Your data privacy is the most valuable commodity today on the web, but very few understand this. Every website you visit on the internet there is digital traces that you leave behind and can be used to track your movements or activities.
What type of data is collected about you? When browsing the internet, everything looks normal and unharmful to relay some information. But what looks like a simple process is used by businesses to check your location, type of browser you are using, type of device you’re using, adverts you’re responding to, and more.
Companies capture, store, and analyze your data to make predictive conclusions aimed at targeting you better. The type of information they gather about you is in return used to study your behavior and learn how to make business gain by selling to you the things you need.
That’s why it is important to protect your IP address to prevent other websites from collecting your information. Also, you block onlookers from learning about your activities online and keeping your data secure. For you never know what they might do with your personal information.
Consumers Data that Most Business Collect
The data collected is the most privy to you, such as the type of device you are using, browser type, and your IP address.
This involves your transactional details, especially purchasing history, information about products use.
This type of data helps websites learn about your interaction a business, social media platforms, use of apps, ads, emails, and more.
This type of data tells websites/ businesses about consumer buying criteria, product desire, level of satisfaction, and more.
How Things Happen
When visiting various websites on the web, some require you to sign up; others have cookies designed to make you accept for you to proceed with your intended purpose. Doing that, you give these websites consent to use your personal information.
Probably you may have lost count of places you left information that is private to you. Facebook, for instance, requires you to put details of your name, birthday, location, where you went to school, and more. On your end, you proceed and post photos of your family members and maybe tag the location. You are doing it for the fun of course, and unknowingly leave a lot of information naked for companies to use it for their advantage.
The Hidden Agenda behind Data Collection
The websites that you visit on the web will never make their intention open. There is an adage that says when you’re given services for free; you are the product. Google and Facebook provide most of their tools to users for free, but in reality, there is a cost of using these tools in exchange for your privacy.
Google knows more than your spouse through the information you search online, your calendar plan, contacts on your phone, your travel plans, what you purchase, and the ads you click on. Facebook, on the other hand, does not have to chase you to learn what you are up to. Your profile and what you post are enough to track you down while on the platform or away. The information collected about you helps these companies to create ads that resonate with you and better target you.
Many other businesses, apart from Google and Facebook, are out there to make a profit by invading your privacy. Security technologist Bruce Schneier equates carrying smartphones with you to a tracking device. And despite the recent data breaches such as the Cambridge Analytica scandal, your privacy is even shared more for use in exchange for cheaper and better services.
If you are not tech-savvy, you will provide consent to your privacy because of convenience and better services, unaware of the consequences. If you are not aware, there are several ways companies utilize your data, as shown below:
- They take your data to enhance customer experience
- They transform your data into a profitable venture
- They use it to secure more data
- Your data helps them have a create a better marketing strategy
How to Prevent Getting Tracked Online
While consumer personal information is at stake and may look like a lone ranger in matters to do with the data breach, some laws protect you from companies violating your rights. However, if not sure how to protect yourself legally from these companies, here is a better approach to prevent websites from tracking your online activities.
Browse Anonymously – Websites track you if they can see you online. While there are various ways you can surf anonymously, Virtual Private Network VPN and proxy services are the most effective ways to keep your IP address hidden from trackers and hackers.
Get rid of Third Party Cookies – Do not entertain third party cookies and you put an end to tracking by deleting them. Go to your browser setting or simplify the process by using cleanup tools that clear all cookies by default.
Use Privacy Add-Ons – Adding privacy-focused add-ons prevents browsers from leaking information to any tracking sites. For instance, HTTPS (Hypertext Transfer Protocol Secure) that helps you to secure your online communication.
It is essential to be conscious of the type of information you are giving away to control what to stop or limit. Also, it is advisable to regularly check your social media privacy settings to make sure no more information is tracked apart from the basic required of you. And in case you are asked for personal information from web companies, you have a right to enquire in what ways it will be sued.