While laws like Europe's GDPR are trying to give the user more control, you can take matters into your own hands, just to be sure.
SEE: Information security policy (Tech Pro Research)
Here are five ways to protect your privacy.
- Stop third-party trackers. Browser plug-ins like Privacy Badger and Disconnect.me stop trackers and malware, and let you decide if you want to allow a website to track you in exchange for their free content. You decide. Not them.
- Get a new browser. The Brave browser combats tracking and malware by default, no extension needed. And the TOR browser includes the onion router software that hides your internet connection from prying eyes.
- Get a proxy like SSLPrivateProxy.com. It will secure your web browser's traffic so that nobody sees it—other than the proxy operator.
- Get a VPN. A virtual private network will put your entire internet connection, not just one app or browser, behind an encrypted tunnel. That means your ISP or anyone on that open Wi-Fi hotspot can't see your traffic. VPN service comes in all shapes and prices, so be sure you're buying from a trustworthy vendor.
- Get a whole new internet. I2P, the Invisible Internet Project, creates anonymous connections by sending your end-to-end encrypted traffic through a network of tens of thousands of volunteer computers around the world. That means a compromised TOR node, proxy, or VPN provider can't reveal your traffic at the endpoint. It's free and open source, though websites have to support it for it to work.
A tool for every level of caution. Just because you're paranoid does not mean that several companies don't have shadow profiles of you.
- Online security 101: Tips for protecting your privacy from hackers and spies (ZDNet)
- How to use a VPN to protect your internet privacy (ZDNet)
- 10 ways to raise your users' cybersecurity IQ (free PDF) (TechRepublic)
- Privacy, identity 'impossible to protect' say 74% of security pros (TechRepublic)
- It takes work to keep your data private online. These apps can help (CNET)
- Keep your files and messages private with these encryption apps (Download.com)
Tom is an award-winning independent tech podcaster and host of regular tech news and information shows. Tom hosts Sword and Laser, a science fiction and fantasy podcast, and book club with Veronica Belmont. He also hosts Daily Tech News Show, covering the most important tech issues of the day with the smartest minds in technology.