What You Need to Know About Internet Privacy

It is important to be aware of how public information shared on the internet is. Many people are oblivious to how certain information can be and is collected and used for profit by internet service providers (ISPs) and other entities. The FCC devised rules that were going to require ISPs to ask user permission to sell your browsing data. Recently, Congress passed a bill that repealed these internet privacy rules before they even went into effect. This measure has heightened awareness about internet privacy. Here is what you need to know.


  1.      Social Networks – It is easy to get caught up in the fun of sharing different aspects of your life on social networks. It is a great way to share major life events to many friends and family all at once. Privacy is not a strong suit of these sites. Keep in mind that once someone else shares something you posted, you no longer have control over that information. This means information shared on social networks is almost impossible to erase.


  1.      Free Websites and Applications – Nothing in this world is free. Many sites and applications are free to use, but the companies that run these sites and services may be collecting and selling the information generated by your public activities on the Internet (this does not include sensitive information like identity and financial information). Virtual private networks can help prevent this sharing of your browsing history. VPNs R Us is a great resource for learning about VPNs and what they can and cannot do for you.


  1.      Private Browsing – Using the private browsing mode offered by many Internet browsers is a great first line of defense. It deletes Internet tracking records from your computer when the browser is closed. This only applies to that browser and that particular session. This protects your privacy from prying eyes that might also be using your computer. It does not protect you from entities that track and collect your information while you are browsing.


  1.      Private Search Engines – These search engines choose not to collect and track your Internet activity in order to fund free service. Use of these private search engines gives you consistent, untracked search results.


  1.      Private Policies – Make sure to read private policies. They tell you what a website can and cannot or will or will not track and collect from you and how it will use this information. It is easy to skip over these, but it is wise to take the time to know what you are sacrificing in using certain websites.


As laws change, consumers are expected to take charge of their own privacy. It is important to educate yourself on privacy measures you can take while browsing.


  1. Hi Chris, thanks for the post super high-level read on internet privacy! The bill congress passed repealing the prior privacy rules really bothers me on so many fronts. I’m curios if you use/used Mozilla Firefox’s “Track Me Not” tool? It’s supposed to be an extra layer similar to your #3 point on private browsing.

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