PRISMSocial CreditClearViewSurveillance Capitalism. If you recognize these words, you’re probably concerned about your privacy (if not, you might want to be). In pursuit of power and profit, companies and governments the world over are gathering terabytes of data about your location, interests, habits, relationships, and desires.

What can we do about it? Much has been written about how society as a whole can promote privacy: writing to politicians, voting with our wallets, etc. But let’s face it: these things take time, if they move forward at all. If you want immediate protection, your best bet is to cut the data off at the source: your devices; the PC and, especially, the phone, are where the majority of your behavior is tracked. In this article, we’ll take a look at steps that a non-technical person can take to restrict tracking at the device level. Keep in mind that forms of external tracking, like surveillance cameras, are simply out of your direct control.

Due to it’s pervasiveness, avoiding user tracking usually means sacrificing convenience. If you really wanted, you could go all-in and take extreme, technical steps, like using a custom OS on your phone or running your own email server. That said, we’re going to focus on the more moderate steps that most people would actually be willing to take. How far you go is up to you, but we won’t look at anything that requires more than basic computer skills.

Online Accounts

If you’re like most people, you have a Google, Facebook, and Twitter account, along with countless others. Although the concept of privacy goes against the business model of most of these companies, they do still provide users with some level of control over their data, usually because they legally have to.

If you can’t just delete your account, it’s important to go through the settings page to see if there are any data collection toggles you can turn off. In Google’s case, you may want to turn disable everything on your Data and Personalization Dashboard. Here are the equivalent pages for Twitter and Facebook. Aside from these toggles, you should go through old records like comments, likes, and posts, and delete them as you see fit. If you’ve ever used a social account to sign in to an App, i.e. ‘Sign In with Google/Facebook/Other’, you can look through the list of Apps that have access to said account, and remove those you don’t need.

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The Average Person’s Guide to Digital Privacy
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