You Are Being Watched! Is Complete Online Privacy Possible?

This article outline an overview of online privacy which includes everything you ought to know about Cookies. Are they harmful or helpful? Also discover five simple steps to maintain your privacy.

You Are Being Watched! Is Complete Online Privacy Possible?
You Are Being Watched! Is Complete Online Privacy Possible?

What happens with just one click?

  1. You visit a website and tracking files record your online activities.
  2. Tracking companies use these records to build your profile based on your Internet search.
  3. These tracking companies sell this information to advertisers.
  4. Your data is also available on exchange networks where anyone can purchase your profile.
  5. Your personal profile can be linked to other sources of your personal data.
  6. Once again, this is sold to advertisers looking for consumers with your interests.
  7. Advertisers buy ad space from websites at auctions.
  8. Real time automated bidding starts as your search the web.

How you are tracked?

  • Cookies: A small piece of data is sent from a website and stored in a user’s web browser.
    Types of cookies:
    1. Absolutely necessary cookies: Required for a website to work.
    2. Functional cookies: Social sharing and behavioral.
    3. Targeting cookies: Full user tracking.
  • Pixel Trackers: Small 1×1 images are placed on specific pages, so site owners know when the specific page is loaded.
  • Deep Packet Inspection: Enables advanced network management, user service and security functions as well, along with Internet data mining, eavesdropping and Internet censorship.
  • Supercookies: It can recreate user profile, even after regular cookies have been deleted.

Device Fingerprinting: The Cookies (less) Monster

Information is collected from properties without depending on cookies from all your devices like PC, Smartphone and Tablets to identify and track even if the “Do Not Track” is enabled.

How? When a device is turned on, these characteristics in the browser make it unique:

  • Screen dimension
  • Browser version
  • List of plugins (Flash, Java etc.)
  • List of installed apps
  • Clock
  • What the browser talks to

Is it Legal? Unfortunately, Yes! This category falls under Supercookies, meaning they are outside the traditional restrictions on tracking cookies.

5 Steps to Maintain your Privacy

  1. Install a browser plugin like Collusion to check how many companies are tracking you every day.
  2. Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN) to add another layer to your Internet use.
  3. Disable Javascript and Flash and change your computer settings frequently.
  4. Install plugin like Ghostery, Disconnect, or Peer Block to block trackers.
  5. Turn off Cookies and stick to the regular font stack.