Your Privacy. Your Data. You Are Being Tracked!

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Fear of Success is a fear of Failing What you should know about data privacy

It can happen to anyone. Do not be a victim.

Date Published: Sunday,

Date Updated: Sunday,


Many people think it cannot happen to them. “I have nothing they (hackers) want.” It does not just happen to people with money or belongings, it can happen to anyone. Hackers do not care about color of skin, where you live, or how much money they think you might have. They go after everyone. A buck stole is a buck earned.

There are many steps you can take to protect yourself from prying eyes, data trackers, and identity thieves, the biggest and most crazy one is get the heck off of the internet, get rid of your phone, and get off the grid by not buying anything, but that seems a bit drastic and overreactive. BUT, you cannot go wrong if you are that worried about not being in the system.

For the rest of us, there are apps, settings, plugins, and systems that protect your data on and offline, as well as, block annoying ads and trackers.

Remember to always clear your cache and cookies when you are done using your browser!

“Incognito or Private mode” & Ad Blockers

“Incognito or Private mode” in your browser & Ad Blockers do not protect you from data collection methods (like digital fingerprinting - but you can take back your privacy!

It may surprise you that ads can still follow you around in “Incognito” and other “private browsing” modes. That is because Incognito mode is not really private. Incognito mode only deletes your local search and browsing history — just the content on your computer. Websites, search engines, internet service providers, and governments can still easily track you across the web. If you did not know that private browsing is not private, you are not alone! 67% of people who use private browsing over-estimate the protection that private browsing modes offer.

Targeted ads that follow you around

Targeted ads that follow you around based on your web searches are not just annoying, they prey on the vulnerable and can be reminders of trauma in times of suffering. Use a private search engine to avoid these harms. []

Cloudflare drops Google's reCAPTCHA due to privacy concerns

Cloudflare has moved from Google's reCAPTCHA to hCaptcha, an independent alternative CAPTCHA provider focused on user privacy.

CAPTCHAs (short for Completely Automated Public Turing Test to Tell Computers and Humans Apart) are so-called challenges with the end goal of blocking malicious bot activity if the service detects unusual behavior not consistent with human traffic. Generally, they are prompts asking visitors to enter the same squiggly letters displayed in a box or to various objects such as cars or traffic lights, to differentiate between legitimate and automated web traffic.

CAPTCHA provider:

  • does not sell personal data
  • has similar or better performance (both in speed and solve rates)
  • provides a robust solution for visually impaired and other users with accessibility challenges
  • supports Privacy Pass to reduce the frequency of CAPTCHAs
  • works in regions where Google is blocked
  • has a responsive support team

Pricing, another reason for the move

On top of the privacy issues that were piling up, Google also recently decided to start charging for its CAPTCHA service.

Working from Home? Consider These Privacy-Focused Tools

With people working from home lately, working outside of a traditional office setting should not compromise your privacy.

Video Conferencing: FaceTime (free)

Many people use Zoom and a recent surge in new users brought a lot of warranted privacy scrutiny, which has prompted Zoom to deepen its commitment to privacy and transparency. While this commitment has the company dedicating its engineering staff to identifying and addressing privacy and security issues, there are alternative video conferencing products to consider that are more private by design.

Unlike Zoom, Apple’s FaceTime video conference service is truly end-to-end encrypted. Group FaceTime calls offer a privacy-conscious alternative for up to 32 participants. The main caveat is that this option only works if everyone on the call has an Apple device that currently supports this feature.

Speaking of video conferencing, remember to mute any smart home speakers during your work day. In fact, remove and stop using such devices as Amazon Echo & Alexa, Google Home, Facebook's Portal, and anything else similar. The last thing you want is for your speaker to begin accidentally recording while you are on a sensitive company call, or any call for that matter. The National Institute of Standards and Technology has even more tips for protecting privacy while on video calls.

Search Engine: DuckDuckGo Search (free) search engine gives you truly private search results without trade-offs in result quality. They have everything you expect in your online search experience, and a few bonus features like bangs, which make searching the Internet not only private, but also faster and a bit more fun.

Browser: Safari (free, desktop), Firefox (free, desktop), Brave (free, desktop), DuckDuckGo Privacy Browser (free, mobile)

Now is as good a time to stop using Google Chrome and opt for a more privacy-focused browser such as Safari, Firefox, Brave, or Vivaldi. Whichever desktop browser you choose, we recommend accompanying it with DuckDuckGo's desktop browser extension, DuckDuckGo Privacy Essentials.

While these browsers work hard to protect your privacy, DuckDuckGo's desktop browser extension takes additional steps to keep your data safe, with seamless best-in-class tracker protection, private search, and ensuring that you visit encrypted versions of sites when possible.

Get a Virtual Private Network (VPN)

Do not let the name intimidate you – VPNs are very simple to install and essentially work on auto-pilot thereafter, but they are highly effective in blocking your home’s Internet Service Provider (e.g. Verizon) from seeing your browsing activity or IP address. TorGuard is a strong option that we are looking at instead of the free VPNs, and the VPN of choice at DuckDuckGo, but they also have advice for choosing a VPN so you can make an informed decision.

Email: Fastmail (paid), ProtonMail (free with paid options), Tutanota (free with paid options)

This may be a tough one to shift if your company is already utilizing an email provider but there is no harm in knowing about some privacy-protecting email providers.

Fastmail also includes calendar and contacts support across all devices, and supports several ways to get encrypted email between trusted parties by integrating PGP encryption tools. ProtonMail and Tutanota offer even more privacy protections, including, end-to-end encryption by default.

Chat: Mattermost (paid), Signal (free)

There are several services offering private messaging, but at the enterprise level Mattermost gets a recommendation. It is a secure alternative to Slack, offering multiple messaging workspaces, usage of emojis and GIFs, and layered security options. For 1-to-1 messaging, we recommend Signal. It offers free, end-to-end encryption for both messages and private calls.

File Storage & Backup: Resilio Sync (free with paid options), Firefox Send (free), Tresorit (paid)

Transferring files is critical to remote work, but since your files contain your company’s sensitive software and data, it is important to put them in safe hands. Resilio Sync offers highly private peer-to-peer file synchronization which can be used for file storage, backup, and file sharing. This also means your files are never stored on a single server in the cloud! The software is available for a wide variety of platforms and devices, including servers.

Another option is Mozilla's Firefox Send, which allows end-to-end encrypted file transfer with automatic link expiration and download caps. An alternative cloud storage and backup service with end-to-end encryption and cross-device compatibility is Tresorit.

Bottomline: Do not be a victim. Be vigilant with your data and your identity!

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