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Online privacy is an oxymoron. For example, there is an advertiser ID on your phone that is supposed to keep your location anonymous. Are you surprised that’s not the case? Neither do I. Tap or click here for steps to view and remove your Advertiser ID.
It’s not always Big Tech advertisers and spying. A stranger or someone you know can pry into your accounts. Tap or click for a quick check you need to do to secure your Facebook, Google and Netflix accounts.
Privacy is not a given. Here are five ways to recover as much as possible.
1. Everyone’s least favorite type of cookie
You collect cookies when you browse the web on your phone, computer or tablet. These bits of data store information about the websites you visit. Cookies store your identifiers, personalization settings, advertising information and other details.
The advantage is that cookies save images and files and save you from having to log in each time you visit a site. But these cookies contain a lot of your information. Fortunately, you can delete cookies manually in just a few steps.
Tap or click here to delete cookies from your phone. Click this link to learn how to delete browser cookies from your computer.
Better yet, use incognito mode. When you browse the web in Incognito mode, your browser does not save your history, cookies, site data, or information you enter into forms. This Is keep all downloaded files or bookmarks created during the session.
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Be warned: your Internet service provider can still see your activity, as can a school or an employer providing your Internet access or your computer.
To switch to incognito mode on Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge, tap Ctrl+Shift+N (Where Command + Shift + N on Mac). Tap or click three times, you should still be browsing in Incognito mode.
For even more privacy, start a VPN. A virtual private network, or VPN, is a layer of protection between your devices and the internet. It hides your IP address and location. It also encrypts your data after you leave your device and travel to the website you are visiting.
Don’t even think about using a free VPN. At best, it will lack necessary privacy features and slow you down. At worst, it hides malware or tracks your information. my choice is ExpressVPNthe VPN I used before I became a sponsor of my national radio show.
2. Your emails are a wealth of information
Think about everything in your inbox. In the wrong hands, these digital messages can do a lot of damage.
Encryption is a method to protect your email from hackers, criminals and prying eyes. It’s a process where your email messages are scrambled, so if hackers manage to intercept them, all they’ll see is gibberish.
Big name email services such as Gmail and Yahoo do not provide end-to-end encryption. Encryption is difficult to implement and usually requires the participation of all correspondents. The process is not end-to-end if your email uses encryption, but mine doesn’t. At some point, your message will be vulnerable.
If encryption of your emails is essential, you will need to switch to a secure service like StartMail, ProtonMail, Mailfence, Tutanota or Hushmail.
Use Gmail? You can send a confidential e-mail. Emails sent in confidential mode cannot be forwarded and you can choose whether or not to require a recipient to use a password to read it. Tap or click here and scroll down to #3 for steps to try it yourself.
3. Your apps watch where you go
Your phone knows exactly where you’ve been for the past few days, weeks, and even months. If it’s been a while since you’ve checked your phone’s location settings, do so now.
Check this hidden location setting on your iPhone:
Click on Settingsthen Privacy.
Select Rental servicesthen scroll to System services.
Picking out Important locations to see the recording of where you have been and turn it off.
Here’s how to adjust location settings on an Android:
Open Settingsthen scroll down and tap Location.
To stop all tracking, you can toggle Use location stopped.
If you don’t want to remove all permissions, tap App location permissions.
For each app, tap it to choose your preferred setting: Allow all the time, Allow only when using the app, Ask every time, or Don’t allow. You can also decide whether an app sees your precise location or an approximate location.
4. Your TV is watching you
Sorry to tell you. Your streaming services also track your activity. It makes sense. Netflix, Hulu, and everyone else wants to know what shows you like so they can recommend content you’ll enjoy and don’t mind paying for.
Surveillance is not to your advantage, however. Streaming services collect your viewing history and the ads you watch or ignore. Then they share this data with advertisers.
Tap or click here for a step-by-step guide on deleting your history on Netflix, Hulu and more.
If you have a smart TV, you should also review the essential settings there. Tap or click to stop your Samsung, LG, Amazon Fire TV or Roku TV from spying.
5. Stop sharing everything you buy and browse
Google always seems to know exactly what you want, and it’s not in your head. Google tracks every search, click, message and request. From time to time, clear your search history and activity. Here’s how:
Go to myaccount.google.com and log in. You can also go to google.com and click on the circle icon in the upper right corner with your image or initials inside. Then click Manage your Google Account.
Click on Data Privacy in the left menu.
You’ll see checkmarks next to Web and app activity, Location history, and YouTube history. Click on each to adjust your settings. Rock ’em stopped to stop further tracking if desired.
On these pages, you can also configure automatic deletion for future activity. I strongly suggest you enable it. You can choose between 3 months, 18 months or 36 months.
Don’t stop there. Tap or click for more Google privacy settings you can change now.
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Discover all the latest technology on The Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For his daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit his website at Komando.com.