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Stryker

Improve privacy - hide finds in profile

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My activity can be hidden on my friends' dashboard (which is good), detailed statistics can also be disabled, PGC allows hiding the stats as well, but "All geocache finds" of any profile can be an excellent "tool" for stalking almost everyone, who is logging finds on geocaching.com.

 

It's fine to let the users from my friendlist to see this page, but it should be (by default!) hidden for all other visitors. Same goes for gallery.

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2 hours ago, Stryker said:

It's fine to let the users from my friendlist to see this page, but it should be (by default!) hidden for all other visitors. Same goes for gallery.

 

Many players do not post public logs at all for privacy reasons. you can add your found caches to a private bookmark list and share it to your friends. Just delete all your public finds and use these private tools instead.

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2 hours ago, Stryker said:

My activity can be hidden on my friends' dashboard (which is good), detailed statistics can also be disabled, PGC allows hiding the stats as well, but "All geocache finds" of any profile can be an excellent "tool" for stalking almost everyone, who is logging finds on geocaching.com.

 

Perhaps I'm naive, never having been a stalker nor knowingly stalked, but cache logs show where someone was in the past, not where they are now. If I go out for a day of caching and log my finds when I get home, how is that of any benefit to a stalker? I'm unlikely to go back there since I've found those caches, and unless I say in my logs where I'm going tomorrow, how is the stalker going to know? Heck, I don't even know where I'm likely to go tomorrow most of the time. If you're really concerned, you can log your finds a week, month or year after you've done them. Can a stalker really make any use of knowing where you were a year ago?

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Just thought I'd mention, it's probably not a great idea to have your email address visible on your Profile if you're concerned with privacy.

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12 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

Can a stalker really make any use of knowing where you were a year ago?

 

Thy might find a pattern of times you're likely not home. That doesn't mean nobody is home though.

 

1 minute ago, Touchstone said:

Just thought I'd mention, it's probably not a great idea to have your email address visible on your Profile if you're concerned with privacy.

 

I have a unique email address for geocaching (also for all other stuff) so I'm not worried about that.

 

Anyone (too) concerned about privacy shouldn't be on internet, period. OTOH, there are ways to make things manageable.

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3 hours ago, Stryker said:

but it should be (by default!) hidden for all other visitors.

If you do not want your finds being made public - just don't publish them.

Edited by HHL
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Here are Groundspeak's privacy tips:

 

Tips to protect your privacy

At this time, there is no way to block another geocacher from seeing your public profile page or your geocaching activity. But you can take steps to better protect your privacy:

  • Do not post information you wish to keep private on your geocaching profile
  • Choose a username that doesn’t clearly identify you.
  • Hide your email address from your public profile.
  • Hide your statistics from your public profile.
  • Choose a home location that is not your real address.
  • Set List status to "private", so that only you can see your lists.
  • Log caches a couple of days after you find them and backdate your logs.

------------------------------------------------

I like bullet #2 and the last bullet. Maybe also change the username regularly. Choose something generic like user1234 then change the number maybe every couple of months. But people can still get that list of caches you've visited with the dates, but you can log the dates wrong, maybe even list them all for the same day. But then you don't get to keep an accurate record. Perhaps in your personal note field record the actual date.  

 

Arisoft's advice would work better with regards to not getting your cache finds listed on the public "All cache finds" dashboard list. But then you don't have an easy way to filter out those caches you've already found. If you don't do much caching and you don't mind the occasional accidental revisit, it could work.  

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21 minutes ago, on4bam said:

Thy might find a pattern of times you're likely not home. That doesn't mean nobody is home though.

 

But cache logs only tell the date you were at the cache, not the time. For someone in full time work, maybe they only go caching on Saturdays and Sundays, but if you want to rob them, wouldn't it be better to do it during their working hours when you know they're unlikely to be home rather than take a chance that they might go out caching at the weekend?

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Changing the username, logging with delay or not logging at all are not bad ideas, but still not a solution, it's just workarounds.

 

Logs are for me a part of the game and I like to leave (and receive) feedback there, but it's rather for the owner, not people, who are not interested in geocaching at all - just having some dummy account to follow other players.

 

I wonder why is it possible (due to privacy protection) to hide "Statistics" tab data, but the last activity is still visible for everyone?

 

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6 hours ago, L0ne.R said:

Arisoft's advice would work better with regards to not getting your cache finds listed on the public "All cache finds" dashboard list. But then you don't have an easy way to filter out those caches you've already found. If you don't do much caching and you don't mind the occasional accidental revisit, it could work.  

