If you use the internet in any capacity you are using a web browser to access the world wide web.
What is a browser? A website browser like Chrome, Safari, FireFox, Microsoft Edge helps users access information online. We can choose which browser we would like to use. All of the choices come with stipulations.
For instance, Google was recently in the news for the information they gather when you use their Chrome browser. The data they collect about you may help them use that information to target you for advertising. Worse, if hacked, thieves access to a lot of information about you.
What can you do as a consumer? Remember nothing is free in life. Everything comes with a cost. In regards to the world wide web, the cost of your privacy.
Are there laws protecting our privacy when we browse online?
In the United State of America there is currently no single law regulating the individual right to privacy online. Currently, the Federal Trade Commission is responsible for overseeing privacy laws and regulations. There is not a federal mandate for privacy in the USA.
Instead, the rules for privacy are handled by State legislation. Everything you search for on each of your devices and your home internet are associated with your unique IP address. The Children Online Privacy Protection Act COPPA Act has identified IP (Internet Protocol) addresses assigned to your location. The act has deemed that your IP address qualifies as “personal information.”
There are other laws that have passed in California (California Privacy Rights Act of 2020) and other states across the USA helping to protect your data and your privacy. Here is a pretty comprehensive place to start (BigID Know Your Data.)
Here are a few tips you can do today to limit what web browsers can collect about you.
- Change your default search engine: Remember Google owns 90% of the world’s search traffic, by simply changing your default search engine to something other than Google you can stop them from collecting your search history, you geographical location, and more.
- Delete your browsing history: By deleting your browsing history you limit the amount of time your browser remembers what you were searching for.
- Install 3rd party extensions to your default browser: If you do decide to stick with Chrome, you have the option of adding extensions to your browser that help boost your privacy with from third party developers (check your app store on your phone or download for your desktop.)
- Go incognito: What does that mean? It means that you open a “private” browser that does not track where you go online. Chrome has this option. I actually use it all the time when shopping for Christmas gifts. That way no one in my household can see the items I have been researching.
- Do a privacy check up: On your browser go into the settings tab and review your security and privacy settings regularly. You can do things like block cookies from websites, and delete the cookies that you have already authorized.
How to protect your online browsing data?
Client, customer, as well as your employee personal information can be subject to a breach online. It is a great place for scammers and hackers to gain access to your information. Traditionally online advertising uses this data to profile you as a consumer. They can see what you were looking at, and remarket things to you that suit your interests and profile.
Try these tips to help your business when using web browsers:
- Create rules and regulations for your business regarding the internet
- Have you IT team block websites you do not want your employees to go to
- Use a VPN for all your employees to access your servers both in person and remote.
Do you need help navigating privacy laws?
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