Protecting Your Online Privacy

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Protecting Your Online Privacy

Surveillance of digital communications happens every day and with it comes the lack of online privacy. Companies are gathering personal information from people to analyse consumer trends, develop new products, launch advertising campaigns, and look for criminals. From monitoring phone-calls to gathering information present in emails and chats, there are several programs put in place to harness data. The bottom line is your privacy is being challenged and you will likely come across a lot of information about yourself online if you start looking. 

Data gathering tools attempt to build a profile for you by trying to find out where you live, how much you earn, who your friends are, how you live, what products you buy and so on. This information is very valuable to big businesses and they often invest a lot of money to gather relevant data so that they can reach out to people interested in the products or services they offer. Oftentimes, the information acquired from social media sites or emails can be used against you when you file an insurance claim. Take matters into your own hands and start protecting your online privacy by keeping the following things in mind.

1. Use Secure Email
Instead of using some of the most popularly known email services, consider switching to encrypted emails or secure service providers. ProtonMail, Tutanota, Lavaboom and HushMail offer you a more secure way to send and receive emails even though you have to pay for their services. They use PGP or Pretty Good Privacy to encrypt your emails or documents that can only be accessed and opened by a trusted source. Each of these providers use different technologies to protect your privacy so make sure you find out how they work before signing-up for an account.

2. Use a Secure Search Engine
While Google, Yahoo and other search engines offer you great search results, all your searches are logged and used to create a profile of you. To protect yourself from profiling, you ought to switch to StartPage.com. What it does is that it allows you to surf the web privately and protects you from targeted ads. It also gives you uncensored access to the Internet offering you broad search results instead of results based on your previous searches. 

3. Installing Firewalls 
Firewalls act as a barrier to prevent unauthorised sites from sending/receiving data over your wireless connection. They keep your computer away from destructive elements. Firewalls can be configured for use on both hardware and software to filter incoming and outgoing information. Purchase and install some of the most powerful antivirus software like McAfee, Norton, BitDefender Antivirus Plus, and Kaspersky Anti-Virus to protect your computer.

4. Only Sign up to Credible Surveys Online
If you choose to do surveys for money, make sure you read the privacy policy listed on the survey provider’s website to determine how your information will be used. Anonymous online surveys pose research design challenges, but they protect the personal information of participants. Companies often ask for participant’s names and email addresses to conduct cash surveys but this information is not always used to identify the individuals participating in the survey. Choose survey providers wisely and protect yourself from scams.

MyOpinions allows you to complete surveys for money or gift cards. You also get to participate in a quarterly prize draw and earn points by referring your friends. Click here to learn more about our privacy policy.

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