THE PROBLEM - HARVESTING EVERYTHING ABOUT YOU (AND WHAT YOU DO)
Sir Tim Berners-Lee invented the World Wide Web in 1989. He
is the Director of the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C), a
Web standards organization founded in 1994 which develops
interoperable technologies (specifications, guidelines,
software, and tools) to lead the Web to its full potential.
Quoting Tim Berners-Lee in 2017, "selling private citizens'
browsing data is disgusting". We have become the product and
not the customer. We are being stalked. There are dossiers
on each of us--name, contact information, spending habits,
income level, mortgages, and a whole lot more.
Major harvestors of information include: Google, Facebook,
Amazon, and the NSA. Most of that harvesting takes place by
Fifteen (15) Ways Google Collects Your Private Info and Data
How Does Google Analytics Collect Information?
Four (4) ways Google is destroying privacy and collecting
This class will help you regain some privacy and anonymity
when using the internet.
USE A VIRTUAL PRIVATE NETWORK (VPN)
A VPN secures your device's internet connection to guarantee
that all data you are sending and receiving is encrypted and
secure from prying eyes, even from your ISP. Iowa State
requires its students to use a VPN. Couple of excellent VPN
services: ExpressVPN, NordVPN. VPN Reviews from Top10VPN.
USE PUBLIC DNS SERVICE OPTIONS
A public Domain Name Server (DNS) is a name server that may
be used in place of, or in addition to, name servers
provided by a public (or your local) Internet Service
Provider (ISP). Public name servers offer reliability,
security, speed and privacy. Several services now support
secure DNS lookup transport services such as DNS over TLS
and DNS over HTTPS.
WHAT IS A BROWSER?
A web browser (commonly referred to as a browser) is a
software application for accessing information on the World
Wide Web. Each individual web page, image, and video is
identified by a distinct URL, enabling browsers to retrieve
and display them on the user's computer or mobile device.
Examples of popular web browsers include Firefox, Safari,
Chrome, Internet Explorer, and Edge.
USE A SECURE DEFAULT SEARCH ENGINE FOR YOUR BROWSER
Switching to a more secure, privacy focused search engine is
another way to maintain better privacy while browsing the
web. Most of the popular search engines rely on selling
users advertisements to make money. Search engines like
Startpage, and DuckDuckGo are funded by donations and search
related advertising, not by harvesting and selling your
DuckDuckGo does not track you
Use Google without being tracked
INCREASING PRIVACY ON ANY BROWSER
The easiest change to make is to start using private
browser windows. When using a private browser window your
browser will not save your browsing history and it prevents
websites from tracking you.
How to Always Start Any Browser in Private Browsing Mode
Turn Private Browsing on or off on your iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch
If browsing privately is not an option, some of the tracking
can be mitigated by disabling cookies. Cookies are little
pieces of data that most websites use to store information
on your browsing activity. Simply go into the browsers
settings to modify the level of security you would like with
regard to cookies. This can range from allowing them
everywhere, disabling them completely, or somewhere in the
HOW TO BLOCK COOKIES (EXCEPT FOR SITES YOU USE) IN ANY BROWSER
A cookie is simply a small file that a web site places on
your computer to store information. The process itself is
totally benign, and can even be helpful-cookies do useful
things like store your shopping cart information between
sessions, save you from the hassle of logging into a site
every time you open and close your browser, and other
helpful time savers. The ones that give cookies a bad name
track users without their explicit knowledge and help
advertisers (or other entities) build profiles of users.
Many people want to limit the amount of information that is
gathered about them, and do so by limiting the kind of
cookies that their browser accepts and retains.
DELETE (often) HISTORY AND WEBSITE DATA (INCLUDING COOKIES)
Removing cookies and more. Wipe your computer of your
browsing history, cookies, and other detritus. It won't
solve the problem on its own, but it is almost essential to
clear away the tools people can use to track you.
ADBLOCK PLUS (works on all computers and mobile devices)
Block ads that interrupt your browsing experience. Say
goodbye to video ads, pop-ups, flashing banners and more.
Blocking these annoyances means pages load faster.
With Adblock Plus avoiding tracking and malware is easy.
Blocking intrusive ads reduces the risk of "malvertising"
infections. Blocking tracking stops companies following your
GHOSTERY (versions for all platforms)
Ghostery helps you browse smarter by giving you control over
ads and tracking technologies to speed up page loads,
eliminate clutter, and protect your data.
Ghostery Lite is a result of Safari's security and privacy
updates to create a product that not only elevates Safari
users privacy, but also increase page load speed. We built
Ghostery Lite through collaboration with some of our most
dedicated users on Safari who asked for a redesigned
DISCONNECT (versions for all platforms)
Today, there are thousands of companies that track people’s
online activity and capture their personal information. But
there's a huge disconnect between how people's data is being
used, sold, or shared, and what they actually may want.
Disconnect is founded on a basic principle: that people
should have the freedom to move about the Internet - and
their lives - without anyone else looking over their
PRIVACY BADGER (from the Electronic Frontier Foundation)
Privacy Badger is a browser add-on that stops advertisers
and other third-party trackers from secretly tracking where
you go and what pages you look at on the web. If an
advertiser seems to be tracking you across multiple websites
without your permission, Privacy Badger automatically blocks
that advertiser from loading any more content in your
browser. To the advertiser, it's like you suddenly
Tor BROSWSER (versions for all platforms)
The Tor software protects you by bouncing your
communications around a distributed network of relays run by
volunteers all around the world: it prevents somebody
watching your Internet connection from learning what sites
you visit, it prevents the sites you visit from learning
your physical location, and it lets you access sites which
Tor Browser lets you use Tor on Microsoft Windows, Apple
macOS, or GNU/Linux without needing to install any software.
It can run off a USB flash drive, comes with a
pre-configured web browser to protect your anonymity, and is
EFF -- Is your browser safe against tracking?
Web Browser Cookie Forensics
Example of your instructor blocking trackers
HOW TO BROWSE THE WEB ANONYMOUSLY
From turning on your browser's incognito mode, to
downloading a plugin to erase your tracks, here are some
tips on surfing the web without leaving (too much of) a
IT'S TIME TO OWN YOUR EMAIL
US-CERT TIPS - PRIVACY
GETTING HACKED (11+ min)
BECOMING ANONYMOUS: THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO MAXIMUM SECURITY ONLINE (24 min)
HOME COMPUTER SECURITY
BEST SECURITY PRACTICES
APPLE'S APPROACH TO PRIVACY
Tim Berners-Lee launches campaign to save the web from abuse