Digital Privacy Misconceptions Debunked – Earn Charter
January 23, 2024
We frequently overlook the true expense of internet use. Even while there may be no cost associated with accessing websites, services, and apps, our privacy and information are typically compromised.
There is rising anxiety about the amount of personal data we are disclosing as artificial intelligence advances. There are concerns about its storage and, more significantly, its use.
This post will debunk some of the most widespread myths that individuals have about digital privacy. You will gain confidence in knowing what information about you is and isn’t visible online as you learn how to take your security more seriously with each point.
A Growing Interest in Digital Privacy
According to research, consumers are now aware of the importance of privacy in their lives. In their 2023 Consumer Privacy Survey, Cisco found that more consumers are taking affirmative action each year to protect privacy, including changing services and suppliers to better protect themselves.
Misconceptions About Digital Privacy
1- Not Everyone Wants To Track Your Activity
One of the biggest misconceptions about privacy is that no one is interested in monitoring you. In fact, there are so many people and services actively trying to find out as much as possible about you. This can be because they want to monetize and sell this information to advertisers or use gathered intel in cybercrime.
For example, Internet service providers (ISPs) are one of the biggest culprits in collecting large amounts of customer data on internet. Through this, they can find lots of sensitive information about you, including what websites you visit and when, whether you stream or play games online, how many devices you have connected at home, and much more.
A report from the Federal Trade Commission in 2021 found that some ISPs were actively collecting more data than required. While many had disclaimers stating that personal data is never sold to outside parties, there was a distinct lack of information on other ways the company might monetize data or whether they buy it themselves.
2- Incognito Mode Keeps Everything Private
Many assume that turning on their browser’s incognito mode is enough to keep their online activity anonymous. Unfortunately, this is not true.
Incognito mode stops browsing and search history and cookies from being recorded. Yes, it can be a useful privacy feature if you use a shared computer and want to hide your activity from other users. However, it is not the robust privacy tool many people believe it is.
That’s because even with incognito mode active, the websites you visit and your internet service provider can still monitor and track your activity. Thankfully, there is an easy way to enjoy total privacy when browsing online – by using a proxy extension. This tool is like a lightweight version of a VPN and can easily encrypt browser activity on unsecured websites and Wi-Fi networks without fail.
3- Every Website Is Protecting My Information
Legislation and policy are constantly evolving to protect consumers. However, many websites, apps, and services do not do enough to protect online users.
As such, your information may be at risk because of two core issues: poor data protection from the company and poor terms and conditions. A rise in data breaches from companies worldwide has also shown that companies are not doing enough to protect their customers.
In 2021, for example, sensitive information from over 533 million Facebook users was leaked online, to worldwide horror.
The information included users’ full names, locations, phone numbers, and email addresses, causing massive reputational damage to the platform and a subsequent fine of over $276 million by Ireland’s Data Commissioner.
Read Also: Importance of Frequent System Updates for Data Security
4- If the Wi-Fi Has A Password, It’s Protected
How we connect to the internet can be just as important as how we use it, especially regarding digital privacy. Many public Wi-Fi networks are hotspots for surveillance and data protection issues.
Most of these networks are free, and many businesses use them to attract customers to their premises and share their information. Despite being behind a password, there is no guarantee that the network in question is safe or is handling your data appropriately.
Besides cybercriminals, consumers must be mindful of the internet service providers behind these networks. You often need to create an account or give them personal details like your email or phone number to log on successfully. This can, in itself, be a serious privacy concern.
You should only connect to unsecured networks using a virtual private network. This tool encrypts your internet traffic, even on public Wi-Fi networks, fortifying your defences and ensuring that no personal information is readily available online.
Tips to Protect Digital Privacy
Here are some digital privacy tips to help you safeguard your personal information online:
Use Strong, Unique Passwords
Make complicated passwords with a combination of digits, symbols, and capital and lowercase letters.
Don’t use facts that can be guessed at, such as birthdays or everyday terms.
Make sure you use a unique password for every account you have online.
Put two-factor authentication (2FA) into action
Turn on 2FA for your accounts whenever you can. By requiring a second form of verification in addition to your password, increases security.
Read Also: 10 Tips To Keep Your Data Safe Online
Update Programs and Software Frequently
Update your operating system, applications, and software. Updates that remedy security flaws are frequently released by developers.
Recognize Public Wi-Fi
When using public Wi-Fi, stay away from accessing private information. If required, encrypt your internet connection using a virtual private network (VPN).
Examine the App Permissions
Check your devices’ permissions for apps on a regular basis. Give users access to only the features and data that are essential to the operation of the app.
Limit Your Social Media Personal Information
Use caution when disclosing too much personal information on social media sites. To limit who can view your posts and profile information, change your privacy settings.
Employ Apps for Encrypted Messaging
Ensure the security and privacy of your online communications by using end-to-end encrypted messaging apps, especially when discussing sensitive topics.
Verify and Track Accounts Regularly
Check your email accounts, bank statements, and other internet accounts frequently for any unusual activity. Report any illegal access right once.
Uncovering common misconceptions about digital privacy is essential for consumers navigating the digital world. Understanding that privacy goes beyond just strong passwords and encompasses a spectrum of practices, from scrutinizing app permissions to being vigilant against phishing attacks, is crucial. Recognizing that privacy is a continuous and active commitment rather than a one-time task is key to safeguarding personal information.
Azeem Rajpoot, the author behind Technolo Gist, is a passionate tech enthusiast with a keen interest in exploring and sharing insights about the rapidly evolving world of technology.
With a background in Technologist, Azeem brings a unique perspective to the blog, offering in-depth analyses, reviews, and thought-provoking articles. Committed to making technology accessible to all, Azeem strives to deliver content that not only keeps readers informed about the latest trends but also sparks curiosity and discussions.
Follow Azeem on this exciting tech journey to stay updated and inspired.