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Ctrl-Shift-Delete: Learn-it, Love-it, Live-it

posted by:Jeremy Hessing-Lewis // 04:59 PM // May 18, 2006 // Commentary &/or random thoughts | Digital Identity Management | TechLife

Clean-up after yourself.

For you privacy-loving web-surfers using Firefox as their browser, there’s a new command to learn: Ctrl-Shift-Delete. This little trick prompts a purge of your browser’s private data. It’ll be like you didn’t spend the day perusing the Internet’s best distractions. And as every employer will attest; a good record is a blank record.

While it is unclear whether a browser really needs to keep any personal data, the content collected seems to grow with every subsequent browser release. As it stands, you’re leaving a long, incriminating trail including your browsing history, saved form information, saved passwords, download history, cookies, cache, and a record of authenticated sessions. Although your body may have been sitting at your desk for the past 8 hours, your browser remembers where you’ve really been.

The fact that such a keyboard shortcut exists is worth noting. Software begins by making a feature available. Usually, this comes in the form of a button buried deep within the assorted menus of a program. Here, only an experienced user will be able to locate and use a program’s abilities. If the functionality proves popular, it migrates through the menus into locations of increasing prominence.

A select few functions prove worthy of a button shortcut. Even fewer receive their own keyboard command. This exclusive list includes the iconic “Save” (ctrl-s), “Copy” (ctrl-c), “Paste” (ctrl-v), and of course “Undo” (ctrl-z). And now, the Mozilla development team has institutionalized a command for privacy. Current versions of Internet Explorer don’t have anything close and it won’t be surprising if Microsoft decides not to follow suit with their release of IE 7.

As your work-day draws to an end and you clear your desk, don’t forget to clear your browser. Make a habit of keeping your private data…private.
Ctrl-Shift-Delete: Learn-it, Love-it, Live-it

Comments

A new Firefox extension "Stealth Firefox" allows you to disable the private data collection in the first place. See http://www.lifehacker.com/software/privacy/download-of-the-day-stealther-firefox-extension-174752.php.

Posted by: Jeremy HL at May 18, 2006 07:31 PM

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