In this technological era when there is no shortage of hard disk space and all of your online activity can be recorded, it is a bit tricky how we can protect ourselves from systematic surveillance.
Google is that one big company that we usually trust but I started having doubts about them when I accidentally found this link that records all of my online activity.
I understand the need to store history but in the past this data is just saved on your computer or mobile device. Since synchronizing data from your mobile device to your computer and vice versa became the trend, these companies thought of this as the best excuse to record all of our internet activity.
I’m pretty sure it’s not just Google who does this but it’s a good start.
To remove your online activity from Google, go to the link above. On the top right section, click the three dots for options, click Delete Options –> Advanced –> Select Date –> All Time.
Do this for all sections on the left.
- Web & App Activity
- Voice & Audio Activity
- Location History
- YouTube Watch History
- YouTube Search History
Other safety precautions you can do on the web:
- If you’re using Google Chrome, do not sign in your Google account. This prevents Google from synchronizing your local data to your Google account.
- Do not save your passwords. Create a safer archive for your passwords like using a notepad. Do not write your passwords exactly as it is. Write clues about it that would make you remember what it is instead.
- If you have previously saved your passwords while your Google account is logged in and you want to clear it, go to this link to remove them. http://passwords.google.com/
- If you’re used to it, use Incognito or Private browsing as much as you can.
- When visiting new websites, do not register if you don’t have to. If it’s required, do not provide your full and complete details. Use initials for your name or use a totally different name that you would remember when asked.
- Always remember that everything you put on the web is being recorded, and will be retained even after “deleting” it. Be careful with what you put on the internet.
- Google your full name. You’ll be surprised what Google knows about you. If you want to remove data from the websites that show up, go individually to those websites and modify or remove your information. Once you’ve done that, you can go to this link to request Google to update or remove it from their search results. https://www.google.com/webmasters/tools/removals?hl=en
- Google your usual username and do the same as above.
- Google your family members names and other close friends and do the same as above.
- Google your phone numbers or addresses and see what comes up.
- If you like Facebook, go to Settings –> Timeline and Tagging –> View As (Public). Now think of your worst enemy. Imagine him or her spying on you. He or she would be able to see everything that appears there. To fix your posts, go back to it one at a time and change each privacy setting. For future posts, make sure to always review the privacy setting. Do not add people who aren’t your real “Friends” even if you know them. Review your friends list regularly and remove people that you don’t want to show your life to. Put them to the Restricted list if you don’t want to offend them by “unfriending” and make sure Restricted won’t see your future posts.
By doing this, we’re not really hating on Google and other websites but we’re keeping ourselves safe from other bad guys as well.
Be safe. Be vigilant.