Protect your privacy with
these eight simple tips without
becoming a digital outcast.
Precautions for using social networks
Set Facebook boundaries. Only by doing so can you prevent strangers from drawing precise conclusions about your personality and lifestyle. Credit scoring and insurance companies are especially interested in this information. Allow only friends to have access to your profile. In order to do this, open the menu and click on "Settings > Privacy" and select the appropriate option. It's imperative that you deactivate geotagging. Otherwise strangers will be able to draw conclusions about your whereabouts, for instance, when you upload pictures onto Facebook, Instagram or Twitter. You can easily deactivate geotagging via the privacy settings on your smart phone. In general, post as little private information or commentary as possible. Deutsche Telekom's Privacy Manager app analyzes your Facebook account data protection settings and enables an easy adjustment of the settings directly from the app.
If you aren't logged out of Amazon, Google, Facebook or similar portals as you surf the Internet, in the background these services learn many details about your surfing behavior. As a consequence, they can store private information in your digital imprint and can get a more and more precise idea of your identity. The free browser plug-in "Cookie AutoDelete" helps you prevent this. This automatically deletes all cookies as soon as you close a page. As a result, the services can't collect any additional data from you. For Safari users, the tool “Privatus” is recommended for this purpose.
Nearly every website utilizes an online tracker. This tracker is operated mostly by advertising and review networks in order to extrapolate precise conclusions about interests, user movements on the internet, the user’s geographic origin, shopping carts in online shops, and many other personal details about the user. Admittedly, these trackers generally function on the basis of anonymous or pseudo-anonymous data, but if you don't want this to happen, you can block a large portion of these online trackers with the tracking blockers uBlock Origin recommended by Stiftung Warentest, the leading German consumer product testing institute, or Privacy Badger. There's also a browser version of this tool for smartphones.
Online searches with privacy protection
When you log onto a search engine, it collects and stores your search inquiries. An excellent alternative is the search engine startpage.com, which has built-in privacy protection and doesn't require a login. This engine utilizes Google's search results, but at the same time stresses privacy protection. Unlike Google, startpage.com stores none of the user's information or search terms. It only sets session cookies that are deleted immediately after you stop using the page. It involves no third-party supplier code and itself only collects data necessary for internal statistics in a format that is completely anonymous.
Not without my invisibility cloak
Especially while surfing over public hotspots that are in most cases highly insecure, you'll enjoy twice the security with virtual private networks, or VPNs. All Deutsche Telekom hotspots automatically give you these invisibility cloaks, by the way, if you’ve installed the Connect app. VPNs modify your IP address so that you can no longer be identified (e.g. via your location). The majority of modern routers also allow you to redirect your cell phone's data traffic from anywhere via a VPN from your router. The best way to find out how this works is via a startpage.com search for your router model.
Conceal your identity
You can best protect your privacy online while surfing with the free Tor browser. Tor stands for "The Onion Router." It loads websites over an anonymous network, by which you can to a large extent conceal your identity. However, it's important that you don't use Tor to log into social media networks, as your identity would of course be revealed to these services the moment that you do. For this it's best to use your standard browser. Tor is also available for iPhones and Android smartphones, by the way.
Saving your data online instead of via hard disk not only saves the environment. It also involves the risk of enabling third parties to view your data. According to heise.de, Dropbox, for example, stores your data unencrypted on American servers. Only the transfer of the data is carried out with encryption. Anyone who wishes not to set up their own cloud, yet would still like to assure high data security, should consider using MagentaCLOUD. For additional security, you can encrypt your data for free with Boxcryptor. For this purpose, data is released exclusively by court order - and only in encrypted form.
Your personal data alarm siren
Keep your eyes peeled. You should always be skeptical whenever your personal data is requested from you. Develop your own data alarm siren. Don't disclose your relationship status, telephone number, email address, allergies, illnesses or other private information when it isn't really necessary for the service. Less is more when it comes to data protection. Most services that don't have a compelling reason for requesting it want to use your data to make money.