Internet usage has rapidly transformed from a disconcerting prospect to an alarming reality. We now live in a golden digital age wherein people have become so absorbed in overflowing information that oversharing is now a rule, rather than an exception.
It has never been top secret that online activity is far from being private. Chat, email, photos, videos, file transfers, social networking data - these kinds of user information and a multitude of other online data may be accessed through the click of a button, at any given time or place.
AOL, Apple, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, Yahoo, and the other Internet giants of today are known to make our data available, and they have been reported and found to keep track of online usage.
In contrast, a number of services and software providers continue to deny those claims, and that they keep private all user information and usage in their database.
As luck would have it, there still are optional steps available to protect user privacy: encrypting all files and any form of electronic message, using a safer and more stringent browser, and staying away from social media altogether.
If you want strict supervision over the use of your information, here are a few methods for keeping your private data away from those Internet companies, and even the public.
1. Search Smarter
If you want to search online without leaving traces of login details, passwords, and usage data, such as search queries, you better avoid search engines that are known to monitor usage data to sell targeted advertisements to other companies.
2. Surf Safer
3. Surf Using HTTPS
HTTPS is more secure than HTTP because it is encrypted, so it prevents communication channels from being sniffed out or interrupted.
4. Email More Securely
Stop using email service providers that show targeted advertisements even when you already are in your private inbox because those ads rely on your email usage data. Alternatively, use other email services that encrypt these three things: email messages, connection from the service provider, and the stored, cached, or archived emails.
5. Try Alternative Services
Ditch Internet service providers that keep track or monitor your online usage because there are plenty of alternatives that will still make the whole Internet experience convenient
6. Become Antisocial
If you want to keep your information private, and you have the emotional resources to do it, you ought to think of using social networks and social media platforms as a mere fragment of the past.
7. Ditch Your Smartphone
Consider the number of mobile apps and services that want to "provide better search results" by tracking your location. It does not get as simple as that.
8. Watch Out For Hotspots
Even though some Wi-Fi hotspots offer lease times to change dynamic IP addresses, these wireless devices, especially those open to the public, still pose a security risk. Fortunately, you can use VPN services to protect your data from hotspots.
9. Encrypt Your Files
Encrypt all of your storage devices and tie up all encrypted services with a very long but easy-to-remember password. Nonetheless, if an intelligent hacker has the right tools and the right skills, no single encryption scheme is completely secure.
For further information on how to keep your Internet usage private, check out this infographic by WhoIsHostingThis.