Stop Your Tech from Stalking You

stop your tech from stalking you

Unless you’re a reality television star, you probably don't like the idea of being watched at all times. So, why would you want your technology to know all about you? With digital technology today, it’s far too easy for our devices to turn creepy. Here are some suggestions to stop the stalker-like tendencies of the technology you rely upon.

Today’s marketing and online communications are all about customization and personalization. If you like a friend’s picture of an Art Deco door in Belgium, you see many more posts featuring similar designs. Or if you view an area rug on a website, you’re suddenly bombarded with ads for rug stores when you next go online.

This can add convenience, but it is also unsettling. What companies online know about you could be more detailed than what your friends know. Take the following steps to regain control of what your computer, phone, and apps know about you.

Review your privacy settings

Whether going online from a phone, laptop, desktop, or tablet, get to know the device’s privacy settings. Some important settings to review include:

  • email tracking – this can let people know if you opened their message or not;

  • location tracking – personalizes recommendations but also tells search engines where you are;

  • voice recordings – manufacturers use these to train virtual assistants, but pause this to keep your conversations to yourself;

  • purchase history – this helps feed the machine so that businesses know how to target you in the future.

Opt out or block ads

Opting out of ads limits the information collected from your browser or device. The site or business still receives basic information about you, but you will no longer receive targeted, interest-based ads any longer. Apple’s iOS 14 allows app blocking, and you can also express your choice on Android devices.

Otherwise, use browser ad blockers, such as AdBlock Plus, or JavaScript blockers, such Ghostery, to limit ad tracking. Also known as content blockers, these software programs prevent ads from showing on websites you visit. You can find ad blockers for Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari, and Internet Explorer.

Check your permissions

Watch the permissions you give apps. We have already talked about checking device settings, but you can also limit the permissions you give to apps. For example, social media accounts have privacy settings that allow you to control what's logged about you.