• Use secure and encrypted e-mail;

  • Take anti-phishing measures to reduce the likelihood of identity theft;

  • Install software from reliable sources to block third-party cookies, Web bugs, and other devices that enable the tracking of activity across various Web sites; and

  • Install software that reliably deletes all relevant information from one’s computer when one deletes a file.

To reduce the amount of unwanted information that they receive, individuals can:

  • Block spam e-mail;

  • Employ pop-up blockers and ad blockers;

  • Use special e-mail addresses for important correspondents and faked or infrequently checked e-mail addresses for others;

  • Take advantage of all opt-out opportunities, such as do-not-call lists (for both home and mobile numbers) and options for not receiving postal or electronic mail;

  • Put credit freezes or fraud alerts on their credit reports; and

  • Avoid using toll-free numbers and block caller-ID when making calls.

To monitor one’s online privacy, individuals can:

  • Search the Internet periodically for sensitive personal information, such as one’s Social Security number or an unlisted phone number from an anonymized account or a computer that cannot be traced to the individual. (So-called vanity searches, in which one searches the Internet for references to one’s name, can also be revealing to many people.) One may (or may not) be able to do anything about the online existence of such information, but at least one would know that it was available in such a fashion;

  • Periodically monitor their credit ratings; and

  • Use personal e-mail addresses that are specifically created to monitor the implementation of policies of a Web site operator. For example, a site such as merchant.com might post a privacy policy that said, “Your e-mail address will never be given to anyone else.” Given the volume of spam e-mail that one receives, it would ordinarily be difficult to trace to a specific merchant the unauthorized release of one’s e-mail address. However, if one used an e-mail address that was tailored for the site in question, receipt of a marketing e-mail from anyone else to that address would be convincing proof that the site did not adhere to its posted policy.

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