In 2022, privacy is a myth. Your internet services provider, advertisers, tech companies, and other interested 3rd parties can see everything you do online.
If this thought terrifies you, why not stop it from happening. Seriously, it takes minimal effort on your part. Just by changing some behaviors and
- Tracking pixels
- Browser fingerprinting
- Canvas fingerprinting
- HTML5 Web (DOM)
- HTTP ETags
We could go through all of them, but it would take thousands and thousands of words. We’ll just summarize by saying that the problem is bad and give you some tools to help.
6 Tools And Habits To Reclaim Your Privacy
Panopticlick is a nifty tool that tests your browser and reports on how trackers can see your browser and what you are doing online. It’s a good litmus for your current internet privacy configurations.
2. Clearing Cookies
Downloading the odd piece of software you can browse the web in secret, as is your right. It’s time you stopped worrying about who’s looking over your digital shoulder and did something about it.
How You Are Tracked Online
- Public IP Address
- 3rd Party Cookies
- Account information
- Social Sign Ins
- Facebook Audience Network
- Google’s AdMob
- Twitter’s MoPub
- AdSense odically
An easy-to-adopt behavior that limits how long companies can track you.
Facebook, Twitter, and practically every tech company load your browser up with 3rd party cookies that follow you around the web, and track you anytime there’s a widget or a plugin that’s able to deploy that code.
An easy way to stop this from happening is to go into your browser settings and clear the cookies. Take 20 seconds and you’re done. Try to do it daily or weekly,
3. Brave Browser
Brave is a chromium-based browser that blocks 3rd party cookies, trackers, and ads by default.
It’s significantly faster than Chrome too because it stops sites from running hundreds of requests to advertisers in the background.
Brave also has a randomized fingerprint which makes it harder for tech companies to follow you around the internet.
A VPN will hide your public IP address from the sites you visit and your browsing history from your ISP. Governments all over the world are mandating that ISPs collect data on their customers, which is risky because now there’s a record of what you do online that exists.
If a record exists then it can be hacked, and once that happens your browsing history can be public knowledge. This also exposes you to identity theft.
Your ISP could be carelessly collecting your HTTP requests and unknowingly storing your usernames and passwords. If you’re looking for a VPN, we recommend SurfShark to protect your PC.
5. Tor Browser
The Tor Browser routes your traffic through several nodes that were configured for maximum anonymity. It’s about as private as you can get online.
Your request might pass through 3 Tor relay nodes, and each node knows about the previous node in the chain. By the time your request reaches the site you typed into the URL bar, there are three degrees of separation between you and the site you’re visiting.
The Tor browser is set up to hide additional information like your screen size, and the type of device you are using. Any cookies will automatically clear when you are done browsing and so will your browsing history.
6. Incognito mode
Incognito mode disables some trackers in Chrome and Firefox. It’s far from perfect and your ISP can still see what you are doing online and so can people standing behind you, but it’s better than nothing.
Incognito mode won’t retain any of the session cookies or browsing history which makes it an extremely low-effort way to get some privacy online.
7. Privacy Badger
Privacy Badger is a browser extension that automatically blocks secret trackers and fingerprinting. It’s not an ad blocker, although it will block some ads, it was purely designed to prevent trackers and advertisers from IDing you.
A lot of sites nowadays won’t let you visit them with an ad blocker on. Most of these sites are still accessible with Privacy Badger. Most blockers rely on human-curated lists of known trackers.
Privacy Badger is perhaps the only algorithmic tracker that can block trackers by examining requests that violate user consent.
Let’s Wrap This Up
None of these methods are foolproof but they definitely help maintain your online privacy. There’s some light at the end of the tunnel.
Most browsers are starting to block 3rd party cookies, which have been the go-to for tracking people around the internet for the last 20 years.
Unfortunately, they are just one of many ways to ID you. The secret is to keep reading about privacy and updating your practices to stay ahead of the next clever way they find to target you.