Ok, let me first state that this will not be an easy transition. We are all so acclimated to our internet usage and instant information that taking a couple extra precautions will probably require quite a bit of repetition and patience before you totally adopt this new step in online privacy. Trust me, you NEED to do these things right now! Given the recent Facebook debacle and all the information Google and other tech companies have on you, protecting your privacy going forward will be a task but one well worth taking! Granted, they already have it and we gave it to them willingly in the name of convenience.
Now we are so oblivious to what we do online and just how our data is harvested that we don’t stop to think what all has been collected.
Ever search online for something you wanted to buy, buy it, only to see ads on other websites for the very thing you just BOUGHT?
From our personal information to our family and friends, likes, dislikes, political persuasion, what we like to drink or eat and where, the clothes we buy, the cars we drive and where we drive them, our opinions on almost every topic you can imagine, phone calls, text messages, instant messages, and so much more is being harvested and used to create the most sophisticated database or your life than you probably even realize or could recall on your own.
While you may unsuspectingly not realize that the web browsers you use are the tech companies #1 weapon in collecting and disseminating your data and online profile. Tech giants such as Microsoft, Apple, and Google are keeping track of every keystroke, password, profile information, likes and dislikes, locations, and much more that it shouldn’t be surprising they secretly know every move you make, every thing you like, shopping habits, travel habits, and more. Posting pictures on a trip is a dead give away that you’re not home at the moment putting you at risk for would-be hackers and thieves. Even if you aren’t one of those (I personally post pictures AFTER a trip) they can still track you through geolocation and GPS in your devices.
Mozilla Firefox is the first step for beginners to start to reduce their digital footprint able to block geolocations and even usernames and passwords.
Firefox can give you that extra layer of protection you might not know you need. It is capable of immediately scrubbing meta data when closing the browser. Meaning it erases you search history, download history, usernames and passwords, and geolocation markers if enabled. It even has an “incognito” function that strips away any plugin or script that would collect and send more data to the sites you are on.
Firefox is available on all computer platforms and even mobile devices such as iPads, Tablets, and Cell Phones.
Speaking of your cell phone… Do you realize EVERY app on it wants to track you? That typical just installing an app starts the process automatically. This means you have to go into your phone setings and tell it not to track.
Kind of scary huh?
Why would the CBS, Ancestery, ESPN, Amazon, CVS Pharmacy, Walmart, and others apps care where you are when you access them? Think about what could be collected if you sitting in a coffee shop, watching your favorite team on ESPN, while shopping on Amazon or walmart, and requesting a refill on your medication? Oh yeah, they just got harvested your entire pharmaceutical history now…..
So go into your phone’s settings, select PRIVACY, then LOCATION SERVICES, and turn off everything that wants or is using your location to track you. Trust me, you’ll feel relieved. Some of Apple’s flagship apps won’t let you turn off tracking but will at least let you limit it to WHEN you are using that app ONLY. Similar settings can be found on your Android device as well.
The main theme is, as a society, we have now advanced to where we share everything. Maybe because we want attention and think our thoughts and experiences will be interesting to others but this trend will eventually prove to be our downfall. Maybe you express anger towards a topic or a political opinion that now has been captured and can be used to profile you at a later date. DON’T GIVE AWAY POWER TO YOUR OWN LIFE!!