My Results: Anonymity & Tracking
Manage Your Profiles
If an app or site asks for your personal information, weigh the benefits before giving it.
- Ask yourself: Do they really need this information to provide the service? What permissions are they asking for and do they really need access to that information?
- Don't fill in non-required fields.
- You may be able to give false information in the required fields if it's not necessary to the service you're getting. However, you should check the provider's terms of service first to make sure they do not require that your personal information be correct. Don't give false information to banks, government agencies, and other highly regulated services, as it may be illegal.
- Watch these short videos to see how much information we give away without thinking.
Limit Data Collection and Tracking
Limit tracking by reviewing your web browser's or your phone's privacy settings for how long it saves cookies from the sites you visit. In browsers, privacy settings can generally be accessed via the "Preferences" or "Options" menus. (Note that these settings change back to the default when you install an update to the browser.
- To reduce the chances you can be tracked from session to session, set your web browsers on all your devices to clear any cookies when you close the browser.
- Guide for Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Internet Explorer, and Opera: How to Clear Your Cache on Any Browser
- To find instructions for other browsers/devices (or newer versions), do a search on 'automatically clear cookies' and the name of the browser or device.
For frequent online tasks, there are some sites and services that specifically don't track your activities.
Secure Your Communication Channels
Cell phones, computers, and other devices are important to our lives, but they can also be used by others to track where we are. If you believe someone is harassing, stalking, or abusing you, it's important to make sure you take the steps needed to ensure your devices are not being monitored.
- Spyware can make it easy for perpetrators to stalk, track, monitor, and/or harass victims. Learn how to protect yourself from spyware:
- National Network to End Domestic Violence's Resource for Learning How to Improve the Safety and Security of Your Devices: Technology Safety & Privacy: A Toolkit for Survivors
- Develop your cell phone safety plan to protect against tracking:
- National Network to End Domestic Violence's Tips for Cell Phone and Location Safety: Cell Phone & Location Safety Strategies
Resources to Learn More About the Topic
How You Can Be Identified Online
Online Tracking Methods
- Explanation of How Cookies Work: What Is a Cookie?
- Test Whether Your Web Browser Setup Is Unique (with Explanatory Article): Panopticlick
- Article About How Much Privacy Incognito Mode Provides: How Private Browsing Works and Why It Doesn't Offer Complete Privacy
Online Tracking and Online Advertising
- Video About Online (and Offline) Tracking: Hot on Your Trail: Privacy, Your Data, and Who Has Access to It
- Extensive Article About Tracking and Behavioral Advertising: I'm Being Followed: How Google—and 104 Other Companies—Are Tracking Me on the Web