Digital Privacy

We are always warned about the dangers of putting too much information on social media what they fail or rather subtly mention is the perils of data privacy. Millions of Indians are using the internet for their personal and financial needs, what you fail to realize is that details about you and your Internet usage routine are continuously being recorded and stored .

What is digital privacy?

Online privacy is when you use the internet without compromising your data. The information we put out when browsing is collected and saved for a long time, tracking someone via these details online is easier than you can fathom, therefore it can harm you. Your devices Internet Protocol (IP) address can be traced back to a particular internet user, also one can keep tabs on your website visiting patterns. Critical details such as the date and time of your browsing, what gateway you used to access websites and even how long you stayed on the webpage can be kept on a search engine's servers. Servers decide the length of time they maintain this collected data before expunging it.  

Why is it important?

Privacy breaches through cyberattacks like hacking attempts etc. leaves your sensitive data at the hands of an unknown individual thus threating the user’s online presence.

It’s important that you understand privacy in the virtual universe is similar to that in the real world: just like you’ll only have a conversation about a medical /genetic condition in private with your confidant or a doctor. So, why shouldn't your internet browsing be confidential?

Even after “the free” tag is assigned to various online apps/portals/websites,  everything has a price: be it downloading apps, using “free” email service (such as Gmail) or social media like Facebook. Just as, your near and dear ones know you better than others, internet privacy offered to you also behaves in the same way, some servers gather and store more details about you than other platforms. The problem starts when information is sold from one company to another, or data gathered and shared without your consent. Eventually, resulting in identity theft, phishing scams etc. You might recall the famous Facebook scandal, where they shared data about its members with a third party namely Cambridge Analytica.

How to keep your privacy on the net?

The suggestions provided here may/may not be free of cost, but to maintain privacy you might have to shell a few or more.

Try using private search engine:

Unlike big search engines, private search engines will not collect and store you information. The largest search engines that we daily use on the net are in cahoots with some of the biggest advertising networks on the same platform.  Use Search Encrypt private search engine, it has a privacy-by-design mechanism, meaning it was built to prioritize user's privacy. Search Encrypt enables you to surf the web without leaving any personal data trail behind.

Adopt a privacy based extensions:

All these extensions, work in a diverse manner to protect your privacy. Some block tracking scripts on the webpages you visit. Others, mange to create and store stronger passwords. Few examples are Privacy Badger, Ghostery, Blur, and Privacy Cleaner etc.

Avail a VPN

The purpose of VPNs is to keep your IP address camouflaged by deflecting your internet connection via virtual networks. But do select a reputable VPN, otherwise you’ll just be handing over your data to another company. For example NordVPN, Private Internet Access VPN, TunnelBear VPN and so on.

You may be wondering, if any of this would ever affect you, then I’ll just remind you about all those personalized ads that pop up while you surf the net and therefore, it’s already in motion. Merely realizing this will not suffice, policies have to be altered so that one can browse without feeling any surveillance threat or we’ll have to adapt the aforementioned ways to protect ourselves.