As the world becomes more interconnected and we become used to the idea of broadcasting ourselves to the world via Twitter or the web, the line separating public and private has begun to blur. The saying ‘If you’re not the customer, you’re the product’ has become more apparent these days and for the most part, we’re more than happy to hand over certain data about ourselves to these sites.
However, while we give these sites permission, sometimes there can be more information about us on display than we think and some even extract information from us without us realising it. If you want to make your browsing more secure, or change your social media settings so that a limited amount of information is exposed, then read on and make sure that your data is protected.
With its own privacy settings located at the top right hand corner, Facebook lets you control how much information people can limit the amount of information available on your profile, determine what people can post on your timeline, and how you connect with subscribers.
Also, an important feature to note that you can manage what apps, ads and websites have access to your profile. Alongside the ability to remove all apps that you no longer use, you can limit the amount of info that people can bring to apps they use (important as you don’t want your info being given out through your friends), and whether you appear on search engines.
A more detailed guide to removing apps can be found here.
In settings (located up at the top right hand corner with your name), you can limit how much information other LinkedIn users can see. Under ‘Profile’, you can adjust the majority of settings such as activity broadcasts, visibility, and whether users can see when you’ve viewed their profile or not.
The second batch of settings is found under ‘Group, Companies and Applications’. Here you can turn on or off any data sharing with third party apps as well as managing setting for any LinkedIn plug-ins on third-party sites.
While the site is still rolling out tailored suggestions, Twitter will also be introducing the ability to limit the amount of information it can extract from you while you’re surfing the Web. If you have tailored suggestions, you will also have access to a personalisation section in account settings. You will be able to tailor Twitter based on their recent website visits and disable these features, which in turn will stop the collection of information for tailored suggestions.
You may or may not know this, but your usage of every Google product out there is recorded. Whether it is search, Android, Google+, Maps, Chrome or YouTube, all this information can be found on. While we could document each feature (there are 27 different products displayed here), the one we will be focusing on is Web History.
When you type in a search term, your browser will save all of your search queries here. By clicking on ‘Remove items or clear Web History’, you can delete part of all of your records. Also, you can pause Web History so that none of your entries are recorded in the future. You can access your Web History directly here.
While you can access it in Google Dashboard under ‘Account’, clicking on your icon located at the top right hand corner of the page and selecting ‘Privacy’ will bring you to the same place. Here you can adjust your profile visibility and even disable or delete your entire Google profile.
If the above doesn’t go far enough in your quest for privacy, there are a number of third-party apps and plug-ins that you can download. The most popular one would be Do Not Track, which is available for Firefox, IE and Safari, but unfortunately not Chrome.
A handy feature for Firefox and Safari users is Collusion, an experimental add-on which allows you to see all the third parties that are tracking your movement across the Web. It does this by creating a spider-web graphic showing how companies and other trackers interact.
If you’re looking for something a little bit different, you should try out Disconnect, a third-party plug-in which allows you to download one for individual sites like Facebook, Google+ and Twitter, or an all-in-one plug-in which lets you block all social media sites trying to track you.