Nowadays, majority of people have access to the internet. The window to the world wide web, physically is our gadgets (be it our mobile devices, laptops or computers). But digitally, in order to access information in the internet, you most likely need a browser.
Have you ever given a thought about the browser you use? Do you even know the incognito function of your browser? The mere use of incognito puts another layer of protection for you not to be tracked while using the internet.
Creating a privacy centric set-up with your devices entails that you initially and actively protect yourself from the outside world. Think of it as having locked your doors at night to be safe inside your home. We would look at two areas to focus on, which is your device and the browser you use.
(Note: I have not included social media apps, since your privacy is at your hands when you engage and use these social media platforms. You should be mindful that in using them, you are foregoing a certain level of privacy. You should set it up according to your privacy preference.)
FOCUS ON YOUR DEVICE
The first step into having a privacy centric set-up is focusing on your device first. The device you use can be set in a way that it limits access to certain applications. By virtue also of the law, every apps you download or have is mandated to inform you should they need access to your device. For example, a new camera app, should prompt you to allow that app to access your phone’s camera.
- Only download from legitimate store like the App Store and Play Store, since these curate and check all the apps available for you to download. Your phones should have a setting where it prevents the download of third-party softwares. Do not turn it off if you have no need for such third party softwares.
- Always read the request for access of new apps you download, you may unwittingly allow an app more access than necessary. Be wary of apps which are requesting access for something it have no need of. (Example: A simple game, which is requiring access to your camera when it has no option to shoot a picture)
- To ensure that you’re the only one who has access to your phones and laptops, always secure them with passwords, your fingerprint or face for face unlock.
- Have a trustworthy anti-virus in place, so that you are protected from any underlying malware.
FOCUS ON YOUR BROWSER
Majority of the time when we need to search for something, we use a browser for that. Be it Google Chrome, Edge, Safari or Firefox.
Does the browser you’re using respect your privacy?
The Case of Google’s Privacy Settings
Google is the first when it comes to a browser. Majority of people use them because before they used to have unparalleled speed when it comes to loading websites. Since many people use them, data are always being gathered from the use of this browser usually used for marketing. In recent times, Google is more open on how they use your data they gathered from you, from the multitude of platform you have availed from them (i.e. Chrome, Gmail, YouTube to name a few) They usually use it for personalization to cater specifically to the user, but they also use this as a means to advertise to you by use of their Ad Sense. Your data may even be shared or sold with other entities.
Let me explain, you know the ads that pop up while you’re watching youtube? These ads are catered to your particular demographic, or recent search history, or even the specific type of video you watch or all of the above. So, say for example you’re watching a music-centered video, the likelihood of an ad related to music might pop up, catered specifically to you as a male, age 22, currently in Manila, who likes music and recently searched for piano lessons.
Google gathered these information both from the things you actually provided for them and also the things you provided them unknowingly.
This, of course, can be viewed positively. Since the system is trying to be more tailored and fit for you, the user. But, if this kind of surveillance is not up your alley, then you can consider switching to other browsers.
Here are some Google alternative
which where created with privacy in mind.
*In no particular order. All of these offers privacy and trackless browsing experience.
Apple has been known to value privacy of its user and it is no different with their own browser.
Learn More: https://www.apple.com/safari/
A relatively new comer to the plethora of other browser, but promises to deliver more on privacy and security.
Learn more: https://brave.com
Out with the old, and in with the new, with Firefox new and updated browser which promises a secure browsing experience.
Learn More: https://www.mozilla.org/en-US/firefox/new/
Tor boast of having the highest standards in terms of privacy, but also promises to uphold freedom of expression by defending against censorship.
Learn More: https://www.torproject.org/download/