Who's watching out for your privacy online?
Sure, you can keep track of the political news of how the worldwide privacy debate is going. GDPR rolled out at the end of May as the EU pushed to protect its citizens' privacy to an extent. The net neutrality debate in the United States continues to rumble towards its demise under the current FCC. What it boils down to is this: YOUR privacy is up to YOU.
When you browse online, companies track your habits, from your ISP to Facebook. It's why ads start showing up for shoes after you searched Amazon for a gift for Father's Day.
If you want to better protect your privacy online, follow these three strategies for good tracking hygiene:
2. Choose a good ad blocker. Masking your IP address is only a small part of cleaning up online tracking. Using an ad blocker plugin or browser extension removes or alters web page ads. As the page loads, the blocker scans the scripts on the site and blocks items on a list. The list varies depending on the ad blocker, but they’re looking for things that compromise a user’s privacy, such as tracking codes, pop-ups and banner ads.
3. Use HTTPS as much as possible. Once you’ve arrived on a domain, make sure your traffic between the domain’s IP and yours is encrypted by using HTTPS. How often do you check the address bar at the top of your browser to see if you’re on a secured site? There are browser extensions available that will automatically redirect you from the HTTP site to HTTPS, when available. As browsers roll out flags to display sites on HTTP as unsecure, users may be more and more aware of when they aren’t on the secured page. When you’re on the HTTPS site, other parties can’t eavesdrop on your website visit.
It’s up to you to take online privacy into your own hands. By following these three strategies, you’ll help lessen the amount of tracking done by third-party scripts littered throughout the web.