Thursday, May 24

It's More Than Facebook! Protect Your Data with These Tips

Your data is a hot commodity. It's not just Facebook that is collecting your data. Many other sites, companies, and advertisers do, too. Whether it's information that you provide directly or that's collected by tracking you, there are steps that you can take to reduce its collection.

Start by thinking carefully about the information you provide to sites and apps, or that you post or store online. For a transaction, provide the minimum of information needed to complete it. Check how the the site or app secures the data, who they share it with, and what they will do with it. If you can't find that information or don't like what it says, don't use that site or app.

Before installing or using an app, review its privacy policy and what permissions it wants. Some apps want to access information on your device that it doesn't need but collects to share with other companies.

Review the privacy and security settings of every social media site your use. In particular, look for the sharing, third party and advertising settings.

Review the settings for the browsers you use on all of your devices. Most have an incognito or private browsing mode. When you use this setting, the browser typically doesn't save cookies, searches, temporary files, or page history. Many also have other privacy enhancement features so check them out. You can also use browser add-ons such as HTTPS Everywhere, Privacy Badger, Disconnect, and Ghostery to reduce tracking.

Use a search engine that doesn't track you, such as Duck Duck Go and Start Page. In some browsers, you can set the default search engine to either of these.

Consider using an ad blocker. Though some sites may not allow you to view their content unless you disable the blocker or whitelist the site. Even with an ad blocker you may still see ads. Those ads have been approved by the independent Acceptable Ads Committee. Acceptable ads typically don't have animation and are unobtrusive on the site.

These tips are just a few of the many steps you can take. These resources provide more tips, tools, and instructions.