It is so much easier to complain about the loss of privacy on the internet than to do anything about it. The alternative? Be a hermit. A digital hermit, self-removed from the world as you currently know it.
Here are three simple and easy steps to clean up and confuse your digital exhaust on the information super highway.
First, use a privacy-protecting browser. Most of the eyes that watch you via the internet source form other sites. In the form of ads, widgets and even ‘free games’ ad networks, such as Google and Facebook, keep track of what you do, what sites you visit, and what you show interest in.
To thwart this, use either Apple’s Safari or Mozilla’s Firefox web browsers. Safari includes “Intelligent Tracking Protection” which limits the cross-site tracking mentioned above to the last 24 hours of your browsing. Firefox offers a similar tacking-prevention feature, based on the privacy service ‘Disconnect’. Unfortunately, this must be enabled in Firefox settings.
The second step to confuse and limit tracking by ad networks is through the use of different search engines on different browsers. For example, if you use both Google’s Chrome and Microsoft’s new Edge browsers, then use Bing as the search engine default in the Edge browser and Google.com as the search engine in Chrome. Another way to slow down and confuse the ad networks is to use DuckDuckGo.com as a search engine. DuckDuckGo offers tracking-free searching on the internet.
Lastly, spread your business to other sites. As an example, Facebook is great for staying in touch with friends, but it stinks as a news source, for several reasons. Use different sites that are geared for specific information to attain that desired information. Add a few more bookmarks and shortcuts to get to favorite sites, like Fandango, to pre-purchase movie tickets, rather than searching for and buying via Google, who will remember forever that not only did you search for movies within your zip code, but which ones you actually bought and then market that to you, forever. Ads for Disney movies everywhere and forever because you baby sat a friend’s pre-teen daughter for one afternoon during an emergency is a punishment that fall under the cruel and unjust categories.
Diversify your online habits is the best means of challenging the tracking ad networks and confounding them. A few new browser add-ons to block ads, an app or three on your phone to do what you used to do all in Chrome may be a bit more awkward, but will help protect your personal info and habits from those who would use it against you and your wallet.
For more information, contact Daniel at Indy’s I.T. Department via e-mail as email@example.com or via phone at 317-560-4443.