Three Tips to Reduce Personal Data Tracking in 2019

1. Switch to Firefox

  • Why: You’re probably using Chrome right now. Google is the maintainer and distributor of Chrome, and have recently been making some decisions with the browser that are not in favor of privacy. Firefox has been making performance strides over the past few years and is basically as speedy as Chrome now, and is a much more privacy-respecting browser.
  • How: Download and install the desktop browser. Don’t forget to set it as your default browser. Go into Options > “Privacy and Security” and enable “Block Trackers: Always”, “Block Third Party Cookies: All”, “Send Do Not Track: Always.” Use Firefox Sync to sync your bookmarks and other settings securely.
  • Bonus: Install Firefox and/or Firefox Focus on your phone.

2. Switch to DuckDuckGo

  • Why: Google tracks every search and uses it to target advertising. If you’re logged into your Google (Gmail) account, they will associate your searching patterns with your email patterns to build a powerfully accurate and personal profile on you. DuckDuckGo is almost as good as Google in terms of search results, and does not collect or share your personal information.
  • How: Go into your web browser (Firefox, Chrome, etc.) settings and change your default search provider to DuckDuckGo.

3. Block Facebook at the DNS level

  • Why: Facebook tracks you across the internet using embedded “like” buttons that websites voluntarily place on their sites. Whether you’re logged in or not, they can track you as you browse the internet without your consent.
  • How: Add these entries to your hosts file. Instructions are OS dependent, and are at the top of the file.