Privacy is definitely a big issue lately. People are starting to realize how much information they really put out there, and it can be scary. The thing is, most people also don’t really care enough to do anything about it and trying to attain significant levels of privacy is just a huge pain (TOR, VPN, whatever.) That’s why I’ll just list three incredibly quick and painless ways to help stay a bit more private online.
Block Third Party Cookies
Third party cookies are used to track a user across multiple sites. They really don’t serve too much of a purpose except for tracking.
Wrench -> Settings -> Show Advanced Settings -> Content Settings -> Block Third Party Cookie and Site Data
Edit -> Preferences -> Privacy -> Set “Firefox Will” to “Custom Settings” and uncheck “Accept Third Party Cookies”
Install Adblock Plus With Privacy Filter:
Adblock Plus is available for Chrome and Firefox. It includes Do Not Track and can make use of privacy specific filters.
Then go to: http://adversity.uk.to/ and install the “Antisocial” list.
Use Private Browsing/ Incognito Mode
This may seem obvious to some but many people aren’t aware that there are “private browsing” modes provided by their browsers.
These private sessions won’t store any information on your computer about what sites you’re visiting and is useful for ensuring that your session stays private to anyone else who has access to the computer.
Chrome: Control + Shift + N
Firefox: Control + Shift + P
These are just three very simple steps to help you maintain privacy while you browse. They aren’t “perfect” and there are still issues to be worried about but for the average user I think the above information will suffice.
So Why Aren’t Third Party Cookies and Ads Blocked By Default?
I think people need to understand that by blocking ads and tracking you are fighting the one thing that keeps the internet alive. Websites are run by ads. The world, really, is run by ads but that’s a bit out of scope.
The point is that if you’re on a website you like go ahead and whitelist it with Adblock Plus. Maybe you’ll see an ad you like and they’ll get a bit of cash so that they can continue to providing you with that site.