How Private Is InPrivate Browsing?

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You can learn a lot about a person from his browsing habits. If you'd like to prevent people from composing a profile on you through your browsing history on a shared computer, Internet Explorer's InPrivate feature offers you the ability to surf the Web without leaving behind a search history or saving sensitive data. While InPrivate covers your tracks locally, not all of your online activity enjoys complete anonymity.

It Forgets Your Browsing History

  • The websites you visit and the forms you fill out online aren't saved while browsing InPrivate. AutoComplete will attempt to fill search fields with data stored from public sessions while you're browsing InPrivate, but neither your current location or the previous website will be stored into the browser's history. Data transmitted through Internet Explorer during an InPrivate session will be encrypted, if necessary, but it won't be stored to your computer.

It Wipes Temporary Files

  • Temporary Internet files are saved to your computer while browsing InPrivate, but they're deleted when you end the session. Browser crashes and forced closures through the Task Manager terminate InPrivate and deletes the session's files as well. Temporary files such as images and cookies, text files that record actions made on a Web page, are only stored so a website appears as it did before an Internet Explorer tab crashes. The storage of temporary files enables crashed tabs to reload Web pages quickly and appear in the state in which you left the page.

It Doesn't Make You Annonymous

  • InPrivate keeps curious eyes from uncovering your Internet search history while using your computer, but it doesn't cloak your activity over the Internet or even on your LAN. The pages you visit and information you download while InPrivate still bears your IP address and are logged by any router or switch the data passes through between your computer and the servers hosting the sites you call.

Considerations

  • Use a proxy server to cloak your online activity, if covering your tracks locally isn't enough. Your IP address's tracks stop at the site hosting the proxy server. The proxy server fetches the information you request, but your IP address is never logged as having visited the site called on through the proxy site.

References

  • Photo Credit Visage/Stockbyte/Getty Images
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