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HyderabadHow to protect your privacy on social media

How to protect your privacy on social media

Published: 12th Jan 2021 12:07 am

We are living in an age where privacy seems to slip away with the emergence of new technologies. It is a common misunderstanding that data privacy is something that concerns people who have something to hide. But the truth is that any data concerning you on the web is expensive. It is being bought and sold by companies for various uses.

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Even though privacy is considered a basic human right, we realise that it is hard to keep track of information with or without our knowledge and how it is being used. Inappropriate use of our personal data is something that has become a matter of great concern these days that needs to be thoroughly discussed and be made aware of.

The more sophisticated life is, the more you are being tracked. A market place has emerged where public shaming is a commodity and industry. We are unpaid shaming interns for many applications that we use free for social conversations and it is also true that we are at a juncture where technology is unavoidable and it has its own benefits as well. But it is imperative to ensure that the cost is not your privacy. The dilemma of choosing between privacy and user convenience is something to ponder upon.

Privacy intrusions:

Crash reporters: These trackers specialise in reporting application crashes

• Analytics: The group is meant to collect data usage and allow developers to have better knowledge of their audience

• Profiling: These trackers’ goal is to gather as much information as possible about the application user in order to build a virtual profile

• Identification: They are responsible for determining your digital identity

• Ads: These trackers aim to identify application users to serve them targeted ads

• Location: This wing are designed to track geographical location of mobile devices

Privacy Setups

Facebook: A few settings to review are

(i) Access Your Information

(ii) Privacy

(iii) Profile Tagging

(iv) Blocking Contacts and

(v) Location Sharing

Also ensure that you disable Off-Facebook activity. It includes information that businesses and organisations share with us about your interactions with them and pushes relevant advertisements which is unnecessary and triggers privacy concerns.

Twitter: Review

(i) Photo tagging

(ii) Tweet privacy

(iii) Tweet location

(iv) Discoverability

(v) Address book

(vi) Personalisation and

(vii) Direct Messages

WhatsApp:

(i) Turn off ‘last seen’

(ii) Disable read receipts

(iii) Hide profile photo

(iv) Exclude contacts from status sharing

(v) Hide about message

(vi) Check if you’re sharing your location

(vii) Popup notifications

Google: Review

(i) Email tracking

(ii) Stop location tracking

(iii) End voice recordings

(iv) Delete your purchase history

(v) Limit Google search and go to Duck Duck Go

(vi) Turn on two-factor authentication

(vii) Be anonymous as much as you can

Also ensure you delete all existing activity and disable My Activity on Google (https://myactivity.google.com). It includes all your past information i.e. searches, purchases and travel history

Tips to protect privacy:

• Understand privacy terms & settings

• Input biographical information diligently

• Turn off location

• Be careful about posting photos online

• Avoid using public or shared devices to access social media

• Avoid clicking on suspecting social media links, even if it was sent by friends

• Avoid unknown contacts; choose connections wisely

Open source alternatives to social media:-

• Facebook and Twitter alternatives: The most popular alternative is https://www.minds.com/. Other alternatives are https://diasporafoundation.org/, https://joinmastodon.org/, https://mewe.com/ and https://friendi.ca/

• Instagram alternatives: The most popular alternatives are https://textile.photos/ and https://pixelfed.social/

• WhatsApp alternatives: The most popular alternative is https://telegram.org/. Other alternatives are https://signal.org/en/, https://www.viber.com/en/ and https://wire.com/en/

How to protect your data:-

• Check privacy settings of social network accounts

• Limit sharing personal information on social media

• Browse in incognito or private mode

• Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN)

• Use website and router ad-blocks

• Use message applications with end-to-end encryption

• Set up two-factor authentication and secure cloud

• Be careful about what you click – watch out for phishing

Stay Tuned to Cyber Talk Column for more on internet ethics and digital wellness brought to you by Anil Rachamalla, End Now Foundation, www.endnowfoundation.org


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