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How Companies Are Tracking Your Data

Businesses and others are regularly gathering information about you — whether you’re at the store, in your car or at home

How to Protect Yourself

  • Use a VPN. Virtual Private Networks are secure data “tunnels” that protect online activity from prying eyes. Search “VPN” on the web to find services; most charge a small monthly fee.
  • Change web browsers. A few, such as Tor or Epic Privacy Browser, prevent snoopers from seeing the sites you visit and stop websites from tracking you.
  • Search anonymously. Search engines such as DuckDuckGo and StartPage block ad trackers and keep your search history private.
  • Be wary when using apps. Many ask for access to your contacts, photos and other information. Decline first and see how the app runs without sharing that info.
  • Don’t share your location. “If you go for a walk that your fitness app tracked, don’t post your path on Facebook, even for bragging rights. Because then people see very clearly where you live and when you’re away,” says Ray Klump, professor of computer science and mathematics at Lewis University.