Seeing content personalized to you and your interests is more than welcome nowadays. However, to achieve this, you need to be willing to give up on your digital privacy or share more personal information.
Living in the digital age often means you should trade your privacy for convenience, and many internet users understand that. However, choosing what you share online can increase your cyber security and keep your data safe, especially if you understand the risks.
Even if you think your information is secure on large platforms such as Facebook, you might be wrong since that company experienced a data leak just a few years ago. You can find balance by learning about online privacy and incorporating apps like VPN and ad blockers into your daily routine. It will give you a sense of control and keep the user experience at a high level.
The benefits of sharing data
Most of us lead busy lives and can’t spend hours online looking for the perfect product to buy. That’s where personalized ads come into play. Advertisers can show us products that could interest us on various websites and social media platforms.
Furthermore, the availability of data can help small businesses grow, which was unheard of just a decade ago. Having a large budget for advertising was a must, and it was impossible for new companies to stand out back then. But social media leveled the playing field, and now everyone can reach their target audience regardless of the money they invest in ads. It means you can discover international brands of all sizes and budgets, all thanks to personalized ads.
Additionally, accepting cookies on your favorite websites could give you a better user experience every time you visit the page. Through data collection, these webpages present you with a fully personalized front page, with suggestions that fit your taste or go well with your previous purchases.
The checkout process is faster because of autofill, which makes online shopping more convenient. You don’t have to type in your shipping address every time you make an order when you allow an online store to remember your information. If you believe data sharing isn’t improving your life, think again.
Downsides of giving up your data
Companies should be more transparent about the information they collect since it could give their users a better understanding of what could happen with their data. While personalized content is the future, users might still face dangerous situations online and offline because of it.
Businesses that collect and store large amounts of information about their clients should invest in cybersecurity and make their databases as secure as possible. Unfortunately, cybercriminals are working around the clock to bypass restrictions, gain access to information, and use it to their advantage.
Small companies are often targeted, but there have been so many data breaches within large and established businesses and services around the globe. Facebook, the most famous social media platform, experienced a security breach in April 2021 that leaked phone numbers, email addresses, birthdates, and locations from more than 533 million people using the webpage from 2018 to 2019.
Passwords weren’t stolen, but the leaked information was enough for hackers to figure out login information, which put millions of users at risk. People tend to reuse the same passwords for multiple accounts, and if one is compromised, chances are the rest will be as well. Data leaks are risky since they could result in identity theft too.
Finding the balance
The solution to the privacy concern is balance. Users can protect their privacy by understanding online security and using various tools and apps while browsing the web. The best part is that they will still get personalized content from their favorite brands. Here’s where to start:
Targeted ads need to get information about you from somewhere. Therefore, various social media platforms and websites collect data on your location, browsing habits, and interests. Even if you don’t publish things you want to purchase for your house or tweet your thoughts about a particular global issue, chances are advertisers will learn that from websites you visit or internet searches.
Is there a way to prevent this? Absolutely! But you need to be willing to give up on some targeted ads in the future. Users do find them handy even though they are pretty intrusive. Several browser extensions are made to block ads and trackers from various websites, providing you with a good amount of privacy online. Some websites could give you the option to turn off the trackers, but you need to do it manually.
Those who don’t want to reveal their exact location should try using VPN. Selecting a server on the other side of the globe is easy and takes just a few clicks. So if you are traveling in Europe and want to change your IP address, select the VPN Australia server. Thanks to Australian VPN, websites will think you are in a completely different country.
Dealing with your ISP
Your Internet Service Provider (ISP) might also track and collect your browsing information through the IP address. The stored data could make its way to advertisers, which results in personalized ads on multiple platforms. If you want to tackle this issue and minimize the tracking, a VPN could help you out. As mentioned above, a VPN hides your location and gives you a different IP address.
When you connect to a server such as VPN server in Australia, your ISP won’t be able to store as much data as before. Since your traffic is going through the VPN, it is up to you to decide to trust them with your information. Well-established VPN companies have impeccable cybersecurity. Whatever you choose to do, a VPN is a solid option that will bring your privacy to the next level.
Large companies such as Yahoo, Facebook, and LinkedIn experienced serious data breaches in the last decade. For instance, 3 billion users were affected by the Yahoo data leak. Therefore, chances are your login credentials are somewhere out there. If you tend to use the same password for every account you create, it is time to break the habit.
Make sure your passwords contain uppercase letters, symbols, and numbers. And the best part is that you don’t need to remember each password. Instead, use a password manager app to keep your login credentials in one place. You will have access to all of them regardless of the device you use. This simple upgrade will increase your privacy and protect your personal information.