We all know we’re being tracked when we’re on the web, but what can we do about it?
Tip 1: install the Privacy Badger extension
Tracking protection is a must have. As I’ve written before:
Although I feel too guilty about using an ad blocker on the web, on the basis that it deprives websites of advertising revenue, I feel quite within my rights to use tracking protection. The message I’m sending to advertisers and websites is that “you can show me advertising, as long as it’s not creepy!”. Once you activate the feature it’s amazing how many ads are blocked.
I won’t get into it in this post, but there are many reasons why advertisers and others using creepy tracking technology to follow your every movement on the web is a really bad idea. If you want to know more, I suggest you have a look at Don Marti’s blog.
The Electronic Freedom Foundation makes this nifty extension called privacy badger for Firefox and Chrome. It sits in the background while you’re browsing and blocks dodgy domains from tracking you around the web.
It can sometimes break websites (things won’t finish loading), but if that ever happens you can easily turn off tracking protection temporarily (or you can switch browsers temporarily).
Tip 2: use DuckDuckGo search instead of Google search
Duck Duck Go is a privacy-centric search engine, which doesn’t track you around the web.
It works well, but not quite as well as Google. I recommend specifying your country in the settings which helps it work much better.
It has a few cool features like ‘bangs‘, which allows you to search other sites from DuckDuckGo. For instance, “!w Beyonce” (without the speech marks) would search Beyonce on Wikipedia, and “!gi cute cats” would search Google images for cute cats.
Tip 3: use Mozilla Firefox instead of Google Chrome
Firefox is my favourite browser (you can read more about why here.)
In short, Firefox is backed by a non-profit organisation which cares about your privacy, rather than a profit-driven company who has an interest in tracking you all around the web (I’m looking at you Google!).
Tip 4: turn off third-party cookies
This will stop every website you go to loading you up with a whole lot of useless cookies from every man and his dog.
In Firefox: open Preferences > Privacy > History. Change the setting from “Remember” to “Use custom settings for history”. Change accept third party cookies to “never”.
In Chrome: open Settings > Show advanced settings (at the bottom) > Privacy > Content settings > check the box which says “Block third-party cookies and site data”.