While most people are online every day these days, few people actually understand the technology involved with making our phones and computers able to access the world of data on the web. That’s normally not a problem, but it can be when it involves underestimating the level of privacy afforded by private browsers such as Chrome’s Incognito Mode. Here’s what a La Jolla defense attorney says the public should know about protecting their data with private browsers.
What a Private Browser Does
A using a tool like Incognito Mode helps you leave data on your device. When you close the window, it will erase everything generated that session including browsing history, cookies and your cache. This means that when you end your session people can’t access your accounts or see what websites you visited.
What a Private Browser Doesn’t Do
There is a common misconception that using a private browser can help protect you from police investigators. But whether you’re looking up information on committing a crime like “how to hide a dead body,” trying to download child porn or planning a crime with someone over Facebook messenger, using a private browser will not help hide your activities from the law other than keeping this information off of your device itself.
That’s because your Internet Service Provider (ISP) still has records of what sites you visited. Additionally, anything you do while logged into Google or Facebook is recorded on these sites, so if you look things up or have conversations on YouTube, Facebook or GMail while logged in, this information is saved. If you truly want to hide online, Del Mar computer crime lawyers say you’ll need to use a Virtual Private Network or Tor browser to keep your data private from your ISP and refrain from using any site while logged in, preferably using a private search engine like Duck, Duck Go.
Don’t Expect to Keep Your Data Hidden
Of course, even using the best privacy techniques is often not enough to protect you from the long arm of the law. Police departments have computer experts that can often retrace data that has been deleted. If your data was a communication with someone else who didn’t take these steps to protect their data, then investigators might be able to use their system to recover your conversation, which can then be used against you.
In fact, deleting data solely to prevent it being used against you can be considered destroying evidence, even if you just deleted some emails or your browser history. You can even be charged with destroying evidence even if the evidence proves you didn’t even commit a crime. This is why you should speak with a Solana Beach computer crimes attorney as soon as you suspect you are being investigated for a crime. Your lawyer may be able to protect you from unreasonable search and seizures or have evidence suppressed if it was obtained illegally.
If your computer or phone contains data that could implicate you in a crime, contact a Carmel Valley white collar crimes lawyer as soon as possible to discuss your situation. You can schedule a free initial consultation with Peter M. Liss by calling (760) 643-4050 or (858) 486-3024.
Image by John Schnobrich