If you feel like you’re being followed when you’re online, you’re probably not just paranoid. Indeed, you are being attacked!

Everything you see and do while online is being tracked and “customized” (ie changed without you knowing!). “But why?” you might ask

It’s simple, really: There’s a lot of money to be made, let’s call it what it is, by violating your privacy. There are advertising companies and providers of personal data that profit from every piece of information you provide them, knowingly or unknowingly! There are companies willing to pay well for all the information they can get about their customers.

What can you do to prevent them from snooping? How to keep your private data – private?

Remember: “If you’re not paying for a service, you’re the product, not the customer.” While you use a “free” product or service, the company that provides your product or service for free is busy collecting information about you: your demographics, income, and buying habits.

The collected data is then used to identify you as a potential customer and to convince you (and by knowing a lot about you, that’s being done in the most effective way possible) to buy your other non-free stuff. However, it is simply sold to other companies.

Some people think that it doesn’t matter if their private data is being accessed, because “it’s not that important” and “they don’t have anything to hide.” These people are wrong: your information is much more valuable than you think!

To browse in peace, install some kind of privacy plugin or extension on your browser that prevents websites from transmitting your data to third parties and from tracking you across websites. Almost all browsers today allow you to use some kind of “incognito” or “privacy mode” setting to protect your privacy – explore how that option works in your favorite browser.

Remember to log out each time you finish using a website and clear your cookies after each browsing session. These are just basic, common-sense things you can do to protect your privacy, but they can be very helpful.

When a website that you are not sure about asks you for a lot of personal information, you can always provide false information. This will prevent you from being “profiled”. However, if a website doesn’t seem trustworthy, it’s best to just delete your account altogether, or even better, not to deal with them in the first place.

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