There’s no doubt about it, we’re surrounded by technology and submit to an awful lot of data collection in return for the convenience factor. Even those of us who consider ourselves tech-savvy and try to keep track of our digital privacy can slip up from time to time.
Here are five privacy risks you may not know about and five solutions.
- Incognito mode is not secure, or private
A common assumption is that using a browser’s incognito mode means any activity is untracked and hidden. That’s not the case, incognito mode merely means your search history is not kept with your standard search history.
Solution: VPN encryption
Use a VPN to secure connections and effectively hide your internet activity, including your IP address.
- Google is tracking your purchases
It may produce the world’s most powerful browser, but Google has a lot to answer for when it comes to online privacy. The tech giant’s email client even retains your purchase history.
Solution: Stop using Chrome and Gmail
The only real way to avoid Google’s long and all-pervasive reach is to avoid all of their products. Ditch Chrome, Gmail, Docs, Sheets, and everything Google produced. If that’s a step too far for you, try and delete your purchase history (https://myaccount.google.com/purchases) although, that’s easier said than done.
- Free VPNs sell your data
Users may think they’re being clever and retaining their privacy by using a VPN at all times. However, if you’re using a free VPN you’re risking your data being used as a commodity. Many free VPNs collect then sell your information.
Solution: Switch to a secure paid service
Using a paid and trustworthy VPN can guarantee the security of your information.
- Risk: Google “skim-reads” your emails
This well-documented practice has been happening for some time. Google’s algorithms skim email messages for information about purchases, trips, flights, and more.
Solution: Switch email clients
The only real solution here is to avoid Google across the board. Mozilla’s Firefox and Thunderbird are better options.
- Risk: Amazon and law enforcement are in cahoots
Ring, the IoT home-security camera company is owned by Amazon and has a high-profile relationship with police, including willingly handing over user data. Even the way citizens and police communicate is monitored and controlled by Amazon.
Solution: Ditch Ring produced devices and give away your Alexa
Unless you like the idea of your home cameras being so connected to government services. As for Alexa, the security concerns here are multiple and go way beyond voice recordings.