What does the Internet know about you?
You are an ordinary Internet user – not a celebrity, nor a politician or a very important person. So no one is interested in your online activities, right? Wrong.
In fact, it doesn’t matter how old you are or what you do with your life, information that you provide about yourself on the Internet is highly valued. This is why every web page you visit, every click, like or share is carefully monitored, recorded and stored. And even more – now that we can’t imagine taking a single step without our smartphones, it is easy for snoopers to know exactly where we go and for how long.
Why are we being tracked?
The answer is simple as that: money. Almost all the data, including your phone number and home address, nowadays is for sale and there are thousands of companies specializing in this particular field. Of course, separate parts of this information are worthless, but once they are assembled, analyzed and interpreted, they can be successfully used by marketers to target potential customers. The more they know, the more accurate picture about you they have, which helps targeting even more successful.
Actually, it goes beyond just simple marketing. Apparently, your data can be used not only to sell you things, but also to sell a candidate. You may have heard that a big data company was involved in the Trump’s presidential campaign, swaying voters by targeting them with carefully built psychometric Facebook profiles.
What can we do about it?
Sure you don’t like the fact of being monitored and tracked. The best you can do here is to find out what the web knows about you and try to be more careful with your private information on the web. The quirky Chrome extension Data Selfie is created exactly for this particular purpose.
With your permission, it collects and analyses your Facebook activity and creates a profile similar to what advertisers see about each user. Based on your engagement and the content on your feed, it will show you your likely political orientation, causes you care about the most and even make predictions about your character and general intelligence.
Data Selfie is definitely a very useful tool to show the importance of our digital habits and how they directly affect our privacy. The developers assure that the app doesn’t collect or store any of your data. But if you have wondered about it even for a second, you’re on the right way to protecting your privacy.
Let’s go further
The next step you can take is to get a reliable anti-tracking browser extension, which blocks cookies and helps to protect yourself from malicious advertising and tracking. If you are not sure which one to choose, Disconnect, Ghostery or Privacy Badger from EFF may be good picks.
Another tool for enhancing your general privacy when browsing is a VPN service. Although it won’t protect your from website cookies, it encrypts your Internet traffic and routes it through a remote VPN server, so you can securely browse websites with your IP address hidden. Furthermore, NordVPN protects your data with military-grade encryption and keeps no logs of your activity. This makes it much more difficult for ISPs or other snoopers to monitor or track your online activities.