Turn It Off or Keep It On? How to Ensure You Aren’t Sharing Too Much
There’s no question that most of the companies that we interact with nowadays capture and share data. Many of them package them up and sell them to marketing companies that follow users around the Internet. Too many people don’t know how to keep from oversharing their personal information and it can have negative effects on their lives. This week, we thought we’d give you some tips on how to keep your personal data from getting needlessly exposed.
Online Accounts Look to Take Personal Data By Default
The truth is, that when you sign up for social media or with a mobile device, they are programmed by default to take all the personal information that you have, and sometimes data you didn’t realize you were sharing. That’s why you need to be vigilant when you sign up for these services. We’re going to take a look at some of the most popular online platforms and how to best to protect yourself.
The iPhone is the most popular smartphone in the western world. Not only that, Apple now has the Apple TV+ streaming service that requires personal information to use. You can start managing your privacy immediately on an iPhone. You know all that legal mumbo jumbo that you never ever read when you are signing into a new device, signing up for a new account, or registering a new app? That has some options that eliminate a large chunk of your data privacy.
For people using an iPhone, there are some options that can help improve your privacy. Users can select to toggle off the options that: allows apps to request to track you, build personalized ads for you, use your device analytics system to send data to Apple, and more. These options are turned on by default, and will provide you with a more personalized experience, but if your quest is data privacy, Apple provides you the option to control that yourself.
Google runs a lot of services, especially if you are an Android phone user. Not only do they build the Android OS, they also have Search, Maps, and YouTube to name-drop the what’s-what under the Google brand. This means that if you don’t take some time and manage your Google-based account, information you may not want out there, is going to be shared with not only Google, but also their corporate partners.
Fortunately, for Google users, there is one profile tied to your Google accounts and it’s relatively easy to access and manage. You will want to go into your account and toggle the auto-delete option that will delete all location, web & app activity, and YouTube history after three months. Users of newer Android smartphones can also share approximate location rather than the precise location with apps. Many apps ask for location history, so this can be useful if you don’t want them following your exact location everywhere.
Meta (formerly Facebook) has been at the center of almost every data privacy situation for the past several years. They have built a service that is extremely good at taking your activity and using it to personalize your experience. Of course, this is a problem for user data privacy.
The options that you need to change are pretty straightforward. In the Privacy Checkup Tool, you need to change the following settings:
- Who can see what you share - Select the “Only Me” option.
- How people can find you on Facebook - Select the “Only Me" option.
- Your ad preferences on Facebook - Toggle off the switches opposite relationship status, employer, job title, and education.
These are just a few of the sites you come into contact with and if you want to control the information that Amazon, Microsoft, or any other outfit can capture from your use of their software, you will want to carefully go through the options to ensure that you are comfortable with what data you are allowing them access to. Today’s computing relies heavily on sharing data and that can result in a lot more of the data you create being available out in the world.
Data privacy is a big issue and keeping control over it can help keep you from being a victim of data leaks and other problems down the road. For more about data privacy, return to our blog regularly.