Every time you do anything on the Internet, your activity is being tracked. Every search you perform, every website you visit, and every product you view is being monitored. This is why you can look at something online then immediately see ads for it on other websites. You are being tracked by search engines, social media websites, and hidden third parties such as data brokers, advertising networks and affiliate agencies. All of them build profiles on you and either use or sell that information for profit.
While it is not possible to prevent every tracker from recording all of your Internet activity, there are steps you can take to minimize the tracking and avoid your Internet activity from being associated with you personally. If you are signed into an account, assume that you are being tracked by that website. This includes Google and Facebook even if you are not actually using them at the time. If you are logged on then they can track your activity. The easiest way to prevent this is to log out of your accounts when you are not using them. Websites intentionally make this inconvenient by requiring you to log onto one to access other associated websites. You can also turn off "cookies" in your browser. These are bits of code left on your computer that allows websites to identify you and load pages faster. Many websites require you to turn on your cookies to use them. You must decide whether privacy or convenience is more important.
In regard to social media, the concern over privacy focuses more on keeping certain people away from information you want limited to specific groups. Most large websites requiring accounts also have privacy settings allowing users some discretion over how much they are followed. Remarkably few people take advantage of privacy settings even though they are simple to use. When deciding which privacy settings to select, assume that all information you reveal on social media is viewable by everyone. This includes social media friends, friends of friends, and complete strangers who can view your public profile. It is a very good idea to restrict access to information that can help an identity thief impersonate you such as your birth date, location, and any answers to security questions. All you have to do it check the appropriate boxes on the website's privacy settings page.
Some social media websites, like Facebook, allow you to select a privacy tier. You can select whether you want your content seen by everyone, just friends, also friends of friends, or custom settings. You can decide who gets to see specific posts, who can look you up, and who can send you messages. This is a valuable tool when you want social media content to only go to your drinking buddies, or your immediate family, or your work colleagues.
Regardless of your privacy settings, there is often certain information that you can't hide in your social media profile. This includes your name, profile photo, and some groups you belong to. If you don't want this information public, then don't provide it. Be careful if you decide to use an alias. Facebook requires users to display their real names. If they find out that you are not using your real name, they may cancel your account.
For more options, see the Your Options page of this website.
keeping you and your family safe
All information on this website is for informational purposes only and is not legal advice. Ninomiya Law, PLLC and Kent Ninomiya only provide legal advice to clients when there is a valid engagement agreement signed by both attorney and clients. The principal office of Ninomiya Law, PLLC is located in Round Rock, Texas. Ninomiya Law, PLLC is responsible for the content of this website.