Are you comfortable with the idea of countless strangers knowing exactly where you are at any moment? The thought alone is quite unsettling. However, the truth is that it’s already a reality.
Your location is constantly monitored by numerous apps stored conveniently on the device that never leaves your side. This data is packaged and sold to advertising companies who are interested in the places you visit and what you do there. If that’s not enough, your personal information is at risk of far worse fates.
A recent Pew Research study discovered that 64% of Americans have personally fallen victim to a major data breach. It was also found that 41% of respondents encountered fraudulent bank charges and 35% of US citizens were notified of unauthorized access to their sensitive details.
In the past decade, cyberattacks have struck large organizations ranging from Facebook and Yahoo to Equifax and Target. An immeasurable volume of private data was leaked and misused along the way.
Despite its advantages and importance in our daily lives, technology also poses an ever-growing threat to our security. While the problem may ultimately lie beyond our control, we can still take steps towards stronger online safety. Let’s discuss this further and learn how to effectively protect your privacy in the digital age.
There are various tools and strategies for maintaining your anonymity on the internet.
An increasingly popular solution can be found in the realm of proxies, namely a rotating proxy. The best rotating proxies reliably mask your identity and prevent unsavory parties from tracking your activity. This is accomplished by replacing your IP address with that of the proxy server, which in turn conceals your location.
To clarify, proxies route your requests through the provider’s network before reaching the destination you’d otherwise connect to directly. In addition to hiding your identity, rotating proxies also enable access to blocked or region-restricted content. Plus, the service is ideal for parents who want to safeguard their children from harmful websites.
The following key guidelines can further help you browse anonymously:
- Avoid opening suspicious emails
- Consider an alternative search engine
- Disable or regularly clear your web history
- Install a content blocker to hide malicious ads
- Limit the personal details you share on social media
When it comes to stopping mobile apps from finding out where you are, the process is fairly simple.
Start by scrolling through your permissions settings and turning off location access for any apps where it’s unnecessary. If you aren’t sure, think about when the app realistically needs to know your whereabouts and when it doesn’t. Chances are that there’s no good reason why your restaurant app must have 24/7 location access, for example.
The options you’re able to adjust depends on your device. An older Android phone might not let you choose between always allowing location access and only allowing it when the app is open, which is standard on iOS devices. That said, you should still be able to select from approximate and precise tracking.
At the end of the day, it’s up to you to decide when sacrificing some usability for better privacy is worthwhile.
It’s no secret that social media platforms are the least inclined to mind their own business. We know that Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and the like track your activities on their apps and websites – but it doesn’t end there.
Have you ever noticed how disturbingly accurate and specific your ads are on Facebook? The social media giant makes this possible by collecting information about you from third-party apps, services, and websites. You don’t even need to be using Facebook for the monitoring to occur.
Luckily, there’s a menu in the settings called “Off-Facebook Activity” where you can see the data that was obtained from external sources. It’s located within the “Your Facebook Data” section, which lists the connected apps and sites that are sending information to Facebook. Here are the main options you have for managing your data:
- Disconnecting an associated app by selecting it and scrolling down to “Turn off future activity”
- Saving an offline report of your tracked data with “Download your information”
- Remove the link between Facebook data and third-party data by clicking “Clear history”
Keep in mind that there isn’t any be-all and end-all solution that stops Facebook from tracking you, nor can you prevent third-party services from sending the social media monolith your data later.
It’s not all doom and gloom though, as we’ve thrown in a few bonus privacy tips that truly make an impact:
- Enable two-factor authentication where possible
- Invest in antivirus and antimalware software
- Keep applications and operating systems up-to-date
- Secure your devices with effective passcodes
- Use a password manager to generate and store account details
With the rapid rate of technological advancement, it can seem impossible to stay on top of our digital lives. As long as you remain diligent, you shouldn’t have to worry.
Here are a few more articles you would enjoy on protecting your privacy:
- Data Privacy In a Post-Pandemic World
- How to Make Online File Sharing Secure
- Are Your Personal Details Safe Online?