We live in a world where we are surrounding by internet connected devices, let it be your phone, tv, computer or even lights and door bells. And to make these things smarter, data is needed; and under that pretext Giants collect data, but use it for things far more complicated and sometimes devious activities. In this small article, I will run you through some basic steps to get free from the clutches of these giants, well as much as we puny little mortals can.
Step 1 : Location Services
Turn off the location services option from your settings in your phone and your Laptop, just go to settings and search ‘Location’ for both the devices and turn them off. You can turn them on when you use Maps but other then that, its better to keep it off.
Step 2 : Get rid of Chrome.
If you have Google Chrome installed on your laptop, then delete it or if you use Chrome apps, then use it only for those and not rest of the surfing. If your phone comes pre-installed with it, then deleting the app may not be possible, so in that case disable the app by clicking on ‘get info’ icon by long pressing the chrome app.
Replace the app with Mozilla Firefox, on both, laptop and phone. (I will guide you through a list of extensions that will help us with our quest of privacy, in the next section.) For your passwords that would get easily stored through Google, you can use Firefox Lockwise for your phone, while for the laptop, the browser will itself do the trick.
Step 3 : Install Extensions on Firefox and other settings
Firefox comes with a long list of extensions, some that are quite useful while some that are just there increasing the list for no reason. Here I will be listing the extensions that will help you block out advertisements and block trackers, but before that, let me list a few settings that your should tweak to become more secure, you can find these in the ‘Options’ tab in the drop down menu on the right side of the address bar.
- Under ‘Search’ tab, Change your default search engine to Duck Duck Go.
- Under ‘Privacy’ tab,
- Change ‘Enhanced Tracking Protection’ to ‘Strict’
- Change ‘Do Not Track’ to always
Leave the rest of the settings the way they are. Now coming to extensions, go to the ‘Extensions and Themes’ tab in the bottom, and go to Extensions tab on the page. Use the search bar on the page to find the following extensions and install them by following the on-screen progress of the extension,
- DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials : This will block hidden third party trackers, increase encryption protection, let you search privately; while also adding an icon to your toolbar showing the grade of the site when it comes to privacy.
- HTTPS Everywhere : This will force HTTPS encryption wherever possible.
- Privacy Badger : This is another tracker-blocker but instead of keeping a list of sites, it learns which sites are tracking you and then blocks them.
- WOT – Web of Trust : While you browse the internet, it warns you against dangerous links, websites, scams, malware, phishing, and more. The most elegant thing about it is that every link to a site gets an icon next to it showing the grade of the website.
- Facebook Container : It isolates your Facebook identity into a separate container, making it harder for Facebook to track your visits to other websites using third-party cookies.
Step 4 : Opt out of Advertisement on the net
Yes, you have the option of opting out of the targetted advertisement. For this go to consumer choice page and after it runs a scan, select to opt out of the advertisement cookies for all.
Step 5 : Google Activity Control
Go to the Google Activity Control page and turn off the following services
- Web & Web Activity
- Location History
- Ad Personalisation
You should also enter ‘My Activity’ tab in each of them and delete the history.
Step 6 : Facebook Activity and Location
You will find the following items in your ‘Settings‘ page on Facebook
- Off-Facebook Activity : You will find this in ‘Your Facebook Information‘, you want to enter this page and select to opt out of Off-Facebook Activity
- Location Settings : You will find this as a separate tab in ‘Settings’ page, you want to turn off the location setting for Mobile devices
- Face Recognition : You will find this as a separate tab in ‘Settings’ page, you want to turn this off too.
Voila, you are done!
These few simple steps will keep your personal life private from the Big Tech Giants.