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The intrusion of user privacy by big tech firms and how to stay anonymous

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The frequency and nature of the recent data breaches of big tech firms and the potential exposure of user information suggest a huge violation of user privacy by these big firms. Normally, the privacy policy of these sites especially the big social media firms like Facebook ought to protect every user information from intruders but recent events have shown that some of these firms sale/share user data with third-party. The Facebook data breach as a result of their Cambridge Analytica deal is a typical example of this user privacy violation. It was alleged that Facebook gave the company some 270,000 user information for the survey during the US Presidential election of 2016. However, investigations revealed that Cambridge Analytica was able to collect more user data from Facebook. The scoop is that the company used data of about 50 million Facebook users in a bid to influence the outcome of the election. Although this caused a lot of backlash from users all over the world, they have been no real outcome from the authorities on the issue.

Most users are ignorant of how harmful it could be if their information gets into the wrong hands. They give out vital details of their lives to some of these tech firms without recourse and fall victim of all potential violations. Think of all the unwanted emails and promotions from unknown sources, the web is littered with scammers who capitalize on any opportunity to scam people. Most of all the identity theft and credit card scams are as a result of the theft of user information from these big firms. We are not saying all these to scare you but to let you know of the potential harm from the intrusion of user privacy.

Data Protection

Apple’s CEO Tim Cook in a recent address at the 40th International Conference of Data Protection and Privacy Commissioners at the European Parliament in Brussels expressed his concern on the indiscriminate collection of user data by tech firms. He explained that; the current unchecked order where some big tech firms can intrude into people’s lives by way of accessing their private details must be curtailed. This persistent user privacy violation is a potential time bomb when you think about the possible after effect. Time and time again we’ve witnessed the harm that can arise from technology as shown through incitement of violence by some groups on social media.

EU and the US have come up with stricter privacy laws through the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). This law will stipulate that the tech firms must give users more control over what happens to their personal data. It also allows regulators to fine violating companies up to 4% of their global revenue. This has already yielded good results as seen by the recent update in user privacy policy by many top firms. They are now trying to carry users along on what they do with user details. However, this is not enough, users on their part still have a lot to do to ensure the security of the data on the web.

Methods to help secure your personal data on Facebook and other Social Media Platforms

The harsh truth remains that there’s no foolproof technique to guarantee the security of your data on all social media platforms. However, here are some simple steps you can take to add an extra layer of security to your accounts;

· Be very mindful of the information you share: before you share or post anything on Facebook or any other social media platforms think of the possible outcomes. Remember that it is possible for a data breach to occur at those places. Therefore, share with care!

· Avoid unnecessary apps: ensure you keep a clean bill of apps. Give out your info to apps from verified publishers only and any app that is not absolutely necessary to you should not have your info!

· Secure your devices: use secure and strong passwords for your social media accounts. Remember, birthdays are not a great password option. Long phrases are recommended and are easy to remember too.

· Make use of the two-factor verification option: most big tech firms like Facebook and Google now provide users with this option. The two-factor verification process allows you to use a text code or fingerprint after the password to enter your account. This ensures a better level of safety.

How to Surf Anonymously Online

Surfing the web anonymously is also a great method of staying out of prying eyes. Here are some techniques to use when you need to ensure untraceable web browsing;

· Use of strong VPN: VPNs are a great tool for web anonymity. It provides you with the security mechanism to securely send and receive data over the web. With VPN, you’ll prevent others from seeing what you’re doing especially if you’re using a public Wi-Fi network.

· Proxy Servers: If you need to hide your IP address and other important browsing info from intruders then proxy servers are absolutely important to you. Proxy servers’ work by making it hard for the remote server to detect your browser info instead it’ll only see that of the proxy. Here are some of our recommended proxy servers; FreeProxy, Squid, Nginx, Java Anon Proxy etc.

Confidential Data

· Use of browser incognito mode: all top browsers like Chrome come with an inbuilt incognito mode. This ensures none of your browser info like history, cookies etc. are saved while surfing.

Conclusion

In summary, we all should be wary of just how much data we give out on the internet. Regulators have seen the potential harm being done by the big tech firms as regards the intrusion of user data and have put up some mechanisms to mitigate it. We have all seen the harm that can be done through the internet including identity theft and credit card scams. Safeguarding your data and web space is very important and must be taken seriously. We’ve tried to put you through some vital steps which will help you ensure the protection of your data and stay anonymous on the internet.

In a nutshell, you’re never invulnerable! Using a VPN or other methods does not 100% guarantee your protection on the web. To ensure better anonymity and security of your web space, you must continuously ensure you keep an open eye knowing that you’re always potentially vulnerable.

Nowadays, companies get rich easily by exploiting user data for their personal gain even without consent. It is a world of big data and it lacks proper regulations. The importance of data in this age and time demands for better protection and laws.

 

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