Today, the vast majority of Americans live a significant portion of their lives online. The Internet has evolved in such a way that people socialize with friends, find and communicate with potential mates, work, and research any topic that interests them in a single click. Social media has amplified the visibility of people’s online activities by putting them on view for family, friends, and even colleagues. No generation has created a richer paper trail than this one, even if that trail is entirely digital. But privacy concerns are the resulting tradeoff for constant connectivity. Here’s a closer look at how your Internet search history may be feeding information to different groups, including advertisers and even prospective employers, and what you can do to protect your privacy.
Your search provides instant lens into your world
Your Internet search history provides an instant window into your life. Gaining access to your information is big business. Companies exist today for the sole purpose of mining online data from sources such as Google and selling that information to companies that want to market to you. In addition, employers routinely access the search history stored on your computer to make sure that you’re remaining focused and productive on the job. Yet there are a number of steps that individuals can take to protect their online privacy.
Use the right tools to protect your online privacy
As an individual, it’s up to you to protect your privacy and identity online. One of the most important steps that you can take is using a secure browser, such as Google Chrome or Firefox. You should also take advantage of Chrome or Firefox’s extensions feature, which allows you to install plugins that help protect your privacy. One of the most important is SearchLock. SearchLock is the anonymous browsing tool that offers anonymous surfing that’s easy to set up. It helps protect your online anonymity by redirecting all searches to search engines that prioritize user privacy and don’t store or sell personal information.
Educate yourself about information storage
One of the biggest areas that you should focus on is educating yourself. Do you know what information is stored when you use specific search engines, visit individual sites, or log into social media platforms? Taking the time to learn what information is stored, how it’s used, and who has access to the information is invaluable. Being informed will help you make smart decisions about where you spend time online, and what steps you need to take to ensure that data you want to keep private remains protected.
Violations of your online privacy are a real threat on today’s ever-changing Internet. It’s important to be informed about how your data’s being used, and to take the steps to protect your privacy by downloading and using the latest tools that keep your identity safe.
Liz Alton is an author who writes on a variety of topics, including digital marketing, technology, and small business. She regularly writes about the latest developments that help protect consumer privacy online and off.