While online privacy has been a hot topic for many years, actually achieving everyday privacy is surprisingly challenging. Below are some easy to use tools to assist you. First stop is your browser…
Brave: a browser designed to protect your privacy…
The browser is the program you are using to read this website. As tracking technology improves, you may find that your browser is telling the world more about you than you really want and allowing you to be identified more easily than you might like. How easily? Test your browser using the Electronic Frontier Foundation’s ‘Cover Your Tracks‘ test here… and the similar AmIUnique test site
Brave is a new browser that has been gaining quite a following because of its enthusiasm for protecting your privacy and incorporate a range of useful protection as standard such as ad-blocking and using websites more secure access. I chose Brave initially because it is one of the easiest ways to confounding common browser identification attacks.
Brave also offers an interesting take on the advertising model that feeds many websites: you can get paid to allow adverts to appear. This is entirely optional. While it’s not my cup of tea, there are settings to control many aspects such as how many adverts you are prepared to see. You can find more details about this paid-to-view model here.
I like Brave and encourage you to consider moving to it.
Choose your search engine…
After getting a more protective browser installed, you may like to select a different search engine. Google is a wonderful advertising company with a superb search engine attached: your searches are recorded to create a personal profile. Why not try a search engine that does not keep track of you?
DuckDuckGo has a ridiculous name but is one of the few search engines to take your privacy seriously. The results it produces are good, although not always up to Google’s.
Qwant.com is a relatively new search engine which is developing a reputation for maintaining users’ privacy. Produces good everyday results in the same way as Google. Like Duckduckgo, I occasionally head over to Google get locate some hard-to-find search results.
Virtual private network
This is an armour-plated data tunnel that runs between your computer and a server. Particularly useful when you are travelling and cannot trust the local network. My current favourite VPN service is ExpressVPN. They provide highly responsive and friendly support which is something of a novelty… and they have an excellent reputation for how they handle (i.e. forget) your data such as where you visit.
Note: while a VPN will not make you anonymous online it prevent ‘nearby’ third parties from inspecting your traffic to see where you go.