Getting Real with Shadra Bruce
This content was provided by our partner, TechWarn and I am being compensated in the form of a VPN subscription to protect my family.
Why should you care about internet privacy?
Even as parents, we rarely pay attention to the ‘terms and conditions’ before logging into an app for the first time, how could we expect our children to practice digital privacy? But practice they must.
Today we live in a world of zero privacy. Social media behemoths take advantage of our innate desire to connect, turning platforms into mega data centers to ruthlessly monetizing our personal lives. Sadly, they don’t seem to be particularly cautious with our sensitive information either, as a security breach late last year reported a hack affecting nearly 30 million users.
If your children are on social media or are regular internet users, understand the risks involved to help them steer clear of privacy breaches and their accompanying risks.
Your privacy is always at stake
The devil is always in the details. Buried deep inside the service terms are often invasive clauses claiming to collect, access, stored and analyze your data ‘for an improved experience’. Opting to keep private info private, and you will be forced to quit the app or leave the platform, leaving you with no choice but to oblige.
What’s rather unfortunate is the fact that we do not have any control over what the companies choose to do with the data they access. There have been numerous cases of accounts hacking, impersonation and other cyber-crimes. Even with these happenings, we keep signing in into mobile phone applications, programs and software, and subscribing to websites without giving much care to the security concerns.
Your data is sold, but you won’t get a penny for it
As the old saying goes, free things are expensive. The paradox in this statement continues being evidenced in the online platforms that claim to be ‘free’ but end up making billions of money by selling out your personal data to advertisers. It’s how Facebook and Twitter make money anyway. How else do you think that you have your timeline hit with adverts of items, products, or services you recently discussed?
Each time you log in to the ever-emerging web platforms, you are providing them with your information and to advertisers; this is a badly needed necessity. The only way to limit how much information and private data these services will be getting from you is by checking your internet privacy.
Technology evolution leads us to be more reliant on the internet
Just like the internet, IT gadgets are going through a major evolution. Newer and sophisticated gadgets are released on a regular basis. Communication is taking a shift, you do not necessarily need to load your mobile phone with airtime; with an internet connection, you are able to make a call online.
Think of the host of websites that allow you stream sports, music and more. We are slowly but steadily bidding goodbye to the old-fashioned computerized gadgets and embracing highly advanced ones.
Smooth operations of these devices require an internet connection. For instance, smartphones require regular software updates. With this level of reliance on the internet, it is important that one puts up reliable privacy protection measures in place.
If stolen, your current private data could haunt your future
Some people rubbish the need to have internet privacy measures in place, claiming they have got nothing to hide. Which is okay; but this may not last for long. When companies access your data (let’s say private and confidential information like call logs or messages content), you have no control over what they might choose to do with them.
Without huge aspirations at the moment, this may not seem much of a concern. But if someone wishes to bring you down in the future, they can use skeletons from your private data that was stored by some company 5 or 10 years ago. Past conversations exposed are on record for bringing down marriages, tainting people’s integrity among other damages. Many internet activities define your private life, browse safely lest the information falls on the wrong hands and ends up being used against you.
The law will not protect you
Due to the rising cases of cyber-related crimes, some countries are developing and enforcing laws in support of internet surveillance. While this might be a good effort and may help trace the criminals bullying people online, it is not right for your privacy.
When a government gains access to your communication threads, the sites you are visiting, the people you are networking with and such information without your approval, then it’s interfering with your personal privacy. Unfortunately, many countries continue embracing this trend, especially on visitors and tourists.
You may not have direct control over what the lawmakers of a certain nation think. Fortunately, there are different avenues through which you can shield your internet privacy.
Fraudsters, hackers, and cybercriminals are upping their game
There are many techniques that fraudsters can use to access or gather your online information. Your internet service provider may not warn you of the possible dangers after all high-speed connections are what most of us are concerned about.
If your privacy settings are not customized to limit who can access information about you, fraudsters can easily tell who you are by monitoring your activities on these sites. This is especially so with social interaction sites where we like to upload our photos, update our activities and so on. Others use malicious software known as spyware. The software is able to track and hack your personal information without your knowledge. The developers of such malicious software target unsuspecting internet users and thus the need to care about your privacy whenever you are on the internet.
Ways to protect your internet privacy
The ways through which your private data can be tracked or accessed are multiplying by the day. Here are ways through which you can protect your personal data while on the internet.
Keep your software updated
Doing this can greatly reduce unauthorized access to your data. Keeping your software updated makes sure your system is shielded from even the most recent malware.
Update your privacy settings
This is necessary especially when it comes to social networking platforms. By default, most of the information you upload or post will be shared publicly. Consider changing your settings to limit views to only fewer people or to only share with people you know. To achieve higher efficiency, it’s advisable to ask your friends to do the same.
Block 3rd party cookies
Accepting cookies allows websites to maintain track of you. For instance, they can be able to tell the last time you visited. Others will be able to store your data and even sign you in automatically during your next visit. Blocking cookies limits access should anyone else access your device without your knowledge.
Clear browser history and delete cookies regularly
This helps log you out of all accounts that you may have signed in on the browser.
Get a VPN app
A virtual private network encrypts all the data you receive or send via the internet. With this encryption, third parties cannot access data and even if they do, they cannot be able to use it or trace it back to you.
Privacy and security are well worth your time and money. VPN deals are just a Google search away so there’s no excuse of not going playing your part to safeguard your data. With a VPN in place, your data will always be protected whenever you are using the internet.