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How Consumers Can Protect Their Online Privacy Right Now  XML
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Joined: 03/06/2017 09:46:10
Messages: 5

There's nothing more disconcerting than having the pair of shoes you once considered buying stalking you around the web, popping up in advertisements while you read the morning news, browse Facebook or send an email.

Nothing, it seems, is truly private online, whether it's your shopping history, the medical conditions you Google or hobbies that interest you.

Online marketers have cashed in, identifying ways to direct advertisements to consumers, pinpointing their locations, interests and insecurities. For some internet users, it can be a struggle to view all that advertising without succumbing to impulse shopping and other bad financial behaviors.

"It's like window-shopping 24 hours a day, but window-shopping that is targeted specifically to you," says Paul Stephens, director of policy and advocacy for Privacy Rights Clearinghouse, a San Diego-based nonprofit that advocates for consumers' privacy rights. "The stores that you're window-shopping in know everything about you."

With Congress recently overturning online privacy protections limiting what internet service providers, such as AT&T, Comcast and Verizon, can do with your online information, consumers may need to adopt a do-it-yourself attitude when it comes to protecting personal data, including browsing habits, location data and financial information.

If a lack of online privacy makes you want to grab your computer, head to the woods and set it on fire, don't despair. You can take some simple measures to somewhat protect your privacy by tweaking things like your search engine, browser settings and social media habits. Experts do warn, however, that you are unlikely to ever be able to totally hide your online footprint. (And, unfortunately, for those who want to secure information from internet service providers, who will now find it easier to sell user data, per the recent Congressional action, privacy options are even tougher to implement.) Here's what to know.

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Think beyond the desktop.
Know that it'll be a pain.

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