On Data Privacy

Data is the new oil.

For many years, oil was the most valuable resource traded around the world. We all have images of rich oil tycoons, but in recent years they have to take second place. To what? To data. Yes, our data that we give away using the internet.

Photo by Zbynek Burival on Unsplash

The data collected may include: your location, the device you use, type of browser you use. The site WebKay has a list of this information.

When you visit many websites, “cookies” are placed on your computer to enable advertisers to collect data about you: your interests, which sites you have visited etc. We can all recognise that after visiting or buying something online, we get ads on similar products we “might” like. It has been said that advertisers have 700 data points about a person, and in some cases know more about us than our family….

Deleting cookies

Its a good idea to delete cookies, as they store personal information. Information on how cookies can be deleted using the link here.

We must all be careful about our data, and our children’s data.

Some ways of minimising your digital footprint:

1. Use DuckDuckGo
DuckDuckGo.com does not track and store data about your internet searches. Other search engines sell your search terms to their customers.

Initially I was concerned that DuckDuckGo might not be as good as some of the other search engines, but they have a feature called ‘bangs’ (or shortcuts), so if you type “!g storm”, it uses the google search. !w is for wikipedia and !tw is for twitter.

2. Use Mozilla Firefox
This is generally thought to be the most safest browser to use. For example, this article goes through each in turn, and points out their features.

3. Privacy Statements
I also find it annoying that when you visit a website a pop-up appears and you need to Agree or click on More Options. To Agree frequently to allow all is to allow maximum tracking, and nowadays, I choose the ‘More Options’, and accept that. GDPR states that this options should turn on only the essential tracking cookies.

4. Website Passwords
I am above average with my data concerns, and I do not allow a website to store my password. I once lost or forgot a password, and a colleague helped me recover it by a search in the depths of my computer’s system!

So not wanting to make it easy for the bad guys, I rarely allow the browser to save a password, especially not for anything to do with my finances. To make it harder, I also use a password generator such as this one and record the site and password elsewhere.

Of course, I would not allow any debit or credit card to be stored by a website – whilst rare, there have been stories of sites being hacked.

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