When you browse the web with no safeguards in place, your online privacy is invaded. Search engines such as Google, websites, advertisers, ISPs and even governments aggresively track and record your what you’re up to when you browse the web, and can easily identify you.
The motivation behind this in the case of search engines or advertisers, is money: you and your data become a product to be sold in the advertising market. Data such as your browsing habits and location is very valuable to big companies. The problem is that usually, you are not included in the decision of what is being collected.
Governments can track your activities to identify security threats or for enforcing social control. The UK has one of the most digitally invasive laws ever recorded in a democratic country, the Investigatory Powers Act.
There are multiple ways of identifying you: your name and address are registered with your ISP, your smartphone is correlated with your user details.
Here is a list of tools you can use to take back control of what you share:
Privacy Badger is a browser add-on that stops advertisers and other third-party trackers from secretly tracking the websites you visit. It automatically prevents advertisers that track you across multiple web pages from loading any more content in your browser. Download it from the Privacy Badger website.
A browser that prevents whoever is watching your Internet connection from learning what sites you visit, prevents the sites you visit from learning your physical location, and lets you access sites which might otherwise be censored. You can download it from the official Tor Browser page.
Tails is a live operating system that allows you to circumvent censorship, browse anonymously whilst leaving no trace on the computer you are using it on. It can start on almost any computer from a CD, DVD or USB. Follow its installation guide on the Tails website.
“Arguing that you don’t care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don’t care about free speech because you have nothing to say”
– Edward Snowden, Ask me anything Reddit session, 2016