Internet privacy has become a major issue of concern for people of all ages in today’s world. Given the instant connectivity we enjoy today, the increasing dependency on connected devices and technologies, and the time we spend online, there’s every reason why internet privacy must be a major concern.
Companies often monitor your behavior online to provide you with highly relevant advertisements. Cybercriminals go to great lengths to steal your personal information for their wicked purposes. And governments track all your communications, movements, and behaviors online to predict your behavior and gain more control over you.
That is why it is now more important than ever for everyone to take more responsibility when it comes to protecting your privacy online and your personal information. There are three common issues surrounding internet privacy you need to be concerned about.
It is a common practice nowadays for government intelligence and security agencies to spy on ordinary citizens online to allegedly help law enforcement agencies. For instance, the U.S. Patriot Act and UK’s Investigatory Powers Act authorize mass surveillance and permit the UK and U.S. governments to legally spy on the online activities of its citizens. Additionally, telecos, internet companies 9ISPs), and other communication service companies are required to keep records of customers’ internet connection records every year. These records can be obtained by government intelligence and security agencies and used in investigations regardless of whether you are related to the investigations in any way or not.
When you’re browsing the internet, you may have come across those irritating adverts following you wherever you go. These pesky ads are normally based on your previous visits to websites or web searches. Well, that is due to the fact that websites, web browsers, and advertisers are tracking your movements. Techniques such as flash cookie tracking, browser cookie tracking, and IP address tracking are used to monitor your overall internet activities and generate a detailed profile of your browsing habits. While some people don’t care about having relevant advertisements being provided to them, others take this as a grave violation of privacy.
An astonishing 17 million Americans were victims of identity theft in 2017 alone. Cybercriminals use spyware, phishing techniques, and malware to gain access into your online accounts or devices and steal personal information for use in identity theft and other criminal activities. In many cases, the victims of identity theft and other criminal activities perpetuated by cybercriminals end up losing their hard earned money, simply because they failed to exercise caution when opening attachments on their emails, instant messages, as well as emails from unreliable or unknown sources.
Given the range of internet privacy threats that you are exposed to, it is important to take greater responsibility to protect yourself and your personal information. To be safe, use a VPN (Virtual Private network) to mask your IP address and protect your outgoing and incoming traffic with high-grade encryption. You can learn more on how to use a VPN in your computer here. Other measures you can take to protect yourself include, securing your browser, keeping your software up-to-date, an installing antivirus program and an active firewall, and configuring your browser to automatically delete cookies at the end of each browsing session.