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ONLINE DATA PRIVACY: Are you in real trouble?

Feb 5, 2021

How to improve your data privacy wherever you browse

Surf’s Up
Collecting data on your browsing history is the new gold-rush. And while companies selling information on the pages you visit keep telling you that it’s just business-as-usual and nothing to worry about, the real danger is that over time all your data may be collected and sold to the not-so-nice-guys.

We mean ALL  your data: home address, credit card details, pictures of your kids…

Supercookies aren’t as delicious as they sound
Every website you visit nowadays flashes a banner when you first enter the site, declaring their cookie policy. You want to see the site, so you click whatever gets you in. No big deal right? But you have just allowed them to load a cookie into your browser.

What a benign-sounding phrase for what is essentially a string of cyber “Stalker” software. Supercookies are next-generation stalkers. They capture your browsing preferences and personal data, communicate across websites and generate a detailed profile of the person they stalk.

This information is readily packaged to be sold, multiple times, to whoever has the cash to buy.

Solution? There is one: the Firefox browser cuts off their ability to communicate across websites. Future updates of this privacy-oriented browser will offer blocking them altogether. 

ISP or Eye-Spy
Your Internet Service Provider, or ISP for short, is the company that provides the pipeline through which the information flows. They can also see the sites you visit and the amount of time you spend on pages on that site.

Browsing in Private mode may keep your browsing history off your web browser, but you are still active in full view of your ISP! The most disturbing bit: part of their business model is selling web browsing data.

The only way to hide your online activities from your ISP is through the use of a Virtual Private Network or VPN. VPN’s are pipelines through which you connect to sites, and all your ISP can see is your connection to the VPN.

The VPN gets to see your browsing data, but you are paying them to turn a blind eye. It’s important to deal with a trustworthy supplier like Mozilla VPN. As developers of the Firefox web browser, they have shown themselves to be serious about privacy and ethical standards.

Private Email Identity
Private email addresses are linked to multiple sites as they are used for log-in credentials or by that site to recommend content. By connecting your browsing history to your email address, companies can glean much greater insight into your profile.

One way around this is a new product called Firefox Relay. It’s a simple and smart solution that creates an alias that forwards mail to your inbox while shielding your personal email address.

Facebook or Face-Crook?
It usually comes as a shocker when people find out that Facebook and Instagram don’t stop tracking you once you leave the platform. They continue to track and connect the information to your Facebook identity. They do this even if you are not a Facebook user.

Adding the Facebook Container extension to your web browser, allows you to control the information flow to Facebook and its partners, putting you in control of the information they can see.

Resist!
If you’re not protecting your browser history, your personal information can easily land in the wrong hands. Resist! Let’s take steps to protect you from information merchants lurking in plain sight.

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