Businesses tend to collect and capture consumer data in an effort to provide a better experience or find new customers. Many of these businesses will package this information together and sell it to marketing companies. Consumers often don’t know how to opt out of this kind of activity and, thus, wind up oversharing information. This week, we want to highlight these issues and address how you can keep your personal data from being collected without your consent.
When you sign up for a new social media service or account, or even if you’re doing it with a mobile device, many of these services and devices are programmed by default to share information with the developer or provider. This is why it’s really important to understand what information you’re sharing—especially if it’s not intentional. Let’s look at some of the most popular services out there and how you can protect your privacy.
The iPhone is the most popular smartphone out there, and with Apple dipping into streaming services with AppleTV+, there are other services connected to your account that require personal information to be used. You can manage your privacy through your iPhone, and it all starts with paying attention. When you get a new device, register a new app, or sign into a new account, pay attention to what information you are providing permissions to access; you often have the ability to turn these settings off, preventing a lot of privacy issues in the process.
There are other ways you can manage your privacy with an iPhone, too. You should be able to toggle options that allow apps to request to track you, build personalized ads, use your device analytics system to send data to Apple, and so on. By default, these options are enabled, so you need to turn them off yourself if you want to preserve privacy.
Google is responsible for a lot of the services used by both businesses and individuals, especially for users of Android devices. They have built the Android operating system, as well as frequently used services like Search, Maps, and even YouTube. It’s worth taking some time to look at what you’re sharing with the tech giant and its corporate partners, as it could save you from oversharing information that you’d prefer not to.
Google does make this easy for its users, though, as settings are shared across profiles attached to your Google account. You can access and manage them with ease. Just go to your account and turn the option for auto-delete on or off for your location, web & app activity, and YouTube history after three months. The latest Android smartphones can also share approximate location rather than a precise location for use with apps, which helps a bit with your privacy.
Meta, or the parent company of Facebook, is known for taking your activity and personalizing your experience, but it comes at the cost of, well, your privacy. You can change the following options to improve your privacy by using the Privacy Checkup Tool:
Of course, there are many more sites that will disrespect your privacy and use your information in a variety of ways, but by following the basic rule of checking your privacy settings for your other accounts—including Amazon, Microsoft, etc—you can retake your privacy in at least some capacity.