Internet and privacy. Is it possible?

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From time to time there are scandals connected with the data leak in the network. They concern both celebrities and giants responsible for the most popular services. We need to know that online privacy is really difficult. Even the advertisements we reach online are tailored to our interests. Fortunately, there is a way, and even a few, to protect our preferences and private data.

The sad reality of the Internet

Using the internet, we are constantly followed by various entities. These include creators of well-known services or social websites, e.g. Google or Facebook. These services are free, but as it happens in such cases, the support of the infrastructure needed for their IT operation is not cheap. The companies behind them are not charitable organizations. The currency they trade is user data that is later sold to third parties (e.g. advertisers) or cleverly used. These data include: lists of the most visited websites, biometrics, purchase or search history, which have been subjected to processing with certain algorithms, enable very precise determination of, for example, our interests. Then, these data are used, for example, to show us the offers of products that we were previously looking for information or for more nefarious purposes, as demonstrated by the Cambridge Analytics scandal. As a reminder – Cambridge Analytics profiled millions of people based on data obtained from Facebook. This enabled the analysis of the electorate of candidates, and then microtargeting voters with carefully tailored news, which is possible, for example, on Facebook. Cambridge Analytics and related entities supported the presidential campaign of Donald Trump and supported the option for Brexit in Great Britain.

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The first steps to protecting privacy on the web

A lot of people probably know a simple solution – use the private mode in browsers. Unfortunately, even incognito mode in Chrome does not provide privacy, as its name suggests. Also, the activation of the “do not track me” option in browsers does not always work (given websites may ignore this request). They can help, but also harm, add-ons to browsers. It is worth using eg HTTPS Everywhere, which forces, if possible, the use of encrypted HTTPS protocol, or NoScript blocking Javascript, Flash and similar scripts.

The last extension is “Disconnect” which blocks tracking scripts, including “I like this” Facebook and provides a preview of what has been blocked, for example.

If anyone expects an even higher level of privacy, there are solutions that ensure effective anonymisation of the user and encryption of transmitted data between our computer and the website. This is provided by VPNs, (virtual private networks) quite often used in corporations and banks. This solution also has a lot of advantages for a private user – it allows, for example, to hide your IP address, gives you the opportunity to bypass geo blockades (for example, if any stream of interest is available only to residents of a given country) or bypassing censorship (more and more countries have plans to create registers forbidden sites). It is also worth mentioning that VPN is very useful, for example, when using public Wi-Fi networks (they can be eavesdropped eg. Encrypting our entire traffic can protect us from slowing down the speed of internet connection, service providers use slowing rules, for example P2P network. Due to the encrypted traffic, the supplier does not know what we are doing. An example of such a service is Hola VPN, where we are a starting point for other users. For example, the WWW browser – Opera – has a built-in VPN, but it is more a proxy server than a real VPN.

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From paid solutions, we recommend NordVPN and CyberGhost, which in the case of 3-year packages are very attractively priced compared to what they offer.

NordVPN

TOR ?

It is worth mentioning, however, that traffic from the “exit node” is not encrypted by the TOR, it only depends on the user. In addition, TOR is very slow compared to even weaker VPNs and does not protect all network traffic, only the browser.

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Posted by Andre

TheGX.co has been created in love from France by me Andre. I’m programmer and website designer. My main programming languages with I’m using daily – > php, MySQL, HTML, for desktop applications I’m using Lazarus (Object Pascal). The main idea with this website is to share with you my knowledge about internet, programming etc. Maybe my main skills is not so high but I will try to write something useful for you, and I hope it will help someone. Thank you for reading this, and wish you all the best from France / Paris.