Stay Safe on the Internet

Stay Safe on the Internet

Why should I protect my privacy on the Internet? 

If you use texts, email, the Internet and social media, other people may be able to find your personal information. Social media means Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and other Internet sites for sharing information. 

Computers, tablets and smartphones keep track of your texts and emails. They also keep track of which websites you use.  

When you use a website, that website gets your private information. When you send someone an email or text, that person also gets your information. And your phone company or your Internet company can take your information from those texts, emails or websites. Even when you take steps to hide or delete the information, companies and people may still have ways to find your personal information.

Employers often use information from the Internet to check on their employees.  Employers also use Internet information to learn about people who apply for jobs. 

Insurance companies may look for Internet information about people who apply for insurance benefits. They can use this information to argue that the person should not get those benefits.  

Police use information from the Internet as evidence in court cases.

If you apply to the Human Rights Tribunal of Ontario (HRTO) because you think someone discriminated against you, your personal information may become public at the hearing. HRTO cases are often put on a public website called CanLii. If you want to find out more about this, you can read http://www.archdisabilitylaw.ca/?q=node/951

How can I protect my privacy on the Internet?

There is no perfect way to protect your Internet privacy. But you can take some steps that may help.  

If you are on Facebook, check your privacy settings often.  Facebook changes its privacy settings from time to time, and they might not tell you when they do. It is a good idea to only “friend” people who will keep your information private. Be careful what you post. People who are not your friends may be able to read your posts. 

If you are on Twitter, be careful what you tweet. You may not always know who follows your tweets. When you send someone a message on Twitter, other people may be able to read it. 

If you use a smartphone, check your settings, lock your phone with a password, and do not share your password with other people.  

You can make it harder for other people to check which websites you use.  You can do this by erasing information about those websites from the browser. The browser helps you find websites on the Internet. When you use the Internet, you start by opening a browser like Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Firefox or Safari. 

Browsers keep information about which websites you use.  You can learn how to erase your information from:

You can also do other things to stay safe on the Internet. The Barbra Schlifer Commemorative Clinic gives some information about this at http://schliferclinic.com/online-safety/

Where can I learn more about privacy issues?

ARCH will tweet news stories that are important for people with disabilities. Some of these new stories are about privacy. Follow us on Twitter!

The Canadian Civil Liberties Association has information about privacy issues at http://ccla.org/pathways2privacy/

The Canadian HIV/AIDS Legal Network gives information about privacy issues at http://www.aidslaw.ca/EN/issues/privacy.htm

HALCO – HIV & AIDS Legal Clinic Ontario gives information about privacy law at http://www.halco.org/areas-of-law/privacy-law

The website for the Information and Privacy Commissioner of Ontario is at http://www.ipc.on.ca/english/Home-Page/

The website for the Office of the Privacy Commissioner of Canada is at https://www.priv.gc.ca/index_e.asp