Internet Browsing Privacy in 2021: Here’s What You Should Know
Our internet use says a lot about all of us. From doing our jobs to embracing our hobbies, we now rely on the web for more than ever. And that’s why your internet browsing privacy is so important.
From checking email and social profiles to Googling, well, everything, internet consumption is at an all-time high.
And while desktop internet use is declining, mobile internet consumption has skyrocketed. Currently, we spend almost two and a half hours each day browsing the internet on our phones.
With this in mind, should we be concerned about our internet browsing privacy?
Read on to find out.
Internet browsing privacy: no longer someone else’s problem
For years, you would have been forgiven for believing internet privacy was someone else’s problem.
But in 2021, internet browsing privacy is something that affects all of us.
And internet privacy starts with your web browser. Different browsers offer different in-browser privacy settings.
As such, it’s important to choose one aligning with your internet browsing privacy goals.
Who should be concerned about internet browsing privacy?
While internet browsing privacy is a minor concern for some, it’s absolutely vital for others. Those threatened by stalkers or abusers, for example, often place incredible value on privacy and information protection – many times because their very safety depends on it.
And to some degree, this includes internet browsing privacy, essential to shielding info from view and stopping predators in their tracks.
Browsing privacy is also a concern of many parents, particularly those responsible for young children.
And while the risk of physical harm due to a lack of privacy may be somewhat low, there are a number of other serious threats facing all of us.
Among those threats? Fraud and blackmail.
The chance of falling victim to fraud due to lax internet privacy has never been higher. Hackers and criminals have more opportunities than ever to exploit privacy loopholes and use your information against you.
The same is true of internet browsing privacy and blackmail. By minimizing your digital footprint and protecting your internet browsing privacy, you eliminate much of the risk of becoming a victim.
Three steps to better internet browsing privacy
Step 1: Use a secure web browser
Either choose a browser focused on security, such as Tor, or pick an option noted for its robust privacy settings.
Remember: this applies not only to desktops but also to browsers you use on mobile devices.
Step 2: Make the most of your browser’s security settings
More mainstream browser options like Google Chrome may need a little tweaking to maximize privacy.
Look for the ‘do not track’ settings. Then, choose to opt-out of third-party advertiser cookies, and disable anything tied to behavioral monitoring.
Step 3: Delete your web browser history after using shared devices
After using a shared device, it’s always a good idea to delete your browser history.
This prevents the next user from accessing any online accounts you logged into. That may include anything from Facebook to Amazon, where sensitive credit card info may be exposed.
Deleting your browser history also helps minimize your risk of fraud or blackmail.
Whenever using a shared or public device, do so in the browser’s private or incognito mode. This eliminates the need to delete anything once you log out. And, there’s no chance of forgetting.
Other internet browsing privacy considerations
Aside from, say, the risk of fraud or blackmail, there are several other internet browsing privacy considerations to keep in mind.
Whether online or not, we’re all entitled to our privacy.
How much do you want to share?
First, ask yourself: Would you share what you earn with your friends and family? How about your political leanings? Or even your sexual preferences?
For some, this isn’t a concern. But for others, having this information out there could be extremely damaging.
With a sensible degree of internet browsing privacy, you can better protect this and other types of information.
Is your online presence secure?
More often than not, your next concern centers on online security. Remember to use only safe, secure networks when going online. This reduces not only the risk of compromising your internet browsing activity, but exposing your devices to the public.
What’s more: almost all internet-enabled devices are vulnerable to malicious threats like ransomware and spyware.
Protect yourself with up-to-date antivirus tools. And, be sure to connect exclusively to trusted networks.
Is your info being monetized?
A final consideration is info monetization. This concerns your right not to be monetized by large corporations or spied upon by local agencies.
By taking steps to prevent this sort of monetization via your browsing choices and behavior, you’re also largely removing yourself from the prospect of becoming subject to mass government surveillance.
According to the email service, ProtonMail, more than 20 million users have opted out of needlessly allowing themselves to be monetized and subject to mass surveillance.
That’s certainly food for thought.
Frequently asked questions about internet browsing privacy
Is private browsing mode really private?
For the most part, yes. It protects you from unnecessary snooping of your browsing history. It also stops you from leaving any tracks on a computer or other device.
But what it cannot do is stop other applications from monitoring you. If that’s a concern, you need to dig into those applications’ privacy settings.
How do I keep my internet browsing private?
The easiest way to do this is to simply enable your web browser’s relevant ‘private’ mode. Most browsers now offer this. And while it’s not a perfect solution, it works for the vast majority of web users.
For those seeking even more internet browsing privacy, look into using a virtual private network or VPN.
What’s the best web browser to use for privacy?
Brave is considered by many to be the best browser for overall privacy. For customizable privacy, try Firefox, while the best browser for maximum security is often considered to be Tor.
Also worthy of mention are Internet Explorer’s replacement, Microsoft Edge, and Apple’s browser, Safari. Both have made leaps in terms of privacy and security.
Can someone see my internet history if I use their wireless network?
If the owner of the wireless network in question is so inclined to look, then yes, in effect, they can. Wireless routers keep logs, so should its owner or network administrator check, they’ll be able to see what websites you’ve opened.
A more nefarious network administrator may also be able to use what’s known as a packet sniffer to intercept your private data. For this reason especially, it’s crucial, as already mentioned above, only ever to use networks that you trust.
Can wireless network owners see what sites I visited even in private browsing mode?
Again, yes. Private browsing modes only prevent snooping on your device, not the network.
Once more, another reason to remember to use only networks that you know for certain can be trusted.
What Are the Next Steps?
Periodically review all aspects of your internet browsing behavior and be sure to tailor your privacy measures accordingly.
Still concerned about internet browsing privacy and want to protect your online reputation? Don’t worry, because help is at hand.
InternetPrivacy.com provides world-class online reputation and privacy solutions to protect internet users and rid the web of negative information. Internet Privacy is now used by both individuals and businesses around the world to help safeguard against many of the growing number of threats posed by the internet.
In a world of show and tell, InternetPrivacy.com values privacy at its core. Your privacy and reputation are two of your most valuable assets, and at InternetPrivacy.com , we make sure that they’re both handled with care.
For a free, no-obligation analysis of your current online reputation and internet privacy, contact our expert team today.