When using the Internet, most of us stick to the default settings. From Facebook to Google, we usually don’t take the time to change the settings from default to something more secure. In the wake of the General Data Protection Regulation by the European Union, every company dealing with user data has been scrambling to upgrade their privacy policies. This had led Internet users to actually find out for the first time how much the Internet knows about you. It turns out, your information is all public.
Your Online Privacy is Always Compromised
Google saves a map of every place you go to, while Amazon records all your conversations with Alexa, and Facebook lets your name be used by advertisers and also makes your friends list and liked pages public. If you use Windows 10, then Microsoft has let Cortana know every detail of your digital life.
The GDPR gives you the right to know how much companies know about you and how they use the information. But it doesn’t mean companies will stop collecting your data. This is why you must take some precautions against your data being used publicly. One of the simplest steps you can take is to change the default settings.
Privacy Settings to Change for Better Data Protection
Here are some of the small changes you can make on each platform that will go a long way.
There are four settings that you need to change in order to make Facebook more secure and take some of your privacy back. If your friends list and activities are public, change them to ‘Friends Only’ or ‘Only Me.’ The same goes for people you follow or the pages you like.
By changing these settings to private, you prevent your posts or images from circulating all over the web and hell random strangers find you online.
You must also turn off tagged posts from automatically appearing on your timeline, face recognition, and ads based on your profile information. Even though these seem like small changes, they can go a long way in protecting your data to some extent.
Perhaps no one knows as much about you as Google. That’s why you must change a few settings as a simple act of resistance. You should first turn off Web and App Activity, which includes remembering usernames, search history, YouTube watch and search history, and websites visited.
To prevent Google from keeping track of the places you visit, turn off location history. With this setting turned off, Google won’t ask you to turn on your location when using an app like Maps or Assistant.
To stop advertisers from using your data, go to ad settings and turn off Ads personalization. These features will deprive you of all your Google activity history, but they will also protect your privacy to some extent.
It seems incredulous that Amazon began as a bookstore when the company now makes devices that listen and talk. If you use Alexa, Amazon automatically records everything that you say to the gadget and even some of the things that you didn’t intend for the machine.
Also, anyone can use the Alexa at your house simply by waking up the device. Don’t be surprised if the guests at your next party prank you by ordering you things worth $1,000. This is another reason why this device is not really that impressive.
To prevent these, you have to manage the settings, either from the Alexa app or from the Amazon website. Although you can delete your audio history, there’s no way you can stop Alexa from making recordings. To control voice purchasing, put in a code that only you have access to.
To stop your wish list from being public, change the setting to private, and delete browsing history to prevent Amazon from using your activity log for advertising purposes.
It may have begun as an operating system, but Microsoft has also turned into a data hoarded, thanks to its Windows 10 virtual assistant Cortana.
When you turn on Cortana you let Microsoft collect data like your location, contacts, voice, speech patterns, search queries, calendar, and messages. If you don’t want to use Cortana, decline it when you first set up Windows 10, because turning it off later involves a lot of complicated settings.
To delete what Cortana already knows about you, go to the Microsoft Privacy settings page and click view and clear on all data that it has collected. You can also go to the Cortana tab and choose Clear Cortana data.
Privacy Settings Changes for Better Data Protection – Wrap Up
These are basic steps but they are immensely helpful in the long run. By using these settings, you are able to prevent these companies from unethically intruding into your personal space and collecting your data.