It’s been almost two decades since mainstream users began trekking into the library-slash-playground known as the World Wide Web. Now, several years into that excursion, many are taking a long hard look at the trail they’ve left behind.
The short answer is no.
Every time we go online to sign up for a new service, buy a T-shirt, update our social networks, send an e-mail or use a search engine, we leave behind data.
Details we share through offline actions like filling out a credit card application can also squirrel their way into the Internet.
Information collected through cookies – bits of code that remember a user’s interactions with a Web site – can be stitched together to create a thorough profile.
Then there’s information about us that was beyond our control even before the Internet. Public records on government Web sites, for instance, would be next to impossible to remove.
Photo by mosers.org.