3 Essential Tools for Protecting Your Online Privacy
Online privacy has become a major concern in recent years. In fact, every time you pick up any Internet-connected device, you’re expanding your digital footprint even further. In other words, every time you do anything online, you’re generating more and more data about yourself. From search queries entered in any of the mainstream search engines to what you share on social media to the very emails you send and receive, almost every byte of information you enter on the Internet helps advertisers build up an ever more detailed dossier about your life. There was a time when most people accepted this for the sake of convenience factors, such as personalised search results but, with identity theft and government snooping becoming increasingly common concerns, it’s time to take back control.
#1 VPN Services
A virtual private network acts as a barrier between your computer and the Web. When you connect to the Internet via a VPN, all traffic goes through the remote VPN server, making it practically impossible for third parties to be able to identify you. In other words, a VPN masks your real IP address, which also allows you to appear to be from browsing in a different country to that where you’re actually located. As such, a VPN service is great for both freedom and privacy, particularly when using public wireless networks.
#2. Browser Extensions
There is no shortage of browser extensions that claim to protect your privacy online, so choosing the right options isn’t always easy. Ad blockers are among the most popular browser extensions, since they help to block intrusive ads such as popups, gateway pages and those annoying clickbait reels that you often see on blogs and news websites. Other popular extensions include those that block cookies and prevent websites from tracking you. Almost all browsers, including mobile ones, support extensions, including those that help to protect your privacy.
#3. Alternative Search Engines
Google, Bing, Yahoo and almost all other mainstream search engines track your search queries so they can display personalized ads. If you’re tired of being tracked every time you want to search for something, you can use a private search engine to protect your anonymity.
Alternatively, if you prefer to get search results from Google or another major search engine, you can do so using a privacy overlay website that will submit and return search results for you on your behalf. This way, the actual search engine will not be able to find out any personally identifiable information about you.