Hackernoon logoWhy Privacy Matters And How To Stop Online Harassment by@Turner

Why Privacy Matters And How To Stop Online Harassment

Matthew Hacker Noon profile picture


All the actions people perform on the Internet is a mass give-away. The content you post on Instagram, your e-shopping patterns, and search history is a precious data set – it transforms into a commodity. The frankest questions we ask is not to our friends, but Google!

Even when you don't mention or transfer any data but watching a movie on Netflix, you produce precise insights that are later scooped up by companies. Fraudsters, law institutions, corporations have free access to your identity; oftentimes, it harms even physical security.

While digital intruders amass the database day by day, some people don't understand why privacy matters, what information is handled, and how it is utilised. This article aims to reveal the online harassment Internet users
suffer every day unconsciously and provide you with options to enhance online safety. Let's dig into the details!

Privacy matters: how and who gather private data?

Let's get acquainted with companies you should be aware of or data hunters.

#1 Data brokers

Regularly, people are uninformed that such companies exist, but they proliferate successfully.

For example, FastPeopleSearch – is a people search online service, but there are a lot more of them. The process of revealing personal information on an individual is called doxing. By entering the name, you will discover an accurate data set on anybody.

What kind of details do they monitor and sell?

  • Name
  • Email
  • Address
  • Phone number
  • Academic background

Some services charge a fee; others provide the information for free.

Is it dangerous?
Look at the grounds – any stranger can ascertain your location easily by typing your name on the search bar. You are not notified, and this knowledge leads to harm in real life.

Moreover, black hats, cyber criminals, and corporations gain more power to pester with annoying ads and increase their influence. They obtain as much information as they need for a campaign or hacking.

Due to the competition, they update their databases by stealing from their rivals. This means that the data set starts from one source and ends up on others getting more available for masses and criminals.

The result is – hacking, money and identity theft, irritating marketing calls, and mailing.

The issue is that even after you remove accounts from social media platforms, getting these companies to delete you from their database is often impossible. Some individuals spend money to get removed on their behalf.

Good news – we will uncover further how to protect from them.


#2 Search Engines

Google and its analogues are the chief services than steal and employ the data you input. A search engine by design is inoffensive, but it acts intrusive when empowered by your device, fancy tech, and privacy settings. What data do they handle?

  • what information do users search;
  • where they search it from;
  • the interaction with search results.

The truth is you can only quit searching to stop the data collection – there is no other way. On the one hand, analysis improves the search results since it's based on the engagement. Your location and behaviour patterns
facilitate the whole process, make it more relevant.

The reverse of that is the more data they gather; the higher is the risk of getting hacked. It is hard to believe, but even Google is not bulletproof when we speak about data leakage.

People who strive to protect their right to web privacy don't stop googling. They use VPNs (in more detail below), never sign up to an internal account attached to a search engine; some of them switch to private search engines. Also, you can install ad-blockers that prevent tracking to some

To get precise insights on the best online privacy tools, read
this article.

#3 - Social Networks

Fantastic fact – people donate gigantic data masses on their own will when using social media. Nevertheless, social networking sites pose challenges
when it comes to keeping online safety.

They monetize every interaction (likes, shares, clicks), creating a high addiction, and more targeted ads. Every time users indicate their name, location, family status, and record every single event; companies obtain a
precise understanding of who you are.

The principal challenge is that users don't read the terms of use when registering and downloading an app. They have no idea that social media have access to their voice calls, camera roll, device settings, and location.
Those who are not blind, accept the rules just because they want to stay connected. This behaviour legislates global espionage.

Remember that every social media post contributes to adds and corporations' expansion. Check Facebook's annual revenue growth to assure.

Social webs make it simple for criminals to manipulate with little likelihood of being found. No one can be certain of who is watching what they post. For example, in the US, law agencies can legally request a digital database on an individual in many cases.

The most obvious solution is to quit using social media platforms and communicate via an encrypted instant messenger. But if you can't live without it, read the Terms of Service to make a wise decision.

#4 – Artificial intelligence researchers

Private data is also used by AI to train their automated mechanisms. Billions of media files, texts, that people upload on FB, Instagram, TikTok, and YouTube contribute to machine learning algorithms. Robots learn to
recognise what the photo depicts to indicate whether it violates policy rules or not. Are you proud that a picture of your cat or selfie makes robots more intelligent? That's the positive side of data sharing.

Now you understand how the data is amassed and analysed and why privacy makes sense. If your goal is to escape the inter connectivity, use the following rules as a blueprint!


What to do to stay safe online?

These simple steps will help you to start your online life afresh!

#1 Remove sensitive info from data brokers

There is a high chance that search people platforms already recorded you address and transmitted it globally. It can take time to recognise what sites
obtain the data and delete it.

There are online tools that allow you to scan major platforms at once and auto request to remove your info. The whole process takes up to several weeks to approve requests. The delay occurs since a lot of people do this
every minute.

This step will be the beginning for those you want to burn out their digital footprints forever.

#2 Install a VPN

Running a VPN is an excellent method to ascertain your data isn't taken advantage of by sided companies.

A VPN will hide your actions online since you will be accessing the Internet via a private network. Activities are confidential because they will originate from another server. Moreover, a VPN encrypts the info you transfer online, while usually, the data you send is easy to track.

There are VPNs for a computer as well as for mobile. Some of them are free; others may charge up to 10$ monthly. Make your choice, and set up a suitable version!

# 3 Adjust privacy settings

This is a simple way to keep safety sound, but people often neglect it.

Make use of the privacy settings on any platform you interact with other people and upload content. The significant points to take into account are who can see your posts, who can text you, who can view your profile. These basic settings are integrated almost into every site.

The more restricted your profile is, the fewer intrusions you experience.

This rule is a golden middle to keep in touch with people who matter to you and not attract shady personalities. Be picky when approving friends' requests, exclude bots and fake accounts!

# 4 Don't share more than necessary

A lot of the harm that users do to their safety is self-inflicted. They willingly provide the global network with sensitive data on blogs, comments, social

Now you're conscious of the possible downsides of sharing too much online so that you'll be unlikely to do it.

That is what you shouldn't share to stay safe:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Job
  • Contact info
  • Family records
  • Medical data
  • Study background
  • Financial data

The listed items are most regularly used to steal a digital identity or hacking.

# 5 Maintain your device

This step is probably the least appealing on the list though it's essential.

Having a virus or outmoded software likely endangers internet privacy.

Several viruses and software permit sided parties to observe what you do on your device. Viruses not only break your web safety but your physical privacy.

There's malware (scamming programs) that monitor what keys you press on various pages. That is how hackers steal passwords and payment details. What to do?

  • scan your device for viruses and put the antivirus to work right now;
  • delete the programs you don't use anymore to diminish the danger of obsolete software, giving a backdoor into your computer.

The bottom line

We hope you assume and agree now that privacy matters. Apps and websites, you are comfortable with, use the data legally, from your permission. Retiring your public persona is possible if following simple steps we uncovered previously. Keep your data and private life in safety!


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