Read any newspaper like the Wall Street Journal and you’ll see conversations about privacy and the changes that are happening soon with Apple, Facebook, and now with Google Chrome. You have a right to be concerned about how big business is working to continue to make money off of serving you ads with persistent tracking cookies.
Apple and Facebook are in a finger pointing game with Apple rolling our new privacy updates in a new iOS roll out and Facebook putting up a wall to garner your tracking approval for ads. Add to this Google’s change to the Chrome browser which will block third party tracking cookies and now group your data in audiences for proprietary ad targeting and you will see that big business considers your online activity a goldmine for their own purposes – to make money by serving you ads.
These internet behemoths do not have your best interest at heart – protecting your privacy. Their interest is in making money off of the information you share or share unwittingly. Case in point, have you looked at something online and then in minutes seen the product appear in your Facebook feed? Of concern to me is voice conversations had near an Alexa, and then ads appearing for that item in Facebook shortly there after. Could it possibly be that Alexa is now involved in ad targeting or was this just a fluke?
Google knows everything that I do and I am starting to get uneasy with that knowledge. As my firm work for a cancer treatment firm, for criminal lawyers, and for bed bug exterminators, and we do a wealth of research for them, Google now thinks that I have cancer, am embroiled in criminal enterprises, and have bed bugs at my home.
I personally have started to take action to minimize my online data footprint out of exhaustion with targeted advertising and the inherent loss of control and incessant “watching”.
Here’s what I am doing right now to try to get back in control of my data.
• I have minimized all activity on Facebook. I am testing out MeWe.com as they voice that they do not collect data or (at this time) use my data from the platform for advertising. But, no friends or family members are using this platform except my husband. I may simply abandon Facebook.
• I use only the Microsoft Edge browser and do not use Google Chrome except for a narrow work purpose. Edge has better privacy control and on top of that is super fast. A win-win in my eyes. Google knows too much about me and I am not willing to supply more information at this point. I may even start using secure private browsing just to stop tracking.
• DuckDuckGo – is the search engine that powers my own website searches and I have recently downloaded their mobile browsing app and am considering using the desktop version as my search engine of choice. They now show ads, but still claim to protect a user’s privacy.
I have previously felt that the more Google knew about me the better it was for me, as search results and ads were always tailored to things I thought I wanted. But now, I am more wary.
My privacy is starting to be a commodity that I am unwilling to share freely. I am now wanting more control over who knows what about me and who uses my information for ad targeting and how.