Microsoft has made a research in order to find out what do users in EU think about who is responsible for their privacy. That is what users think, who is responsible: – Who should be responsible for protecting users privacy in EU
Privacy vs. Anonymity
Privacy and Anonymity are two different concepts. Privacy means that users want to keep some data or activities to themselves. This does not mean that they do something illegal. Anonymity on the other hand describes the situation where users don’t mind that someone sees their activity. They just don’t want that others know that they are doing it.
Privacy and anonymity get connected on the point that third-parties get as little information about the user as possible.
How to protect your privacy
There are several steps that users can make to protect their privacy. Some are small and easy, some demand users to change their habits …
Use other search engines
Google is the company that track users all the time. One small step away is the use of alternative search engines. Among more popular there is:
Users quickly discover that other search engines are not as good as Google is. It is reasonable – they don’t have access to user’s history as Google does 🙁
Protect usernames and passwords
Typical users use one or one variant of password for different user accounts. It is essential to use different passwords for different websites. Users can use password managers to store all information in one and secure place. See the chapter that shows how.
Use a secure browser
Different browsers use different approaches regarding respecting user’s privacy. There are at least two possibilities:
- use a browser that is built with privacy in mind, for example, Brave,
- set and use your browser with privacy respect in mind (Chrome, Firefox)
- use a browser that makes you almost anonymous – Tor
If the change of browser is not an option, there are several extensions for popular browsers that enhance the privacy of users:
- NoScript Security Suite – the plugin for Firefox that disables running of scripts; users can choose which domain they trust;
- Facebook Container – this plugin isolates Facebook from tracking users activities;
- Privacy Badger – plugin for several browsers is focused on preventing ad networks from tracking users;
- HTTPS Everywhere – simple plugin that forces all browser’s traffic to use secure connections.
Use of VPN
Especially when connecting to the internet through insecure public Wi-fi it is recommended to use a VPN. VPN is a technology solution that builds a secure channel between a user’s computer and VPN server. All traffic is then tunnelled through this secure channel.
It is good considering the use of paid VPN service as are usually faster and more trustworthy.
Secure mobile devices
There are a few simple guidelines for mobile-devices users:
- upgrade your apps and operating system regularly,
- lock the access to the device with a pin, password, fingerprint …
- install just apps that you know, deinstall the apps that you don’t know,
- use secure apps for chatting like Signal, Telegram, or WhatsApp,
- turn off location service
This is simple. Just install and use antivirus and antimalware software.
What about your mailbox
This is not simple. There are a lot of users who use Gmail, Google powered mail service. If we want to enhance our privacy is it essential to move away from Google services. Instead of Gmail is it possible to use ProtonMail, an open-source platform based in Switzerland.
But as important as changing service provider is to take care, how the email is used:
- never open an email from persons you don’t know,
- never open attachments that come from a suspicious source …
- use PGP