 

We have the "ignore " thing for this. Instead of publishing your find you ignore the cache and you will not see it again.

Edited by arisoft
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3 hours ago, arisoft said:

Many players do not post public logs at all for privacy reasons

 

Caching without logging ... is taking without giving.

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26 minutes ago, Viajero Perdido said:

 

Caching without logging ... is taking without giving.

 

 

One way to give back is to log them as notes. That way the owner gets feedback and other hiders can also read the note log and get feedback. 

Notes don't show up in the "All geocache finds" list but a convenient record of them is kept under  https://www.geocaching.com/my/geocaches.aspx which no one else gets to see. 

 

827764413_2019-09-1011_44_08-Geocaching_YourProfile_YourGeocachingDetails.png.09c822f2370c1f8e12664d13bcd5c417.png

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3 hours ago, L0ne.R said:

One way to give back is to log them as notes.

 

Some players are using Message Center or email for private logs.  Notes can be tracked.

Edited by arisoft

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On ‎9‎/‎10‎/‎2019 at 9:51 AM, Stryker said:

I wonder why is it possible (due to privacy protection) to hide "Statistics" tab data, but the last activity is still visible for everyone?

 

Where you were isn't a security issue.  You have photos with the date they were taken in your gallery...

 

Years ago some people thought claiming a find on your own cache every time you did maintenance was a great idea.

Numerous "finds" on other's hides, one heck of a lot on "moving caches" ... all  finding the same caches multiple times.

Some of those  people would chastise others here, or brag about their "accomplishments"...  but all could see they were "creative" in their numbers by their profile page stats.

IMO cheats don't like folks to know they're cheats, and enough whined to the site about others able to  "see their business", and now being ridiculed for it.

Many of those same people still hide their stats.   Finds and "unique" caches found not matching.   

Their actions was getting silly enough that the site finally canned multiple logging on caches altogether.  :)

 

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If you don't want your "last activity" to reflect your use of the website, just use the app for your geocaching activities. 

 

Yes, if you insist on posting photos and logging your finds, those will show up under your profile's sublistings, but the "last activity" date on the main page won't change.  Perhaps the interested party wouldn't go any further after seeing no change in the activity date.

 

Really, if this is about somebody actually making sock puppet accounts just to follow your activities, it might be time to follow the guidance mentioned in the link provided by Touchstone. "If someone is harassing you or you feel unsafe, contact your local authorities." 

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Another page that might be of interest:

 

Geocaching Privacy Policy

 

https://www.geocaching.com/account/documents/privacypolicy

 

 
 

When you create an account, we make your username and certain details about your membership, such as whether you are Basic or Premium, when you joined and when you last visited the site, and your finds, hides, and trackable count available for other users who may want to add you as a friend in our system or understand your experience and activity level for purposes of determining your credibility or engagement level with the game.

 

If you choose to include personal information (such as your email address, photo, location, or other details) in your public profile, this may be viewed by other registered Geocaching account holders who use our Services for purposes of enhancing the community aspects of the game.

 

Any information or content you post publicly will be shared with other users when you use the public features of our services; for example, when you log a geocache, post a photo in your gallery or participate in the Geocaching Forums for purposes of maintaining a historical record of game-related activity and enhancing the community-oriented nature of the game.

 

If you choose to participate in a discussion forum, your IP address may be shared with forum moderators (who are also users) to help them provide appropriate controls on forum discussions.

Edited by L0ne.R
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12 minutes ago, Stryker said:

Hiding last activity will not affect the game, but it will improve privacy. If you don't see any problem there - you're lucky. Or just ignorant.

 

I do not share your thought about this matter. How do I determine your credibility or engagement level without access to your logs and statistics? If you want your credibility or engagement level to be unknown then you must cease to enter any data to the public system. Geocaching is possible this way and there are many private players who may have signed only logbooks or have left no trace about their hobby to improve privacy.

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1 hour ago, Stryker said:

If you don't see any problem there - you're lucky. Or just ignorant.

 

Okay, sure, I'm ignorant, so please enlighten me. Yesterday when I was visiting Sydney, I took the opportunity to take the ferry across the harbour to Manly and find a cache which I logged last night after I'd returned home. How does that log in any way make me vulnerable to stalking? I mean, I found the cache so I'm not going back to that same spot, am I? Even if some stalker decided to follow in my footsteps and find every cache I did, I doubt I'd ever know about it as I rarely look back on caches I've already logged, and they'll always be at least a day behind me as I only log past finds, not future ones, so our paths will never cross. How can this hurt me in any way?

