This blog is about Graphic Design, Vector Art, and Cartoon Illustration

What information you reveal when you visit a web page

I am sometimes surprised by what some people think that they are revealing when they surf the web. You are revealing some information, which can be collected publicly, but rest assured that it is very generalized. Here it is

• You are revealing the country, state, and city where you live. I actually live in Glendale, Arizona, but on the edge of Peoria, and so I always show up as Peoria. That's as close as can be determined. On this blog page I have a little widget that makes a red mark to indicate where all my visitors come from. This type of information was built into the web when it was first invented. No, it doesn't reveal your home address or anything like that.

• You are revealing the operating system and browser you use. Webmasters like to know that kind of stuff. And yes, sigh, the most popular browser is still Internet Explorer.

• You are revealing how often you visit a particular page on the web. These are called "hits" and help to determine how many times a page is visited, nowadays mostly to determine how much to charge for advertising. The "hits" look like this - 1,000 visits from Scottsdale, Arizona, for example.

I hope this helps. Keep in mind that the information is related to the computer, not you. If you check your email at a Starbucks in Atlanta, you will show up in Analytics as being in Atlanta. If, for some reason, that makes you nervous, or if you have a serious reason not to reveal even the city and state where you are, don't surf the web, or check your email.

This type of public information didn't start with the web. Every time you mail a letter with your return address on it, you are revealing it to all of the people in the United States Postal Service. Every time you drive to the grocery store, you are revealing your license plate number, and your face. Every time you hand the waitress at iHop your credit card, you are revealing that number. I'm sure you can think of more. This is all part of being in a community that makes it easy to interact with each other, and makes it a little bit more difficult for the bad guys. If you're a good guy, like most people are, you don't need to worry.