Happy Data Privacy Day — 5 Tips to Own Your Privacy

MertCan Boyar
Jan 28, 2021 · 5 min read

Today is Data Privacy Day! The theme for Data Privacy Day 2021 is Own Your Privacy.”

To celebrate Data Privacy Day, we have prepared 5 actionable tips to help you start owning your privacy today.

Privacy is a fundamental right and key to a functional democracy. We all have something to hide because what we believe to be not important today, doesn’t mean that it might be used against us in the future.

We are constantly being tracked both online and offline, our browsing history, calls, locations, etc. are being recorded in a database somewhere in the world, and feeds the data machine which is fueled by collecting everything about everyone.

We can still act now and make a difference for ourselves and those who are important to us. We need to change how we interact with the digital services and become proactive digital citizens so that we can raise awareness and change the status quo.

1) Become anonymous on the web

Keeping yourself anonymous in everything you do online is fundamentally necessary more than ever. Here comes TOR to help you make this possible.

You can use TOR for hiding your digital footprints. TOR makes sure that no one but you can know which websites you are viewing or tracing your digital footprints.

Tor bounces web traffic over three randomly selected Tor relays out of a total of around 7,000 relays.

It is important to note that using TOR does not provide complete anonymity, but it will improve your efforts on minimizing your digital footprints.

To use TOR, just download the TOR browser from here.

2) Defend your Browser against tracking and surveillance

We live in a world where we are the product. AdTech industry is treating our personal information, interests, and online behavior as a product to be harvested and sold. We hate it when we search for something on Google and then see ads about it on Facebook or Instagram.

Here are some tools to stop that from happening!

Privacy Badger:

Privacy Badger is a browser add-on that stops advertisers and other third-party trackers from secretly tracking where you go and what pages you look at on the web. If an advertiser seems to be tracking you across multiple websites without your permission, Privacy Badger automatically blocks that advertiser from loading any more content in your browser. To the advertiser, it’s like you suddenly disappeared.

DuckDuckGo:

DuckDuckGo is an Internet privacy company that empowers you to seamlessly take control of your personal information online, without any tradeoffs. It is a search engine that doesn’t track you.

3) Claim your digital footprints on the web

Figuring out which digital services have your personal information is a problem, deleting that information is even a bigger problem. You may be surprised at how bits of information about you are all scattered around the web.

Here is a great product that will help you take back control of your data.

Mine:

Mine works as a smart data assistant that helps you easily discover and manage your data. By doing so, you can continuously reduce your online exposure. With Mine, you can find out what companies hold your data and request data deletions from companies you no longer need or use. Some companies will comply with your deletion requests immediately and some might tell you they are not obligated by law to delete your data.

Even though they work with Gmail accounts at the moment it is still a great way to start fighting back for your data.

4) Have you fallen victim to a data breach?

A “breach” is an incident where data is inadvertently exposed in a vulnerable system, usually due to insufficient access controls or security weaknesses in the companies. For those of us that have been on the internet for a while, it’s almost a certainty that it will eventually happen.

Internet users are using the same passwords for various websites. So when one site is breached, hackers already have the same password to a user’s other online accounts.

Have I Been Pwned?

Have I Been Pwned aggregates breaches and enables people to assess where their personal data has been exposed. You can quickly assess if your online account has been compromised or “pwned” in a data breach.

It is simple to use and entirely free so that it could be of maximum benefit to the community. This site came about after one of the largest data breaches occurred. Which the same accounts exposed over and over again, often with the same passwords which then put the victims at further risk of their other accounts being compromised.

5) Protect your pictures before sharing them on the web

Facial detection software dates back to the late 1980s. Available for commercial use, it is tech designed to identify someone from an image or video. It can be used to passively spy on people without any reasonable suspicion.

Do we want to live in a world where this technology exists?

Critics say facial recognition is way too risky, enabling excessive surveillance and threatening our privacy rights. Another concern is that the technology, broadly, has also been shown to be less accurate on people of color, women, and other minority groups.

Fawkes1:

Fawkes1, an algorithm and software tool (running locally on your computer) that gives individuals the ability to limit how unknown third parties can track them by building facial recognition models out of their publicly available photos.

At a high level, Fawkes “poisons” models that try to learn what you look like, by putting hidden charges into your photos, and using them as Trojan horses to deliver that poison to any facial recognition models of you. Fawkes takes your personal images and makes tiny, pixel-level changes that are invisible to the human eye, in a process we call image cloaking.

Verilogy — Humanizing Privacy

Creating trust between digital services and the people who use them.

Verilogy — Humanizing Privacy

Helping growing companies create better relationships with their users by going beyond legal requirements and use transparency to turn legal into a welcoming, intuitive, and user-friendly experience with Privacy UX.

MertCan Boyar

Written by

Humanizing privacy with Privacy UX at Verilogy. Loves everything about gaming and playing blues on the piano.

Verilogy — Humanizing Privacy

Helping growing companies create better relationships with their users by going beyond legal requirements and use transparency to turn legal into a welcoming, intuitive, and user-friendly experience with Privacy UX.