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How long does your personal data stay online

30.01.2023
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Any user of a personal computer, once registered on any site, has wondered: how long is the information about a person stored in the network? Is it enough to simply delete the page, erase personal data, and forget about it? Such a question becomes especially pressing for those to whom, when moving up the career ladder, corporate ethics began to impose requirements.

The biggest online directory and assistant "investigator" is, of course, search engines. And they live due to the fact that they collect unique information, which we intentionally or unintentionally, put in the network. This information will not leave the servers of the search engine, whether you want it to or not.

The Internet has the ability to bring back past years, and a global network is a real-time machine, which can be run with the help of simple services.

Any information about a person or a site from the moment of their appearance is stored on the servers of search engines. There are at least a dozen search engines across the web - not a few, really. Among them are the old-timers, whose age exceeds the age of some of today's active users of the Web.

This means that once a search robot has detected (indexed) your appearance, you are in the network's memory forever. Moreover, some Internet services can remind you what appeared on your page, what was changed, and what you erased. Whether it's information about a person or a web resource.

Advantages and disadvantages of online data storageOnline data storage is a problem for companies and organizations that collect data, as well as those whose data is collected. When you start collecting and storing data, you must consider legal and commercial requirements regarding ethics, privacy, and cost-effectiveness. Data retention and data retention policies are becoming keywords in the business world. Managers discuss policies that approve the principle of service necessity, retention periods, archiving rules, storage formats, encryption, and access. The purpose of data retention is to protect rights, privacy, and ethics while preserving and organizing useful and necessary information for later use.

An important point of any storage policy is the "irreversible deletion" protocol. We all know that deleted content is never really deleted until it has been erased from the hard drive where it resides. A simple deletion can erase the path to where the data is stored and make room for new data, which does not necessarily imply a complete deletion of the data. Savvy computer technicians can easily bypass operating systems and find data stored on hard drives if it has not been physically damaged. The "irreversible deletion" protocol may require storing data in encrypted form. In this case, the file can be found after deletion, but without an encryption key, it will be impossible to open it. To make this protocol more effective, the encryption keys should also be deleted to ensure that the original and any copies cannot be accessed.

Among the many arguments against the mass storage of data by telecommunications companies and ISPs is the argument that terrorists and criminals can very easily hide on the Internet, leading to ineffective storage policies. The many ways that Internet users can hide their online presence include Internet cafes, P2P file-sharing sites, the TOR network, digital caches, and anonymous proxies. The irony is that many of the tools used by criminals are the same tools used by huge corporations and the government to protect their connections, as well as users who don't want to leave "digital evidence" of their online activities.

One of the most effective means of protecting your data and information about you from being collected and stored by third parties - websites, individuals, and organizations - is a VPN. A VPN, a virtual private network, is a sophisticated protocol of security elements developed during the creation of the Internet as we know it today. They combine IP masking technology and encryption to create secure connections that are hard to find, hard to hack, and impossible to read. Accessible originally only to those with wealth, resources, or knowledge, today VPNs, like anything else on the Internet, are available literally at the click of a mouse, via electronic subscription.

The average unprotected computer broadcasts its IP address and its router's IP address to ISP servers as well as to network servers all over the Internet. This broadcast, like a beacon, shines a light on anyone smart enough to monitor Internet traffic, and trust me, it's not that hard. It means anyone can watch you, follow you, record and save data about you, and even follow you to your home, literally and figuratively. A VPN solves all of these problems.

A VPN digitally "repackages" your data and connection requests, directing them then to special servers. It performs two functions. First, it masks your original IP address, replacing it with a new, anonymous one given by the VPN server. Second, the VPN bypasses your ISP's servers by connecting directly to a special VPN server, securely hiding you from prying eyes. Now all connections are anonymous and hidden, and additional protection - encryption by certain protocols. This means that only the websites you visit will know that you are online, they will not know who you are, and you will only give them directly the confidential information they can collect.