Protecting Your Online Privacy

As social media becomes an integral part of our lives, cybersecurity and internet privacy becomes a primary concern these days. What can you do to better safeguard access to you and your personal information online? The first step is to recognize the risks and become more familiar with the terminology. For example, what exactly is a cookie (besides the delicious thing you eat) and what exactly does it do? And what are data brokers or third-party advertisers and how do they work together to collect your information? Understanding such things are essential to better protecting yourself online. Another way to protect your information is to minimize access to it, by using sites that feature an opt-out model of collecting user data. One of the best ways to combat website data collection is to use a web browser that doesn’t track your every move or sell your personal information to interested third-party buyers. DuckDuckGo has been praised by many internet privacy experts as an excellent alternative web browser option. It doesn’t save your searches, send/sell your searches to others, doesn’t save or track your personal information, or use cookies by default (although it can be used if you so wish).

It’s a well known fact that the web is becoming more and more private. User agreements have evolved over the years to reflect that diminishing privacy. The huge problem is that with jargon-filled, microscopic font, twenty page, user terms agreements forms, it can sometimes be quite difficult to know what exactly you are agreeing to when you click “I Agree”. We often do this without thinking twice about what we are giving up when unknowingly agreeing to these terms. One fantastic resource is the website Terms of Service;Didn’t Read, which breaks down terms and privacy policies of the most popular websites and internet services into terms we users can actually understand. It even has the option of adding it onto your browser so you never have to worry about not understanding what you’re agreeing to ever again. Attached is a copy of the short brochure of tips and basic information.


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