Ideally, protecting your privacy shouldn’t require hours of time or gobs of money. Instead of having to meticulously manage all the personal data that’s floating around on the internet, you should be able to minimize data collection automatically or proactively. If you value privacy like I do, you’ll want to cheque out the following apps and tools. While some take premium versions for certain features, all of them are free to utilise:
Cease mobile trackers with Lockdown
Jared Newman / IDG
Tech giants like Google and Facebook aren’t the but ones trying to collect data about you. Many other apps also collect details about your phone, your usage patterns, and possibly your location, and then send it off to analytics firms and advertisers.
Lockdown is a free and simple utility for iOS and Mac that prevents apps from connecting with these data trackers. I’ve had information technology on my iPhone since January and in that time it’s blocked more than 1 million tracking attempts in a completely unobtrusive way. Until sitting downward to write this newsletter, I’d forgotten that I’d set it upwardly already.
Keep in heed that Lockdown is not a VPN, so it’southward non routing any of your internet traffic through its own servers to mask your location, merely I retrieve that’s mostly a positive since it doesn’t interfere with connectivity. If yous do want a VPN service, however, Lockdown sells it equally an add-on subscription. (One other note: The app tin hinder your ability to log into Facebook Messenger or WhatsApp, but turning it off while logging in seems to solve the problem.)
For Android users, DuckDuckGo’southward App Tracking Protection characteristic is in private beta testing now and provides similar blocking against third-political party trackers. To bring together the waitlist, download the Android app, and so head to Settings > App Tracking Protection.
For marketers that want to track your online beliefs, your email address is the ultimate prize. One time you log into a website or app, that site tin utilise tracking cookies to follow you effectually and associate the data with your electronic mail. And, for less scrupulous marketers, opting out of their emails can be a major hassle.
Abine Mistiness protects your inbox by letting y’all set up masked email addresses such as firstname.lastname@example.org, which will forward any messages to your actual email. The sender never learns your true address and you can turn off or delete addresses through Abine’s website to cut off communications. Abine even offers a browser extension that can generate masked emails directly inside of sign-up forms.
Abine Blur isn’t the but tool of its kind. Apple tree offers a “Hide My Email” for users with paid iCloud+ subscriptions and DuckDuckGo offers masked emails through its mobile apps and browser extensions. But I like that Abine Blur works across platforms and doesn’t require changing your default search engine.
The only take hold of is that yous must disable some elements of Abine’s browser extension if yous don’t desire to use its countersign manager and other assorted services. To do that, click the browser extension icon, head to Settings > Settings for All Sites, and so turn off everything except “Mask my email.”
Opt out of tracking cookies with Super Agent
Jared Newman / IDG
If you’re tired of seeing those annoying “accept cookies” prompts while browsing the web, a browser extension chosen Super Agent is the best solution I’ve seen yet for making them go away. While other extensions simply hibernate the pop-ups in a way that tin intermission some websites, Super Agent automatically fills out and dismisses cookie consent forms on your behalf.
When you outset install the extension, you make up one’s mind which tracking cookies to permit or deny and Super Agent quietly fills out those preferences on each website you visit. The extension’south icon shows a little light-green indicator when it’southward successfully dealt with a popular-up and by clicking the extension icon and the gear button within, you can see a tape of all the clicks you’ve saved.
Super Agent works with every major desktop browser and is also available as a Safari extension on iOS. The developers make coin by selling code to websites that want to integrate with the extension and promise never to sell your data.
Protect your phone number with Google Voice
Jared Newman / IDG
Next fourth dimension a concern asks for your phone number and you’re non comfy giving it out, consider handing out a number from Google Vox instead. When you sign up for Google Voice, yous merits a phone number from an expanse lawmaking of your choosing. Incoming phone calls volition and then forward to your real number and you lot can check text messages through the Google Voice website or mobile app.
Why is this amend than handing out your bodily number? For ane thing, you can avoid getting pestered with unwanted text messages since yous’ll have to proactively check them on your own. And for phone calls, Google Vocalisation offers built-in spam filtering (available through Settings > Security), call screening, and exercise not disturb hours. If all else fails, you lot can also switch to a different phone number to cut off previous contacts. Consider information technology as your secondary spam number for whatsoever businesses or other entities y’all don’t fully trust.
Like to how Google Voice tin can mask your real phone number, Privacy.com lets you utilise virtual credit cards for online stores and subscription services. You can so put spending limits on each virtual card or even designate them equally single-apply cards, preventing untrustworthy vendors from running off with the card info.
This isn’t only form of payment protection, though. Information technology’southward also a privacy tool that prevents credit card companies from tracking and selling your shopping habits. Combine this with a masked phone number and email address and vendors volition accept a much tougher time mining that data. (Check out my colleague Ian Paul’south review for more details.)
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