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9 minutes ago, barefootjeff said:

How does that log in any way make me vulnerable to stalking?

 

I can understand that in some circumstances one may consider any public information as an opportunity for stalking. This is not the issue here. If one feels that someone is stalking we cannot question this. The issue what OP did not understand is that even when the profile page is totally blocked, the same information can be collected using other means as long as log entries are publicly available.

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On 9/10/2019 at 6:51 AM, Stryker said:

I wonder why is it possible (due to privacy protection) to hide "Statistics" tab data, but the last activity is still visible for everyone?

If memory serves me correctly, this is a bit of a misrepresentation of the original justification to include a hide feature on the Stats page of User Profiles.  I recall that most of the early conversations regarding this feature had more to do with avoiding the competitive nature of the game, and not so much on privacy concerns.   Here's one of the earliest discussions on the topic if you're interested....

 

https://forums.geocaching.com/GC/index.php?/topic/133829-feature-request-no-stats/#comments

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For consideration, and an opposite viewpoint regarding public vs private online logbooks. This is from the owner of another location-based-activity site: 

 

Quote
"But you know, after this whole experience, I find myself rather disturbed at how upset some people got not being able to see find dates or to sort finds  by date on other people's logbooks. There's absolutely no reason in the world any of that is important, but it bothers me that it's SOOO important to some people to have the ability to 'spy' on other people's activities. I never really cared before one way or another about who could see my finds or finds on my boxes, but after this whole incident, I find it kind of creepy that people want to see this information so badly. Why? To what purpose?
 
So I've decided not to show the finds or attempts in my own logbook anymore. It just feels like too many people are stalking others through logbook entries, and honestly, I find that kind of creepy. Even if it is an innocent stalking, I'll take a pass for now on." (2009)
 
and
 
Quote
"The main reason I made it private by default, though, is because people actually started being quite demanding that they should be able to see everyone else's online logbooks. There was a certain amount of bullying going on on these boards trying to push people into making their logbooks public even when they preferred to keep it private. Until then, logbooks were public by default.
 
But that sense of entitlement I thought was rude, obnoxious, and so incredibly wrong, I decided that making it private was not just a fun way to spite those people, but perhaps would set a new standard that this information is private and those who choose to make it public will be the new minority.
 
And I don't regret the change for a second. =)" (2011)

 

 

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15 minutes ago, L0ne.R said:

For consideration, ...

Sounds to me that the alternative site has more of a bullying problem, than a privacy problem.

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1 hour ago, Touchstone said:

  I recall that most of the early conversations regarding this feature had more to do with avoiding the competitive nature of the game, and not so much on privacy concerns.  

 

We noticed that earlier, but then thought it was the opposite years later.  :)

I thought it had to do with the many who had  their actual and "unique" cache find totals not matching, and asked to be hidden from view. 

Telling someone "why aren't you caching instead of...",   when it's noticed you found your own cache fifteen times kinda thing.     :D

IIRC, there was (or still is) a gsak thing to find out which they were, when folks asked where's the difference.

There's quite a few threads on people asking why their find counts differed, then found they probably didn't want some to know that... 

 

Edited by cerberus1
an n't
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1 hour ago, Touchstone said:

Sounds to me that the alternative site has more of a bullying problem, than a privacy problem.

 

I doubt humans are so different on one site as opposed to the other. 

In my experience, the site I quoted from was similar to this site and "bullying" in the forums was about the same as here. Many of the same arguments were made for keeping the online personal logbook public. 

 

I don't see why I need to know that last month you spent about a week near Boise, Idaho. You seem to travel between California and Idaho regularly. In January of 2018 you went to Hawaii (as well as 2011). And you were in Oregon back in 2013. 

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9 minutes ago, L0ne.R said:

 

I doubt humans are so different on one site as opposed to the other. 

In my experience, the site I quoted from was similar to this site and "bullying" in the forums was about the same as here. Many of the same arguments were made for keeping the online personal logbook public. 

 

I don't see why I need to know that last month you spent about a week near Boise, Idaho. You seem to travel between California and Idaho regularly. In January of 2018 you went to Hawaii (as well as 2011). And you were in Oregon back in 2013. 

