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Cleaning the hard drive rather gives the game away

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A reader has emailed me with a worrying popup ad that makes the claim: 'Your computer is being watched!' and goes on to note that every site you visit is logged and, really worryingly for 85 per cent of the computer-using population, every picture you have ever viewed is recorded. The consequences of being caught are horrific. The solution is, of course, to buy the wipe-clean software behind the grim warnings. Not, you will note, that you might desist from looking at Sodom and Gomorrah images during office hours.

BT has sacked 200 of its 100,000 staff in the past 18 months for accessing naughty bits, so some people are interested - a few in downloading and the entire management in keeping an equally sticky fingered watch over what staff do download. But, if I were BT, I would be checking staff hard drives for the existence of the above yourcomputer-is-being-watched software.

Then, you ask, what about all the rude spam that readers complain about?

Do its seedy images lurk among your folders after you have angrily closed them down? Dunno, but possibly. At least this was the successful defence argued in a recent porn-download case.

Whatever, it is said by disk recovery people that the only way to really cleanse a hard drive is to take it along to the local foundry and chuck it in with the molten pig iron.

It has been put to me that dim horseless-carriage thinking by web designers and their clients noted last week is not all that lies behind the evil of the gateway page. Another reason for this useless, click-here-to-enter title page, often with a cheaply coded (in terms of memory use) animated transition follower, is that the time it takes to get from here to the useful bits disguises the fact that the site is secretly pre-loading images, which subsequently pop up apparently instantly. I am sure this is true. The animated transitions often have a 'click to skip' button. I always click.

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