People have been debating online privacy for a very long time. This field is broad and complicated, with loads of rules which restrict the way that data can be managed, but most people don’t really understand the mark they leave online. To give you an idea of what the web knows about you, this post will be exploring some of the different areas and tools which are responsible for holding your information, along with providing you with some tips to keep yourself safe.
Online adverts are one of the most shocking examples of personal data being used to help a business. When ads change to things you’ve looked at recently, it can be easy to assume that private information is being accessed, but all of this work happens locally. Rather than businesses being given access to your search history, an advertising platform is given hints towards the searches you’ve made, and will build the adverts they show you around this. This is one of the least intrusive forms of personal data access on the web, making it a shame that so many people are worried about it.
On the other side of the coin, most people are perfectly happy to use tools like social media to post about their lives, assuming that these sites are safe. Unfortunately, though, as history has shown time and time again, companies like Facebook have a very loose grasp on your personal data, and it can easily be leaked. You don’t need it to be leaked if you’re posting it publicly, though, as people can access content like this without even having a Facebook account. This sort of concern can be overcome by being careful on social media.
The Deep Web
If you’ve spent a lot of time on the internet, you’ve probably heard about the deep web or dark web. While these names sound scary, they cover sites which aren’t addressable using DNS, and can’t be picked up by normal search engines. There are loads of perfectly reputable deep web sites, and even more which are doing absolutely nothing. Unfortunately, though, there are also plenty of databases which are filled with passwords and other personal details.
There are websites which let you scan the deep web for instances of your personal details. You won’t be able to have these details deleted, but you will be able to change passwords, bank accounts, and anything else which might be compromised. When data is found like this, it is usually for sale, and this means that it could only be a matter of time until someone uses the details they have saved for you to do something bad with them.
It’s easy to find yourself sharing information with companies online, with ecommerce transactions demanding this sort of data. While you should be able to trust large businesses, though, it’s always worth being careful, as data leaks can impact companies of any size, and the big players are often targeted the most. When you make an order on a website which unlikely to use in the future, it makes sense to delete the details they have saved for you. This will limit the chances that you will be involved with a leak, while also making it easier to keep track of who knows what about you.
Tying It All Together
As mentioned in the beginning of this post, personal data privacy has long been the subject of public debate. People don’t like their information being spread around the web, but this fragmented approach can have some serious benefits. If you’re applying for a job, for example, your prospective employees could use a service like Checkr.com to get an idea of your background. This would make the process of getting the job much faster, while also giving the employer a true insight into your strengths as an employee.
Personal data is something which people are always going to struggle with. As one problem is solved, more pop up, with the advances in technology keeping lawmakers on the edge, and public awareness growing far beyond what it used to be. This is good for normal people, as it means that their data is kept at the forefront of discussion. Unfortunately, though, it also means that things are going to change, and people all over the world are going to have to choose exactly how they want their data to be used. If you don’t want your information to be spread around the web, you should avoid putting it there in the first place.