The other day I was thinking about new shoes. I went to Google and typed in “Keen Mary Janes”. Now, all I see when I’m on my computer (and phone!) are ads for Keens and ads for Mary Janes. So much for my online privacy… I keep wondering if I do decide to buy them will the ads disappear and I’ll start seeing ads for a different product that I’ve Googled.
I’ve been thinking a lot about privacy lately, ever since the House & Senate passed a bill last month in favor of blocking internet privacy rules. You can read more about that here. This bill essentially gives Internet Service Providers more leeway in selling our searching info to advertisers.
There are ways to keep our data more private, one of them being setting up a Virtual Private Network (VPN). That’s a little over my head, so I’ve asked Chris to write a blog about that. In the meantime, there are four pretty easy ways of keeping your searching history more private.
Online Privacy – What can you do?
Well, you could just stop using the Internet. No more email. No more Facebook and other Social Media. No more online shopping sprees. No more checking the news online. Yeah, like that’s gonna happen!
Or, you could….
Do all of your shopping in person. With cash. Without signing into the store’s reward program. A good friend of mine once went to a store and bought a pair of pink Ugg boots for a friend with cash. Unfortunately she did use the store’s reward card. For weeks afterwards she got ads on her computer for Uggs!
You can go to your local library. As long as you don’t sign in to your email or any other account, your online privacy is maintained. You can search for anything while you’re there without worrying about what your ISP will see. You can print off the relevant pages, fork over 10¢ or 20¢ per page, and be on your way.
I like What’s App’s description of their end-to-end encryption:
“WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption is available when you and the people you message use the latest versions of our app. Many messaging apps only encrypt messages between you and them, but WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption ensures only you and the person you’re communicating with can read what is sent, and nobody in between, not even WhatsApp. This is because your messages are secured with a lock, and only the recipient and you have the special key needed to unlock and read them.” Here’s the link to download WhatsApp to your Smartphone or tablet.
It’s easy to change your default search engine on the iPhone to DuckDuckGo. Click on the Settings icon, then scroll down to Safari. Click on Safari and select your preferred Search Engine. On your computer, just bookmark the DuckDuckGo page and use it whenever you do a search. I’ve been using it for a few weeks now and am not noticing a difference in the quality of responses to my searches.
Using DuckDuckGo and WhatsApp doesn’t protect you 100% but it does help you maintain some online privacy.
Chris Eddy of Geek For Hire, Inc. has been providing computer service to families and small businesses with Mac’s and PC’s for the past fifteen years. His company is highly rated by both the BBB (Better Business Bureau) and by Angie’s List. You can find more on our website, or give us a call 303-618-0154. Geek For Hire, Inc. provides onsite service (Tier 3) to the Denver / Boulder / Front Range area as well as remote service throughout North America.
We’ve been using Amazon Prime for the past few years. We like the free and fast shipping. With Prime we have access to online streaming too. Prime is usually $119/year, but you can get a free 30 day trial by clicking on this link: Try Amazon Prime 30-Day Free Trial. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.