Please stop following me! browser privacy
Our window to the internet and to the world is awesome. In our browser we can buy books, clothing and everything that you can imagine. People are looking through the window back at us. Give me curtains!
We can visit places on our world before we book a holiday all thanks to the internet. It is incredible what is possible nowadays even if you compare it to like 10 years ago. And this new way of living also demands a new way of working from us.
This blog is part two in how to become a — responsible user -
The browser has evolved functional from a nice digital brochure to a window to our digital self. Coolblue and Amazon are able to provide you with nice insights and like an old school shopping klerk they can advice in new interesting stuff to buy. Websites store everything they want about us and so they can look into our soul.
Providing companies so much insight makes us vulnerable. Vulnerable for other people trying to get access and vulnerable for the companies themselves and their respective governments.
We protect our private information on sites from hackers with a unique and complex password but what if we use the same password on every site? In our previous blog we advised to use a password manager and use an unique password on every site when possible.
There are a few more steps you can do to protect your data.
1. Install HTTPS-Everywhere.
Most people know that http-s- is for a secure connection between your browser and the companies website you are browsing. What most people do not know is that almost all companies have a secure site, but you are not using it by default :)
On their website they collected the links to the extension of your browser.
2. Install an ad-blocker
Where people are there are commercials :) This is because of these two rules in advertising;
- Attention is money.
To get your attention commercials need to evolve to be more shiny, more flashy etc. This is costing you a lot of internet speed and computer speed.
- Information is money.
For an ad company it matters who you are. This is why Facebook and Google make so much money, they know everything about and over you. Other ad-companies then Google and Facebook also want to know everything about you, with the goal to make more money. They do this via collecting your data via there adds.
Protect your private information
This data hoarding to gain profit from your information is not a good thing and sir Gary Kovacs gave a nice TED talk about this situation and why this is not in your interest.
As you surf the Web, information is being collected about you. Web tracking is not 100% evil — personal data can make your browsing more efficient; cookies can help your favorite websites stay in business. But, says Gary Kovacs, it’s your right to know what data is being collected about you. He unveils a Firefox add-on, Collusion, to do just that. (Update: Collusion is now called Lightbeam.)
There are two plugins that are pretty awesome.
Privacy Badger created by the EFF organisation. The EFF is an organisation that has been created to protect digital civil rights of people.
Just click one of the links above and follow the installation instruction. Easy as that.
And then you are set.
If all went well you have the following setup in your browser.
- Password manager (previous blog post)
- Ad blocker
If you are interested in doing more you can look at the site of “Am I Unique”.
One more thing!
A safe browser is the foundation :) Please do use Chrome. Experts like SpiderOak state that Firefox is lacking in security and many comparison charts put Chrome, Firefox and Opera in the top 3. Never use Internet Explorer of Microsoft. Period. Never. When you use Windows use Google Chrome. Easy as that.
Ok.. you want to do more?
There are a few things you can do; Work with private tabs (always)
Work with a search engine that does not store information (Duck Duck Go) Be careful where you leave information and tell what you like and who you know and fix your phone!
More and more people are securing their browser and more and more are using their phone. The companies use every possible sensor on your phone to collect data. This is a pretty big thing and also without a clear solution. See our next blog for what to use for chatting and what apps to delete :)
Food for thought
When you do alle the above and previous things, evil people and evil companies still are able to collect enormous amounts of information from you. This is not cool, but it helps to make it not so easy for them. Using the tools mentioned also gives the companies fighting for you privacy a boost. What also helps is supporting one of the following organisation with a small monthly donation. That way you support people that fight for your right to choose.
Electronic Frontier Foundation (United States)
The Electronic Frontier Foundation is the leading nonprofit organization defending civil liberties in the digital world. Founded in 1990, EFF champions user privacy, free expression, and innovation through impact litigation, policy analysis, grassroots activism, and technology development. We work to ensure that rights and freedoms are enhanced and protected as our use of technology grows.
Bits of Freedom is the leading Dutch digital rights organization, focusing on privacy and communications freedom in the digital age. Bits of Freedom strives to influence legislation and self-regulation, on a national and a European level. Bits of Freedom is one of the founders and a member of European Digital Rights (EDRi).
Freedom and privacy on the internet are under threat, with far-reaching consequences for the daily lives of millions of internet users. Their data are being collected ever more frequently and for an ever longer period. Their access to websites can be blocked. It is even being proposed to cut off users from the internet altogether. Meanwhile, the development of innovative services is also under threat.
For a list of European Privacy Organisations you can go to the EDRi membership page.
NEXT BLOG — Chat clients
After securing the communication between your laptop and the internet (blog 1) and the communication of your browser over the internet (blog 2 = this blog), the next step is.. Securing the communication between you and your friends over the internet.
A few months ago dutch citizens read in the papers that their voicemail messages where used in New Zealand by a company to improve their text recognition software. Voicemail messages from random citizens. So calling and texting on your mobile is really not secure. That is our main topic of the next blog on being a responsible digital citizen