I don't know, if the quotes you gave came from the owner of the site, it sounds like their bullying situation is a notch or two above what I see on this site (Forum or otherwise).  I've never heard any of the Founders of this site express similar concerns, but then again, it's probably not too great for business to advertise the fact that you feel that your website is home to stalkers.

 

Back to the OP's point though, it seems a bit strange to be concerned with stalking, while at the same time Hosting 25 Events, and Attending Events Hosted by others, with Will Attend logs a week or two before the Event date.  Seems like  a pretty useful tool for a stalker if you ask me.   If you're trying to hide from stalker types, it seems like the Dashboard in the OP is just a piece of the issue.

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4 minutes ago, Touchstone said:

Back to the OP's point though, it seems a bit strange to be concerned with stalking, while at the same time Hosting 25 Events, and Attending Events Hosted by others, with Will Attend logs a week or two before the Event date.  Seems like  a pretty useful tool for a stalker if you ask me.   If you're trying to hide from stalker types, it seems like the Dashboard in the OP is just a piece of the issue.

 

Yep.  :)     The other 2/3rds reminded me of one here that was upset when every time they attended an event, their "stalker" showed.

 - Well, they did announce when and where...

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5 hours ago, L0ne.R said:

I don't see why I need to know that last month you spent about a week near Boise, Idaho. You seem to travel between California and Idaho regularly. In January of 2018 you went to Hawaii (as well as 2011). And you were in Oregon back in 2013.

 

But I'm curious, how does you knowing that actually harm Touchstone? Caching is something done in public where there isn't a presumption of privacy. The only thing I can think of is something like if you tell your boss you're too sick to come to work and she then sees you spent the day out caching in the mountains, but I don't think the site should be designed to protect people from being caught out in a lie.

 

For me, one of the attractions of caching is its shared experiences, both between finders and COs and between finders themselves. Making logs private would take that away.

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4 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

 

But I'm curious, how does you knowing that actually harm Touchstone? Caching is something done in public where there isn't a presumption of privacy. The only thing I can think of is something like if you tell your boss you're too sick to come to work and she then sees you spent the day out caching in the mountains, but I don't think the site should be designed to protect people from being caught out in a lie.

 

For me, one of the attractions of caching is its shared experiences, both between finders and COs and between finders themselves. Making logs private would take that away.

 

You weren't the least bit uncomfortable with me listing where Touchstone has been? 

 

Besides the forums (which I admit to i.e. "stalking" an account to get a fuller picture of the OP's complaint), how does knowing that Touchstone has been to Hawaii, Idaho, and Oregon enhance your geocaching experience? How does it enhance Touchstone's geocaching experience that you know where s/he has been since s/he started their account? 

 

 

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20 minutes ago, L0ne.R said:

You weren't the least bit uncomfortable with me listing where Touchstone has been? 

 

Besides the forums (which I admit to i.e. "stalking" an account to get a fuller picture of the OP's complaint), how does knowing that Touchstone has been to Hawaii, Idaho, and Oregon enhance your geocaching experience? How does it enhance Touchstone's geocaching experience that you know where s/he has been since s/he started their account? 

 

No I don't feel uncomfortable about that, nor would I feel the slightest bit uncomfortable about you or Touchstone discovering that I'd visited New Zealand in 2014 or reading my logs from the caches I found there. I don't care what people know about anything I've done in public in the past. My logs (or anyone else's I've seen) don't disclose my real name, address, phone number or financial details, and they don't provide any information about where I am now or where I'm going to be tomorrow.

 

As for using others' logs to enhance my experience, suppose I was planning a trip to Hawaii and on some caches I saw that Touchstone had a great time doing them so I might look to see what other caches they did while they were there. If they all turned out to be really great, I might even send a message saying how helpful those logs were in planning my trip. As I said, for me caching is a lot about sharing experiences and using other people's logs to help plan my own caching activities is part of that. I'd be more than happy if someone read through a stack of my past logs to plan their own adventures, because that's part of the reason I write them.

 

I ask again, since nobody has offered an answer, how does someone knowing what caches someone has visited in the past harm that cacher or even put them in harm's way?

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11 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

But I'm curious, how does you knowing that actually harm Touchstone?

 

There was a situation several years ago where a woman was being stalked by her ex-husband, she had deliberately used an anonymised username but he had managed to find out what it was through mutual friends. I don't know the precise details but she was very concerned, he could potentially use that to work out what part of the country she had moved to, maybe see that she was frequently going to another town (if she started a new relationship).

