Settings You Should Use to Protect Your Information

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Thanks in part to Mr. Zuckerberg and the 87 million people whose data was breached, our minds have been enlightened to the fact that our personal information isn’t protected just because someone tells us it is. We’ve researched some hidden settings that you may not know about that will ensure your information is kept a secret, even if you’re not uploading it to the world wide web.

Remove Your Saved Passwords

Remove your saved passwords from sites you don’t trust. In your web browser, click the three dots in the top right corner, then click settings. In Chrome, scroll down to the bottom and click on Advanced; in Edge, click View Advanced Settings. From there you can clearing browsing data and manage passwords. You might even see websites you didn’t even know had your information. Here, you can also remove the Auto-Fill option from your browser.

Stop Web-Tracking

It’s something everyone gets annoyed with but very few try and stop. If you’re not interested in your phone or computer tracking your searches and then gearing future advertisements to those searches, you can turn it off. On your iPhone, click settings and Safari, then Prevent Cross-Site Tracking. You can clear your history and website data, and block pop-ups while you’re there. Google has made it a little more difficult to turn these personalized ads off. Go into settings and find your Google settings (it may be called something else) then click Ads then Opt out of Ads Personalization.

Do You Need Cortana and Siri?

Have you had your iPhone for a year and still have never used Siri? Do you still have the default desktop background on your PC let alone used Cortana effectively? You can actually turn them off or change what they can actually “listen” to while you’re on your devices.  

For Cortana, click the Windows Start button, click the Cortana search bar, then the notebook then settings. From there you will see the different modes and settings you can change to limit what information Cortana can find. You can also click Manage what Cortana knows about me in the cloud from the settings as well - this is where you can delete your search history, saved places, etc.

You can turn Siri off by going to settings  and Siri & Search then turn off Listen for “Hey Siri”. This is that sometimes annoying setting that can listen to your every conversation for the odd time you say her name (and accidently thinking she hears it during your important business meeting). If you want to turn even more of Siri off, turn off Suggestions in Search  and Suggestions in Look up, but keep in mind that these settings are meant to help you when you’re looking up information and Apple promises that none of the information sent to them will be linked directly back to you. You may notice you miss some of those settings - so you can always easily turn them back on.

Funnily enough, I’ve turned off Siri on my iPhone but am still addicted to my Amazon Alexa. Where does tracking for ad purposes cross the line? Have you ever felt like your devices are using too much of your personal information to track your searches?

Extra Tip: Incognito Mode does NOT protect Your Privacy

So many people, including some Spark members, thought for quite a long time that, when in Incognito Mode, the websites we visit will no longer be able to track our information and what we’re doing. Wrong. “When you launch the Incognito tab there’s this disclaimer there where we really try to help make it really clear to people that your activity is certainly still visible to the websites you visit and could be visible to your employer, to your school your, and to your ISP [internet service provider],” says Google’s Vice President of Chrome, Darin Fisher, in an article on Thrillist. When you think if what you’re searching might get in the hands of the people whom you don’t want to see it, wait until you’re on a different network.

 

Kimberley Falk - Multimedia Writer

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