Hidden trackers invade your browser

As long as your phone is on, it is sharing data. This happens whether you have an iPhone or Android, but one company is tracking a lot more than the other. Tap or click here to see if Apple or Google collect more data.

I bet your home address, phone number, and even more personal information is available to anyone, often for free. I value my privacy, so my team and I have created a great resource to help you. Tap or click here for steps to remove yourself from 19 of the top people search sites.

Advertisers are known for watching what you do and where you go online. That is valuable information and very profitable. Here’s a way to stop some of the spying.

The bad kind of cookies

Think of cookies as the trail you leave behind when you are online. A first party cookie is created and stored in your browser when you visit a website. It keeps things like your login information and shopping cart, so you don’t have to fill them in every time. First party cookies also retain options and settings.

That’s useful, but cookies can also be invasive. Companies use cookies to track where you go and what you do online. They will even do it on a website other than the one you are visiting. Advertisers love cookies because they help personalize the ads you see. If the ads appeal to you, you are more likely to click on them, leading to a higher ROI.

Pro tip: You can block third-party cookies and other invasive tools through your browser. The level of protection varies, but it’s worth changing the default settings. Tap or click here for tips on changing your privacy settings in some of the most popular browsers.

Blocking cookies and third-party tracking is one thing, but how about not being subject to tracking methods in the first place? That’s where AdChoices and WebChoices come in.

Remove tracking cookies from your browser

AdChoices is a program of the Digital Advertising Alliance (DAA), a group of advertising and marketing companies that self-regulate to provide you with targeted advertising choices. Why would they self-regulate? So no one else steps in to do it, of course.

Give it a try the next time you see an ad online. Look for the small AdChoices icon. It looks like a blue triangle with a lowercase “i” in the middle.

Click that to get information about the ad, change your settings, and block it. Not all advertisers participate in the program, but you’ll know when you see the symbol.

Go further: Remove this hidden secret ID on your phone that reveals your personal data

Within AdChoices there is a tool called WebChoices. You can use this tool to unsubscribe from many companies in one step. As with AdChoices, it only works for companies that participate in the program.

Get this: I used it to kick out 144 different tracking cookies!

Here’s how to use WebChoices:

  • Go to https://optout.aboutads.info. WebChoices will scan your browser and computer to find out if first-party and third-party cookies are enabled, along with a list of companies that create targeted ads for you. You’ll also see companies you’ve already opted out of if you’ve used the tool.
  • After the health check is complete, click Continue.
  • look at Personalization of ads in your browser column to see which companies use targeted ads. if it says YesYou can opt out of that company by checking the box below the Opt out column.
  • Or you can select all by clicking Opt out of all.
  • After making your selection, click Submit your options. (You can skip those steps by clicking Opt out of all as a first step).
  • The website will process your selection and you will click See updated results to see how I am.

The WebChoices tool works for the browser you’re currently using, so run it for each if you use more than one browser. If you didn’t detect all companies the first time, try running the scan again.

If you delete cookies, you may not see opt-out options for the company, so run the scan from time to time.

Keep your tech savvy on the go

My popular podcast is called “Kim Komando Today”. That’s a solid 30 minutes of tech news, tips, and tech callers like you from across the country. Look for it wherever you get your podcasts. For your convenience, click the link below to watch a recent episode.

In this episode, Google updates Photos with redesigned Memories and a new collage editor, uses your photos for a virtual clothing fitting at Walmart, Keurig’s new smart coffee maker makes an incredible amount of coffee, and how to get your real signature on digital documents. . Also, a rescue helicopter nearly abandoned a stranded man by mistaking his distress call.

Check out my “Kim Komando Today” podcast on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast player.

Listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just look up my last name, “Komando.”

What questions about the digital lifestyle do you have? Call Kim’s national radio show and tap or click here to find it on her local radio station. You can listen or watch The Kim Komando Show on your phone, tablet, TV or computer. Or tap or click here to watch Kim’s free podcasts.

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