In today’s world, you cannot be absolutely traceless. No matter where you go, there are always eyes on you and what you do. This may sound like an Orwellian nightmare, but it is a reality we are living. On top of the countless security cameras and police, people are tracked using methods they do not know about. If the scandals (such as Cambridge Analytica, Snowden etc.) over the past decade have taught us anything, we should be more careful about our data and who handles it. If you think it’s only your government which is keeping tabs on your daily activities, you’re simply wrong.
10 Ways You’re Being Tracked Without Even Knowing
If you are among those who worry about their privacy, here are some ways in which you can be tracked without knowing about it.
Living in an urban environment, if you look around, you’ll see a number of security cameras. In most cities around the world, there are CCTV cameras that capture everything happening around them. These devices can be used to track you very easily. Moreover, the growing network of security cams means that you are never out of surveillance.
Further, the advancements in technology have made these devices scarily accurate. Now, surveillance companies can use features like face recognition, gait matching, and other attributes to get very accurate readings.
Smartphones are called that because they can do a number of things. Some of these things are not in your favor. For example, your mobile phone can sense the light around you along with the temperature.
In addition, your phone service provider can log a detailed list of all your calls. Further, your actual location can be tracked using GPS. If you carry your phone around with you, tracking you is really easy, especially for your ISP and phone company.
Everyone loves free internet. But as you know, there is a price to pay for that. Other than the fact that you can get hacked through public Wi-Fi’s, your ISP can also locate you very easily. If someone is stalking you, you can easily be tracked when using any Wi-Fi unless you are using a VPN.
The Internet of Things is touted as a revolution in many ways. While the idea of having your home air conditioner running before you get home is enticing, it carries a security risk as well. Firstly, it can get hacked very easily. Secondly, it allows companies to track your activities and preferences and pitch ads in accordance. If you have smart devices in your home, it’s best to get smart about how they can be used against you.
You’re on the internet and reading this blog. In all certainty, you have an email id as well. With any email provider, you can be a target for email marketing tactics. Earlier, email marketing was just restricted to pitching an offer and hoping for a click. However, things are way more advanced now.
Email marketers can make use of very sophisticated tools to track a number of things. For example, they will know the device you used to open their email and the time you did it. For example, if you used an iPhone, they’ll get to know that and can send you ads for iPhone related products. We advise you to use an anonymous email whenever possible.
So you went online and looked up the top 10 healthiest foods for natural weight loss. Google is going to remember that. In fact, it is going to use that information to pitch some highly targeted ads to you. You might think that this is rather helpful and can help you with weight loss. And it very well might be.
However, if you search for something like divorce attorneys or accountants, that is sensitive information. Most of us would rather not have such details accessible to dubious advertisers. There are plenty of search engines that are far better than Google when it comes to privacy.
If you want to prevent your personal information from being used to pitch targeted ads, disable the cookies. This will degrade your browsing experience a little bit. However, we think that is a worthy sacrifice. Otherwise, your online privacy is certainly at risk.
One of the most obvious tracking methods is social media. You might have known about the Cambridge Analytica scandal. But that does not paint the whole picture at all. Facebook is involved in tracking everything you do on when you are on it.
So, the more time your spend Facebooking or Tweeting, the more of your personal information you give away. While admittedly, most of this information is used to pitch ads, which is somewhat innocuous. But as the Cambridge Analytica scandal has taught us, it does not take much for anyone to be criminal-minded. If you insist on posting your everyday activities on social media platforms, make sure you disable some settings to reduce the amount of privacy you’re giving away while using them.
Apps are an integral part of the digital experience. No internet user can work without them. The problem is that some apps track people. Dating apps, in particular, are notorious for this. They can use tracking to come up with closest matches and pitch new users. While this does have its benefits, it is still a risk, to say the least.
In addition, other apps like Snapchat have started using the tracking feature to enhance their services. Many just go right on with these new facilities for the ease they bring. However, there is a serious price to pay for this convenience. The biggest one is that the app will constantly know where you are at any given moment.
Almost everyone who’s connected to the internet has tried online shopping at least once. But you must know that whatever you shop online for will be recorded. This data will then be used to pitch targeted ads directly to your mobile device or laptop.
10 Ways You’re Being Tracked Without Your Knowledge – Conclusion
As it’s evident, everything from social media to search engines, anything that’s related to the internet can be used to track you. While you cannot avoid all types of surveillance (for example, CCTV cameras), you can stay protected while using the internet by following some basic security measures.