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Online privacy is an oxymoron. For example, there is an advertiser ID on your phone that should keep your location anonymous. Are you surprised it does not? Me neither. Click or click here to view and remove your advertiser ID.
It’s not always advertisers and Big Tech spies. A stranger or someone you know may be roaming your accounts. Tap or click for a quick check to keep your Facebook, Google, and Netflix accounts safe.
Privacy is not given. Here are five ways to get as much back as you can.
Everyone’s least favorite kind of cookie
You collect cookies when you surf the web on your phone, computer or tablet. These pieces of data store information about the sites you visit. Cookies store your logins, personalization settings, advertising information and other details.
The advantage is that cookies store images and files and prevent you from having to log in every time you visit a website. However, these cookies contain a lot of your information. Fortunately, you can delete cookies manually in a few steps.
Tap or click here to delete cookies from your phone. Click this link for steps to delete cookies from your computer’s browser.
Even better, use incognito mode. When you browse the web incognito, your browser does not store your history, cookies, site data or information you enter in forms. That do keep any downloaded files or bookmarks created during the session.
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Be warned: Your ISP can still see your activity, just like a school or employer providing your Internet access or computer.
Tap to go incognito on Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge Ctrl + Shift + N (or Command + Shift + N on Mac). Press or click three times, always browsing incognito.
For even more privacy, turn on a VPN. A virtual private network, or VPN, is a layer of protection between your devices and the Internet. It hides your IP address and your location. It also encrypts your data after leaving your device and traveling to the site you are visiting.
Do not even think about using a free VPN. At best, it will lack the necessary privacy features and slow you down. At worst, it hides malware or tracks your information. My choice is ExpressVPNthe VPN I used before they sponsored my national radio program.
2. Your emails are a wealth of information
Just think of everything that is in your inbox. In the wrong hands, these digital messages can do a lot of damage.
Encryption is a method of protecting your email from hackers, criminals and prying eyes. It’s a process where your emails are distorted, so if hackers manage to intercept them, all they see is junk.
Big name email services like Gmail and Yahoo do not provide end-to-end encryption. Encryption is difficult to implement and generally requires the participation of all correspondents. The process is not end-to-end if your Email uses encryption, however my do not do. At some point, your message will be vulnerable.
If encrypting your emails is essential, switch to a secure service like StartMail, ProtonMail, Mailfence, Tutanota or Hushmail.
Are you using Gmail? You can send a confidential email. Email sent in confidential mode cannot be forwarded, and you can choose whether a recipient needs a password to read it. Tap or click here and scroll to # 3 for steps to try it for yourself.
3. Your apps keep an eye on where you are going
Your phone knows exactly where you have been over the last few days, weeks and even months. If it’s been a while since you looked at your phone’s location settings, do so now.
Check out this hidden location setting on your iPhone:
click Settingsthen Privacy.
choose Location servicesand then scroll down to System services.
Choose Significant places to see the record of where you have been and turn it off.
To adjust location settings on an Android:
Open Settingsthen scroll down and press Location.
To stop all tracking, you can switch Use location of.
If you do not want to remove all permissions, press App location permissions.
For each app, tap it to select your preferred option: Allow all the time, Allow only while using the app, Ask every time, or Do not allow. You can also decide whether an app should see your exact location or an approximate location.
4. Your TV sees you right away
I’m sorry to share it with you. Your streaming services also track your activity. It makes sense. Netflix, Hulu and all the others want to know what programs you like so they can recommend content you want to enjoy and don’t mind paying for.
However, surveillance is not to your advantage. Streaming services collect your impression history and the ads you see or skip. They then share this data with advertisers.
Tap or click here for a step-by-step guide to deleting your story on Netflix, Hulu and more.
If you have a smart TV, you also have important options to review there. Press or click to prevent your Samsung, LG, Amazon Fire TV or Roku TV from spying.
5. Stop sharing everything you buy and browse
Google always seems to know what you want and it’s not in your head. Google tracks every search, click, message, and request. Clear your search history and activity from time to time. Here’s how you do it:
Go to myaccount.google.com and log in. Alternatively, go to google.com and click on the circle icon in the top right corner with your image or initials inside. Then click Manage your Google Account.
click Data and privacy in the menu on the left.
You will see checkboxes for Web and App Activity, Placement History, and YouTube History. Click on each one to adjust your settings. Replace them of to stop further tracking if you select it.
On these pages you can also configure automatic deletion for future activity. I highly recommend that you enable this. You can choose between 3 months, 18 months or 36 months.
Do not stop there. Tap or click for more Google privacy settings, which you can change now.
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Do you want your dead grandmother to read a story to you? If Amazon’s new Alexa AI feature comes alive, you can clone dead voices. Plus, hackers take over hot tubs, Anna Sorokin sells NFTs, and the FBI warns of crypto fraud on LinkedIn. You will not believe how much money Big Tech companies make per minute.
Check out my “Kim Komando Today” podcast on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast player.
Listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just search for my last name, “Command.”
What digital lifestyle questions do you have? Call Kim’s National Radio Program and click or click here to find it at your local radio station. You can listen to or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, television or computer. Or press or click here to Kim’s free podcasts.
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Learn about all the latest technology at The Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim accepts calls and advises on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacking. Visit her website at Komando.com for her daily tips, free newsletters and more.