When you consider how the internet and technology now effectively rule our lives, privacy is becoming extremely rare. Even while technology has ostensibly eased our lives, protecting our personal information or covering our online footprints is more challenging than ever. Many people wonder how they can avoid businesses and achieve genuine anonymity online, and the easy solution is to dive deep and embark on a journey to lay the foundations.
There is a lot of data on the internet. There are data brokers, organizations that engage in obtaining that data on customers and then selling that information to third parties. These third parties subsequently solicit certain groups of customers depending on their categories, resulting in a multibillion-dollar business.
Which Corporations Collect your Data Online?
Which businesses or corporations capture your information? To begin with, your internet service provider (ISP) most likely does. This may appear to be self-evident given that they are the ones that provide you with your connection to the internet in the first place. Of course, you pay them for that service. However, they make even more money from you by trading your online activity to big advertisers that make use of your personal information to improve and target their online advertisements. This holds true, at least, for ISPs in the United States. When you surf their websites or engage with their platforms, Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, and other large tech businesses are all doing the same thing.
If you wouldn’t want these big names watching your every move, you may use a residential proxy service like Smartproxy to mask your IP address.
Another type of data collecting is the old-fashioned kind, such as archives. Keep in mind that several physical records have been converted to digital formats and are now available to the general public. However, you should know that personal information such as criminal records, title deeds, birth certificates, marriage certificates, and other general information can easily be gotten online. If it is a public record, anybody might see it. If you’re wondering what publicly available documents exist on you, enter your name or phone number into Nuwber and find out.
If you’ve ever visited any webpage, you’ve probably heard of the term “cookies”. When you visit a website, you’ll often see a small pop-up asking you to ‘accept cookies’. This seems more fun and exciting than it really is. Cookies are little pieces of text that your web browser gets and stores from a website you’ve visited. Most websites employ cookies, which allow them to track your online activity. Several websites generate income through advertising. If these websites collect data from your online activity, advertising on that website becomes more profitable since adverts can be personalized and adapted to your interests.
Preventing these companies from Tracking you: Here are some steps to take
Search Engine Tracking
Taking control of your privacy and data could be challenging for some, although it is feasible in some form. You might start by reducing search engine tracking, which keeps your Internet searches recorded on search engine logs. This procedure requires you to delete your search history and cookies from your web browser. The most significant disadvantage of this is that when you erase your cookies, you also erase any shortcuts or stored passwords.
Use Do Not Track Me Features
This might seem simple and too good to be true. However, web browser apps provide a “Do Not Track” function. Enabling such a feature often entails going into browser settings, looking for Privacy options, and selecting a box to allow a (DNT) Do Not Track option.
Some popular web browsers, like Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, and Safari, contain a DNT option that instantly allows you to opt out of third-party online tracking. According to Forrester Research, a fascinating feature about this DNT functionality is that just 19% of users seem to use it.
Block Data Trackers Yourself
Sometimes, your laptop may have had software installed with the primary goal of tracking your data or internet activity. In other instances, certain websites have monitoring capabilities built-in that begin as soon as you access the site. Some of these apps may be installed with freeware apps or launched through a script when you visit a specific website. It may not be easy to locate such apps on your computer or which websites execute tracking functions. However, the effort is well worth it.
There are programs available, like browser extensions Ghostery or DisconnectMe, that are meant to show you whether websites are tracking data or “watching you” online. Using tools to identify what is being tracked might make the difference between getting approached by an unwelcome marketer through email or voiding any information that has been published due to your simple acts on the internet or a website.
Opt-out of Tracking When Possible
In certain rare situations, you might have the chance to opt out of your data being collected by third parties or prohibit a service from tracking your data altogether. If you are ever supplied with this decision through a reliable source, take it. Furthermore, the World Privacy Forum maintains a rolling list of the opt-out pages available on the websites of major data brokers.
You Should Go Private with a VPN
What exactly is a VPN, you might want to ask? It is an abbreviation for virtual private networks. Fun fact, in terms of VPN, the solution is in the name. A VPN is a beneficial tool in the internet world, where huge tech corporations want to obtain total access to your information and all your internet activities or every application you use. What a VPN does is it conceals your IP address while also encrypting your internet usage. A VPN safeguards your online identity, which is especially beneficial while connecting to the internet using a public Wi-Fi network.
Phoneia.com (June 4, 2021). How to prevent online companies from collecting your data. Recovered from https://phoneia.com/en/how-to-prevent-online-companies-from-collecting-your-data/