Internet Privacy: Taking It Back Before It’s Too Late

You are not as safe on the internet as you think you are.

We just had to get that out of the way before any other thing. In fact, we are now at the stage where internet safety and privacy are a fleeting phenomenon. Very soon, we might have nothing of this safety to hold on to anymore.

If you look around, there are a lot of data mines that you are not even considering. They are there, right in front of you, but you don’t pay notice to them.

Image Courtesy: CNN.com
Here are some of the common ones:
      Companies and businesses: If there is anything you should know about these people, it is that they love making money and hate losing it. One of the ways they can always be sure they are giving you what you want (read: what they think you want) is by using your data for you (read: using your data against you).

Whenever you use a service from them, they start tracking your usage. From there, they collect enough data that could help them plan out what could be your next line of action – even manipulating you into decisions you would not have made otherwise. Using one common example, almost everyone here has been treated to the ‘Suggested Content’ feature on Netflix or YouTube, right?

      Websites and ad agencies: You go onto a website, browse some items and leave for another website. Out of nowhere, an ad pops up from the website you have just left.

E-commerce stores will use this to try bringing you back to buy products similar to the ones you looked at. Brands will try to push you into looking at more of their content. Everyone will always try to be in your face, and that can be annoying.

Guess how they do that? By placing a cookie on your browser when you accessed their services. With that, they can see everywhere else you go, monitor what you do on other websites and combine that to always follow you with relevant suggestions.

      Internet of Things: We love being able to turn on the lights with a smartphone app as much as the next guy. What we don’t like is a Lights app which asks for permission to read messages and contacts before it works. 

We also don’t like an app that sends usage data and reports to some people we don’t see. That just makes it possible for strangers to know how much time we spend in certain rooms when we get home (based on when the lights come on) and so on.

Of course, that is just one example, and we have a lot of internet-enabled things out there today.

      The GovernmentOh, you thought they were going to protect you? A lot of these governments are out to get your data too, and they don’t have to hide to do it. 

They have even made this sort of a chore – infiltrating almost any consumer-based brand and asking for backdoors to enable data collection. 

Think of the data you generate from your Apple/ Android devices, email (Gmail, Yahoo, AOL, etc.) accounts, work profiles (Microsoft, etc.) and so on – and think of just how much of your life these people are collecting data on.


You Can Fight Back

You don’t have to take this lying down. No one should be able to take your internet privacy when you didn’t give them much permission.

Besides, if you allow this now, you might not be able to take what the future holds when it comes to your internet privacy.

To kick against that, you should:
      Use anonymous search engines – Want to search for something on the internet but don’t want Google spying on you? Anonymous search engines are for just that. We recommend the duo of DuckDuckGo and Qwant for all your searching needs
      Get private browsers – Tor is the most recommended option here. This browser has been specially built for those who would like to surf the internet without having to look over their backs. However, the browser has a couple of shortcomings which can easily be fixed by…
      Getting a VPN – One of the good ones, that is. These pieces of software have been designed to tunnel your internet data so as to make it invisible to anyone but you. They also help keep you anonymous in allowing you access the web from an IP address different from your physical location.
      Install AdBlock extensions – And you never have to worry about a website or ad agency tracking and following you around, splashing some irritating ads in your face.

Co-Presented By: TechWarn

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