In this internet age when privacy is considered to be a practical joke and the sites are spying on you whether it be for marketing related information or for general security, it is important that we know a little bit about how to protect ourselves.
This becomes a big problem as many people are not aware of how their privacy is being intruded upon. On the other day, I had my friend exclaim to me, totally astonished, “Dude, I had just browsed for some forex related stuff. Then browsed a dating forum. And behold, the forex ad was there, staring at me. How do they get to know my interest so soon?”
First thing that you want to know is that whenever you are online and log on to a website, the developer can track your activities online pretty easily. This allows companies to display relevant ads, deliver related contents and recommend products to you after collecting statistics about your online sessions.
However much a site has terms and conditions and however they promise you that they won’t use your information for anything other than ‘verification’, they all inadvertently track you. They track your browsing history, your current interests and your recent online searches. They all do it.
Here are a few steps that you can follow to get yourself some much-needed privacy.
1. Change Browser Settings:
By default, your browser allows websites to store small amount of information called COOKIES. Some genuine sites use this information to keep track of your preferences and to auto-login. But ‘naughty’ sites track information about you using the same cookies. You can easily change these settings in any browser and adjust it to store information only for a short time period. Or block cookies from certain sites which you think are behaving weirdly. You can also opt for “Private Browsing” mode (also known as incognito or inprivate) if you are using someone else’ computer system. You can also keep track of what info is stored and periodically remove the unwanted content that you suspect intrudes into your privacy.
This website provides information and security options for your privacy. There are various tools to prevent or monitor tracking. Privacy Scores index can be used to search through many websites’ relevant policies to know with whom they share your information. A very valuable website for protecting your online privacy.
3. Search the Network Advertising Initiative site:
networkadvertising.org is a website formed by advertising companies to promote responsible business standards. It is easy to use the website and opt out of target ads from about 50 advertising networks.
4. Be mindful of other online dangers:
There are other simple steps to follow in order to be more secure online. The first would be to use a powerful password for your account. And do please use different passwords if you have multiple email and/or other accounts. Do not share your passwords to anyone. Purchase a smart anti-virus program such as Kaspersky Internet Security and update it regularly. If you find anything suspicious, please don’t click on the link for curiosity. Never open email attachments if it is unverified or it is from strangers. Try to avoid using public browsing centers/internet kiosks to check personal information.
Danger in online websites are closer than you might think and it goes beyond just tracking your browsing sessions for relevant advertising or product promotion. Lots of strange things are happening around us and it is our responsibility to be safe with our information with utmost strictness.