We previously showed the various ways that Google is tracking your online activity, as well as the data the search giant likely has stored about you.
But, it’s not just Google that is quantifying everything you do – pretty much every website is tracking you in some shape or form. Here’s what you need to know, and also a way to keep the trackers at bay.
Is Your Favorite Website Spying On You?
Today’s infographic is from StudyWeb, and it goes over how different websites engage in tracking users.
These trackers are intended to allow websites to tailor their experience to each user. This way, you’ll see more relevant ads, and your individual preferences will be remembered. While many people appreciate these benefits, others do not believe the trade-off with their privacy is worth it.
If you are a privacy-oriented person and want to take action, the bottom of the infographic gives you step-by-step instructions on how to change your browser preferences on a number of devices to avoid such extensive tracking.
How you experience the web should be your choice. That’s why being informed about how tracking works and learning how to protect your privacy are both important things to know.
While it’s true that trackers can’t be eliminated completely – mainly because top websites like Google and Amazon have their own proprietary tracking systems – taking these actions can at least help keep them at bay.
How to Be Invisible on the Internet
This in-depth infographic provides a practical guide on how anyone can increase privacy on their browser, social media networks, and mobile device.
Everywhere you look, concerns are mounting about internet privacy.
Although giving up your data was once an afterthought when gaining access to the newest internet services such as Facebook and Uber, many people have had their perspective altered by various recent scandals, billions of dollars of cybertheft, and a growing discomfort around how their personal data may be used in the future.
More people want to opt out of this data collection, but aside from disconnecting entirely or taking ludicrous measures to safeguard information, there aren’t many great options available to limit what is seen and known about you online.
The Next Best Thing
It may not be realistic to use Tor for all online browsing, so why not instead look at taking more practical steps to reducing your internet footprint?
Today’s infographic comes to us from CashNetUSA, and it gives a step-by-step guide – that anyone can follow – to limit the amount of personal data that gets collected on the internet.
As you can see, you can take simple steps to limit the amount of personal information you give up online.
To be absolutely clear, these actions will not reduce your footprint to nothing – but they will make many important categories of data invisible for all intents and purposes.
Basic Building Blocks
The simple actions that can be taken fall into three major realms: internet browsers, social networks, and mobile phones.
1. Internet Browsers:
Whether you are using Chrome, Firefox, or Internet Explorer, there are easy things you can do to increase privacy. These include using private browsing, blocking third-party cookies, and tailoring the permissions for websites that you access.
2. Social Media Platforms
Major social networks have options built-in for users seeking privacy – it’s just many people don’t know they are there. On Facebook, for example, you can prevent your name being linked to ads – and on Twitter, you can prevent Twitter from tracking you.
3. Mobile Phones
We live more and more on our smartphones, but thankfully there are options here as well. You can block ad tracking on Safari, or opt out of ad personalization on Android. There is even a simple setting on Android that allows you to encrypt your phone.
Here’s What the Big Tech Companies Know About You
Comparing the types of data that the big tech companies like Facebook, Google, and Amazon admit to collecting in their privacy policies.
The novelty of the internet platform boom has mostly worn off.
Now that companies like Facebook, Amazon, and Alphabet are among the world’s most valued companies, people are starting to hold them more accountable for the impact of their actions on the real world.
From the Cambridge Analytica scandal to the transparency of Apple’s supply chain, it’s clear that big tech companies are under higher scrutiny. Unsurprisingly, much of this concern stems around one key currency that tech companies leverage for their own profitability: personal data.
What Big Tech Knows
Today’s infographic comes to us from Security Baron, and it compares and contrasts the data that big tech companies admit to collecting in their privacy policies.
While the list of data collected by big tech is extensive in both length and breadth, it does take two to tango.
For many of these categories, users have to willingly supply their data in order for it to be collected. For example, you don’t have to fill out your relationship status on Facebook, but millions of users choose to do so.
Did I Opt Into This?
The majority of the data categories on the list make sense – it’s a no-brainer that Amazon has your credit card information, or that Google knows what websites you visit. Even the least tech-savvy person would likely understand this.
However, there are definitely some categories of data that get collected and stored that may sound unnerving to some people:
- Facebook knows your political views, religious views, and even your ethnicity
- Xbox users will have their skeletal tracking data collected through the Kinect device
- Facebook also knows your income level, which it finds out through partnerships with personal data brokers
- Platforms collect your documents, email, and message data – though some of this is just metadata
- Facebook and Microsoft store facial recognition data, based on the pictures you upload
Remember, this is just what companies admit to collecting in their privacy policies – what else do you think they know?
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