Many of the best steps you could take to protect your privacy in 2019 still apply to 2020. However, some of these could become even more important has websites and other tech companies develop new ways to track your information. These steps can help minimize the data you leave exposed to tracking on the internet.
1. Reset Your Online Advertising IDs
Online advertising networks use specific IDs to identify you and your devices. These networks use these IDs to determine which ads you’re most interested in. You can reset your advertising ID on many of these advertising networks, to isolate your past browsing from the ads you see now.
2. Opt-Out of Customization in Google, Microsoft, Apple, Etc.
“Customization” and “personalization” sound like great features when it comes to online tools. However, these are driven by tracking your behavior and optimizing the service you’re using. If you’re concerned about tracking and want to maintain your privacy online, you should turn off these features. One of the most concerning outcomes of algorithms providing “personalized” feeds of content is filter bubbles. These isolate you in a “bubble” of content that strengthens your existing views, even if many other perspectives exist.
3. Turn Off Location Sharing for Most Of Your Apps
Many apps that people use every day use some type of location tracking. For some apps, like maps or navigation apps, this functionality is essential. However, many apps request your location data without a real justification for doing so. If there is no benefit to sharing your location with an app, you should turn off that function to prevent any unwanted tracking.
4. Turn Always-On Listening for Virtual Assistants and Smart Home Devices
If you have smart home devices in your house or office, or you have Siri or other virtual assistants always listening you should turn those off. It may be slightly less convenient if instead of “Hey, Siri” or “Ok, Google” you have to manually turn on a device but you won’t have to worry about your devices recording every conversation you have.
5. Delete Location History in Google
If you haven’t checked your Google Activity and deleted the information from your account, there is likely a detailed history of your location data associated with your Google profile. To minimize this type of tracking in the future, you should turn off this feature and delete your existing location history.
Read More: How To Delete Your Google Maps History – TNW
6. Delete Your Facebook Account. (Review your profile and other information shared about you. Review app permissions.)
Deleting your Facebook account is obviously the best way to minimize the information you share with Facebook. However, many people need a Facebook account for their work or for communication with their friends and family. If you aren’t ready to delete your Facebook account, you should still run through your profile and make sure you aren’t sharing any information that you aren’t comfortable with other people knowing. Another step to take is to check that you aren’t granting unnecessary permissions to apps you’ve installed on your phone or elsewhere.
7. Review The Apps That Have Access To Your Google Account
If you have a Google account, you may notice other websites allowing you to login with that account. This may be giving these websites access to more information about you than is necessary. If you want to prevent third parties from collecting information about you, you should check and make sure you aren’t granting access to apps that you no longer use or that don’t need access to your Google account.
8. Delete Unnecessary, or Unused, Apps From Your Devices
Leaving apps you no longer use installed on your devices could be giving those apps the ability to track you. If you no longer use an app, the best practice is to simply delete it off of your device. For most apps, if you decide you need to use it again, you can quickly reinstall and log back into your account without losing your information.
9. Delete Cookies
Cookies are another way that websites can identify you and then track your browsing. Cookies are basically small files that are unique to your browser or device. These allow websites to recognize when you return to their sites and keep you logged in or keep other settings enabled. You can use browser extensions like Cookie Inspector to delete your cookies and prevent websites from using them to follow you around the internet.
10. Use an Ad Blocker
Ad blockers not only can protect your privacy, but they can also drastically improve your browsing experience. You’ll notice fewer display ads cluttering the sites you visit. Ads often contain tracking scripts and other tracking methods that can collect other information about you. Using a legitimate, reliable ad blocker can help minimize the tracking you would otherwise encounter by letting ads load in your browser.
What have you done to protect your information on the internet? Let us know in the comments.