and delete any relevant or all files.

  • On the hard drive locate the folder: C:\\WINDOWS\Cookies and delete any relevant or all files EXCEPT the C:\\WINDOWS\Cookies\index.dat file.

  • Finally, your web browser (the program you use to surf the web or internet) sometimes keeps track of recently visited websites.  To find out if the program does look at the box/space that you type in the web address, at the right side of the box may be an arrow down symbol (ò).  If you click on the arrow and a list of recently visited sites appears, you may want to check out your browser’s “help” index for how to clear the history of your recent internet travels.  Here are some suggestions for commonly used browser programs:

Pull down Edit menu and select Preferences.  Click on Navigator and choose “clear history.”  Click on Advanced and select Cache.  Click on “clear disk cache.” Older versions of Netscape: pull down Options menu.  Select Network Options, select Cache.  Click on “clear disk cache.”

Internet Explorer:
Pull down View menu, select Internet Options.  On General page, under Temporary Internet Files, click on “delete files.”  Under History, click on “clear history.”

Pull down Members menu, select Preferences.  Click on WWW icon.  Then select Advanced.  Purge Cache.

  • This information may not completely hide your internet activity.  Consider using another computer owned by a friend you trust, the local library, your work computer.

  • Finally, if an abuser sends you threatening or harassing email messages they may be printed and saved as evidence of this abuse.  Additionally, these messages may constitute a federal offense.  For more information on this issue, contact your local United States Attorney’s Office.

Remember — even if you take these steps, your internet activities can still be traced on your computer.  We highly recommend continuing your search on a safe computer.

Information provided by the American Bar Association.