Anyone who uses the internet has a right to know about the many ways in which they are likely watched, tracked and analysed. The truth is that anyone who uses the internet to any degree is likely to be a victim of these activities, and although there are some things you can do to mitigate it, it is likely that there will always be a database somewhere filled with data pertaining to you. Indeed, Denelle Dixon, Chief Business Officer and Legal Officer at Mozilla, argues that online privacy doesn’t really exist.
Of course, that doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t do whatever you can to keep that to a minimum, and there are a number of steps you can take to ensure that your data is not so freely mined. In this article, we will look at some of the things you can do to try and preserve as much of your privacy as possible while you are online.
Use a VPN for Online Privacy
One of the very best things you can do is to use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). This is a system which bounces your internet connection through a few different ports and a main server, disguising your IP address in the process. Because your IP address is not visible, it is much harder to trace and track you, and things like advertising cookies will not have quite the same effect. With many VPN providers, you can also select a server in the country or region of your choice, which may enable you to view content specified for a certain locale. All in all, a VPN is a great privacy and security measure, and it is certainly something that you should consider using if you are concerned about being private on the internet.
Protect Your Privacy on Social Media Sites (or Avoid Them Altogether)
Social media companies profit from your data, and so it makes sense that they will do whatever they can to mine as much data from you as possible. For that reason, being on sites like Facebook is obviously not going to be something you want to do if you are concerned at all with your own privacy. If you want to be private and secure on the internet, one of the first things to do is to stop using Facebook. With Facebook, it’s important to remember that you are not the customer. The advertisers are the customers, and you are the product that is being sold. To protect your identity and data, it’s best to avoid Facebook and other social media sites altogether.
If, however, you want to keep using Facebook for its benefits (e.g. staying in touch with people, being aware of upcoming events that interest you, and for networking and other work-related reasons), there are certain steps you can take to improve your online privacy.
Even with a VPN and other measures, you will still have some cookies installed onto your computer. Many of them will be harmless, but if you are concerned with being as private as possible then you will probably want to keep these off your machine as best as you can. So, it is a good idea to delete those cookies fairly frequently, so that you can keep anonymous while you browse the internet. That will help you to stop being tracked, at the very least, which is one of the clearest signs that people are watching you while you are online.