Remember that Hansel and Gretel fairy tale? The story goes that the little boy would lay a trail of white pebbles or breadcrumbs so that he and his sister may find their way back home and avoid getting lost in the woods.
Now, what does this fairy tale has to do with user data privacy, you may ask? Well, it has everything to do. Browsing the Internet and visiting various websites is pretty much similar to leaving breadcrumbs behind.
Of course, there are two minor differences: one, you unintentionally create that trail and two, obviously, you won’t use it to return to the respective websites. Instead, it’s the other way around — tech companies use the trail that you leave in your wake to reach you.
As you surf the Internet, you leave an enormous trail of data for tech companies and advertisers to take advantage of. For example, if you use the ‘website hosting’ search query, next time you open a new tab in your browser, you’ll see a website hosting service ad.
Internet trackers identified your need and served you an ad that answers that particular need. Serving the right ad increases the chances that users will eventually purchase a web hosting plan.
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But what do users think about these practices?
It is clear that these strategies primarily serve companies. What is even more annoying than receiving personalized ads is getting emails from companies you never interacted with.
Consent is crucial in such matters. Internet users are tired of seeing their personal information used by third-parties without their consent.
As a result, many developers allied with the consumers and created dedicated software solutions to block trackers and other tools that collect user data.
The data privacy war is still waging on but this time it seems that users are about to win. There are many privacy friendly solutions that you can use to keep your private information private.
Here are just a few of them:
- Best Privacy Protection Software for Windows 10
- Top 13 laptop privacy software to use in 2018
- Top 5 VPN for Edge browser to protect your privacy in 2018
- These are the best Chrome extensions to protect your privacy in 2018
- Download ScriptSafe for Chrome for better web privacy
- Use Duckduckgo and CyberGhost to avoid tracking on the Internet
Tech giants are also involved in this debate and they’ve taken users’ side. Microsoft will use blockchain on its digital ID platform for increased privacy, Google Chrome will have a built-in adblocker, Firefox 59 limits the amount of data that websites can pass on you, and so on.
Even hardware manufacturers have joined the ranks. For example, Huawei’s Matebook X Pro features a pop-up camera for enhanced privacy.
So, the trend is obvious – user privacy infringements will no longer be tolerated.
As a result, data privacy transparency and user data protection are the two key elements that will make users trust or mistrust companies. In other words, companies need to respect users’ privacy rights, otherwise the later won’t become their customers.
For more information about user privacy, check out the posts listed below:
- DuckDuckGo founder answers user questions about online privacy
- Here’s what the latest tests reveal about IoT privacy flaws
- Data Privacy Advisor is making complex data privacy law easier to grasp
- In the age of no privacy, scam VPN services are on the loose