Admittedly it's an edge case but there is potential for harm, even if that harm is confinded to pushing someone out of the game for fear of what might happen.

 

If anyone is REALLY worried about this info being public, then get yourself GSAK, don't log any activity online and keep all your found/DNF logs in GSAK (I know some people do exactly that).

 

 

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7 hours ago, L0ne.R said:

How does it enhance Touchstone's geocaching experience that you know where s/he has been since s/he started their account?

 

I thought that this is the way how social media works. You publish pictures about meals you eat or geocaches you find etc. :D The idea is to get stalked and more stalkers ="followers" you have the better.

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1 hour ago, arisoft said:

The idea is to get stalked and more stalkers ="followers" you have the better.

Benevolent stalking ... is that an oxymoron?  :D

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Stalking implies repeated following over a period of time

8 hours ago, barefootjeff said:

As for using others' logs to enhance my experience, suppose I was planning a trip to Hawaii and on some caches I saw that Touchstone had a great time doing them so I might look to see what other caches they did while they were there. If they all turned out to be really great, I might even send a message saying how helpful those logs were in planning my trip.

^^  This is not stalking.

 

1 hour ago, MartyBartfast said:

 

There was a situation several years ago where a woman was being stalked by her ex-husband, she had deliberately used an anonymised username but he had managed to find out what it was through mutual friends. I don't know the precise details but she was very concerned, he could potentially use that to work out what part of the country she had moved to, maybe see that she was frequently going to another town (if she started a new relationship).

Admittedly it's an edge case but there is potential for harm, even if that harm is confinded to pushing someone out of the game for fear of what might happen.

 

^^ This is stalking.

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This may be something others have encountered, but it was a little jolt to me:

I saw a forum profile avatar that looked cute, so I clicked on it to learn more. I was greeted by a sign giving my IP address and browser info. That felt uncomfortable. Could be harmless, I'm just saying how it felt.

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3 minutes ago, Max and 99 said:

This may be something others have encountered, but it was a little jolt to me:

I saw a forum profile avatar that looked cute, so I clicked on it to learn more. I was greeted by a sign giving my IP address and browser info. That felt uncomfortable. Could be harmless, I'm just saying how it felt.

It IS harmless. It's even necessary data when browsing the web. However, you can easily hide your real IP and browser info. The first years our tax authority started to  use the web to file tax info the site only worked (according to them) in IE. Using Firefox + plugin FF returned IE as browser agent and could be used without any problems.

 

Info sent by your browser includes browser version, screen resolution, OS, plugins installed (flash, java,quicktime...), language, device brand/model. link followed to get to a webpage, link followed to next webpage.... and then there's cookies... Ever wondered why FB, google and others know so much about you?

 

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6 minutes ago, on4bam said:

It IS harmless. It's even necessary data when browsing the web. However, you can easily hide your real IP and browser info. The first years our tax authority started to  use the web to file tax info the site only worked (according to them) in IE. Using Firefox + plugin FF returned IE as browser agent and could be used without any problems.

 

Info sent by your browser includes browser version, screen resolution, OS, plugins installed (flash, java,quicktime...), language, device brand/model. link followed to get to a webpage, link followed to next webpage.... and then there's cookies... Ever wondered why FB, google and others know so much about you?

 

Thank you.

Seeing it displayed on someone else's profile page was the surprise. 

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51 minutes ago, Max and 99 said:

This may be something others have encountered, but it was a little jolt to me:

I saw a forum profile avatar that looked cute, so I clicked on it to learn more. I was greeted by a sign giving my IP address and browser info. That felt uncomfortable. Could be harmless, I'm just saying how it felt.

 

It is time to introduce the Onion browser. Compared to other popular tools it is the best for hiding all your personal information.

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26 minutes ago, Max and 99 said:

Seeing it displayed on someone else's profile page was the surprise. 

Easy to do B)

Go to what's my IP and see what info your browser is supplying. Be sure to click "more about you".

Also, think about what 100's of sites who set cookies know about you. They can set a unique ID and track you on every site that uses their services (like google analytics) so they know every site and every click making a profile to serve you ads. They know you better than you know yourself ;) and they know a lot more than your logged caches :ph34r:

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1 hour ago, arisoft said:

 

It is time to introduce the Onion browser. Compared to other popular tools it is the best for hiding all your personal information.

 

That's interesting; thanks!

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