Liz is the latest to write on the dangers of prefetching. Basically, if you use a prefetch capable browser (like Firefox), it grabs specified links and caches them so that when you click on them the download appears instant. It utilizes the time you spend on each page to speed up the time it takes to get to the next page. Although it trades bandwidth for convenience, it is, to my mind, a “good thing.”
Google has started specifying links for prefetching on their results, and people are upset that their browsers may be downloading things they are uninterested in. Liz, following on Cameo Wood’s posting, suggests that this messes with server logs and makes it look to the owners (and to your company, if they are monitoring you) like you have been where you have not been.
And this is a bad thing?
At least in the latter case, it means that I now have complete plausible deniability. “That ‘XXX Hedgehog Love’ site? No, no, it was just prefetched.” Of course, whoever was monitoring my surfing would find such a claim indefensible if not for the fact that 80% of the company’s employees are prefetching.
So, I encourage you to keep the default pre-caching *on*. Not only will it make your surfing experience more effective and enjoyable, you are acting as a shield for those of us who are visiting nefarious sites on the sly.