Daily digital consumption eats up a huge slice of the personal time pie. The Internet is well utilized in Google searches, sending work or personal emails, and checking banking apps. It also demonstrates how much private data is shared on the virtual grapevine.
Ever been curious why an item you thought of purchasing suddenly shows up in adverts or on your social media? No, the answer isn’t because you are telepathically linked to your devices.
Your browser or application data is being tracked and you are experiencing targeted marketing. Our online data is being collected and sold to advertisers for different uses. It may seem intrusive, but there are ways to assist with this tracking.
Private data is what exactly?
Oftentimes data privacy and cyber security get confused. The latter focuses on cybersecurity while the former deals with the collection of personal digital statistics.
Personal data is all your private and confidential information. It includes, but is not limited to
identification number, telephone number, email, and physical address. Your search history, and posts you’ve liked on social media, in essence, almost all your internet activity can be tracked.
Every piece of Internet activity leaves a “digital footprint” that serves as an identifier. IP addresses can be used to trace specific data back directly to the user. This leads to trackers or data brokers being able to monitor data using our internet activities and behaviors.
Tip 1: Take back control over your data
As daily life is integral to digital activity, not all data protection is possible. Sometimes the roots of brokers are so deep, even a systems purge is unlikely to decrease the amount of spam.
In instances where GDPR laws have been circumvented, professional help becomes a necessity. Various data removal companies exist, including Incogni, that actively contact data brokers and request the removal of your data.
Vigilance is the prevention of costly damage in case your information lands in the wrong hands, which is a reality many people have had to face. No need to let your data get sold or tracked.
Tip 2: Keep an eye on private data usage
While it might seem like wasted time, the onus protection lies on you. Smart devices offer you a way to search and remove problematic data capturers such as cookies.
For instance, On Apple devices, there is an App Privacy Report tool. This enables users to view their Internet activity and apps that are likely tracking them. These days the laws to protect data have seen many sites implement a user option to decline cookies. However, this is not yet a global mandatory requirement.
There is a “Cookies” disclaimer that pops up, during access to websites. Unfortunately, some websites don’t allow users to continue if cookies are rejected. By accepting cookies, you are permitting the website to collect your data and use it for advertisement purposes.
Tips 3: VPN is your friend
Enjoying free wi-fi at the airport or your favorite restaurants could unknowingly put your data at risk. Your searches could be intercepted and directed to an identical fraudulent website. Using a VPN, when possible, could prevent IP tracking.
Restrict social media features through location blocking, preventing unnecessary tags, and hiding personal data. Change applications on mobile devices to “deny app tracking.