How to limit your data trail

Don't let the data harvesters hoover up your info

The world is drunk on surveillance capitalism and big data fed AI is fast becoming our all powerful overlord. Protecting your privacy is the only defense. It’s flat out creepy that every Google search and click you make online is being recorded and stored. The idea that you’ve nothing to hide doesn’t swing. Today they take your browsing history tomorrow they take your soul.

The less they know the better. But how do you limit your data trail? Here are some good habits to practice.

  1. Make Mozilla Firefox your browser – and browse in private

Mozilla Firefox is probably the best option for private browsing. Its tracker blocker means your history won’t be remembered and its ad track blocker is too tough for the sneaky ads that try to follow you around the web. It has the extra benefit of being quicker too because your systems is being bogged down with nasty ad scripts. You can sync all your devices with a Firefox account so can take your passwords and bookmarks with you when you make the switch. It’s 30% lighter than Chrome too.

  1. Don’t Google it, DuckDuckGo it

Unlike Google, DuckDuckGo does not store your personal information. Ever. Browsing with DuckDuckGo means you won’t be followed around with ads and your search history will not be stored in or out of private browsing. Unlike Google, it’s not powered by years of snooping, ratings and clicks, and it doesn’t run on advertising so the search results are a refreshing alternative.

But sometimes you just need Google and if you have an Android device you need it more than most. You can still protect your privacy though.

  1. Reset your advertising ID regularly

This doesn’t mean you’ll not be tracked and profiled while using Google services, but it can put a little hitch on the extent of the invasiveness of your profile. You can do this on most Android devices by going to Settings > Google > Ads > Reset Advertising ID.

You can limit ad personalization by opting out of ad personalization in the Android settings too. This can be found on most Android devices under, Settings > Google > Ads > Opt Out of Personalized Advertising.

  1. Review permissions

On every device you should regularly review what permissions you’ve let apps have and limit it only to what is necessary for the app to function. You can find this in the Settings tab of your device. In Android it should be under the > Apps or Application Manager > Permissions tab. In iOS, the list of apps installed will be in at the bottom of the Settings page. Click on each individual app to see what permissions are turned on, and cut off ones you don’t think are needed.

  1. Use get2Clouds

Shameless plug, I know, but we can hardly talk about online privacy without talking about ourselves. get2Clouds is a free E2E encrypted messenger, large file transfer and cloud sync. When you send messages and files they travel through servers, clouds, and they are at risk of being intercepted and stolen. Storing data in public clouds is like putting it in a filing cabinet, but then placing that filing cabinet unlocked in the middle of a busy street. Encryption makes it safe to store your files in the cloud and get2Cloulds encrypts it for you at the press of a button. It is available on all app stores and on Windows.