How to Protect Your Privacy on the Web
Is there really any privacy when it comes to the internet?
Is there really any privacy when it comes to the internet? The short answer – not really, because you are almost always being watched whether it’s through cookies, pixel trackers, deep packet inspection or supercookies someone somewhere is watching. Tracking your every online move is creepy enough as it is, but it gets even weirder when you realize the watchers are also profiting from your movements. To understand how this is possible let’s take a brief look at what happens (for the most part) when you visit a website.
When you visit a website tracking companies build a profile about you based on the sites you visit. These companies then sell your profile to advertisers looking for consumers that match your profile. This results in website ads being purchased, auctions-style, by those same advertisers. So remember those laptops you were browsing through on Amazon? That is what led to the nonstop ads on the side of your screen for laptop accessories when you jump to another website. So what steps can you take to put an end to this?
Browsing in private mode is another simple route you can take to help protect your privacy. By browsing in private mode, you effectively turn off your web history and block third-party cookies. However, using private mode does not stop websites from recording your visit based on your IP address. If you don’t want to use private mode but still want to block third-party cookies, many web browsers offer setting that allows you to do so. The only downside to blocking these cookies is that many websites require them to work, so you may need to create a few exceptions within your cookie settings.
Installing browser plugins like Ghostery, Disconnect, or Peer Block will block trackers, shutting down the entire process (and if you want to see what companies are tracking you install Collusion into your browser). Installing an anti-tracking plug-in stops a website from sending information back to other sites like Facebook or Google.
Drop the Big Three
What big three? Google, Yahoo, and Bing. These engines are great for tailored search results but the issues of privacy and info gathering are well known. Try bookmarking DuckDuckGo to conduct searches that won’t result in your data being logged, tracked and sold.
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