Some might say the internet was built on anonymity, paving the way for a place where free speech reigns supreme. But after years of learning about who’s snooping into everything we do online, privacy on the web is hardly a given.
It’s not just about government spying; it’s also about how much data big companies such as Amazon, Google, Facebook, and Microsoft have collected in order to serve up targeted ads—not to mention how much of your personal data gets scooped up in all the breaches and hacks.
There are always going to be good reasons for people to go online without being tracked. For one, anonymity may be the only way for a real whistleblower to reveal corruption, considering how some have been treated. But there’s nothing wrong with wanting to stay anonymous, no matter what you’re doing.
Is it even possible to take control of your own personal privacy online? Ultimately, the only way to stay truly anonymous online is…not to go online at all. That’s not a real option for most of us, though. Here’s a rundown of what you can do to minimize spying, targeted ads, and ID theft as you explore the online world.