10 Ways to Protect Your Privacy Online

online_privacy

When you use internet for reading emails, checking stock portfolio, posting Facebook status, consulting blogs for different information, you leave tracks on internet which are not visible to you. So because of these things your personal information can be misused. Now the question is that how can you protect your privacy online.

The simple answer for this difficult question is to “Be Smart…”

For protecting your privacy online “CENTER OF DEMOCRACY AND TECHNOLOGY” has developed various useful tips mentioned below. Some of these tips are easy and some are things about common sense. They will not require your hard work but a bit of work.

  1. Use another privacy options if offered: – Always pay attention on the privacy policies offered by the websites. If they are offering a list for selecting information which they can share with other party then never miss it. Select only the information which you want to share with others and uncheck others. Many companies simply ask a question that “do you want to share your information?”.
  2. Be careful while sharing videos/ pictures on social networking sites: – When you are using a video/ picture sharing website then always is careful while setting terms of privacy. Make sure that these sites not sharing your personal information with strangers especially when you are sharing photos of children.
  3. How you can read online privacy policies: – Every website keep record of your activities silently. These websites are capable to collect information without your knowledge like the software and hardware you are using or what is your IP address etc etc… Many of these websites leave cookies on your system for identifying your machine and tracking your activities. All these websites have privacy policies which clearly describes that what kind of information they are going to collect from your machine and with whom they will share this information. Always keep in mind that a site which is having privacy policy doesn’t mean that it will protect your privacy online. In their finely printed privacy terms it is buried that that how your information can be disclosed to third party.
  4. First learn and then use privacy features in your web browser: – Whatever web browser you are using there are many plug-ins and tools which are meant to protect your data which you use on internet. So before using internet you should learn about control on cookies, identifying fraudulent or insecure website before visiting them. If you are using your system in any public place then don’t forget to clear your browser’s history and memory cache after completing your work.
  5. Make sure that your online transaction is secure: – Almost every e-commerce website has secure methods for receiving information related to credit cards. In many websites the web address starts with “https”. Here “s” indicated the secure. Many websites also include the picture of small lock which gives a message that “your personal information is safe with us and will not be disclosed to third party”. A site having these indication doesn’t means that they are safe to use. The companies can be fraudulent or that sites can be fake.
  6. Learn to spot scams and phishing: – Before revealing your personal information you should know about the person you are dealing with. Here you need to be careful because there are many fraud websites which look very much similar to original company websites. These websites are only interested in accessing your information only. Most of you don’t know about PHISHING. Well it is a scam which is designed to gain your personal information for wrong intentions. They generally trick you to disclose your information like credit card numbers, account password, social security number etc. They generally do these things by sending fake emails marking them urgent or from some bank.
  7. Make a separate personal email account: – Always keep your personal and professional accounts separate because you boss has a legal right to access your work email and if any of your personal messages is present there then he can also go through it and can gain knowledge of your personal information.
  8. Teach your family members not to give any personal information online without your permission: – Federal law prohibits online companies from collecting personal information of the children who are under the age of 13 but there are many companies which violate these rules. So always teach your children not to share any of the personal information and also teach them about the importance of protecting your privacy online.
  9.  Delete or reject useless cookies: – Now most of you don’t know about cookies. Generally these are tiny bits of computer codes which are inserted in your computer system by the websites which you visit. They are planted to access your machine’s information or to recognize your system when you visit their website again or when you access any affiliated website. So for deleting unnecessary cookies you can visit your web browser’s help section.
  10. Protect important communications and files: – Always keep your phone, laptop and other devices safe via powerful password which can’t be guess by any other person easily. Don’t use birthdates or family names as password. Don’t put your personal files on any publicly shared network or folders. Try to use encryption for more security.