A Community Devoted to the Preservation and Practice of Celestial Navigation and Other Methods of Traditional Wayfinding
From: John Clements
Date: 2020 Sep 26, 13:01 -0700
Ah! The tin-foil hat conversation! Finally a topic where I can contribute something to the august company I find myself in on this list.
As Frank points, out, the threats to your privacy are varied and widespread. There are, however, a few things you can do to lower your profile a bit, and limit the information that companies gather about you.
First and foremost, I would recommend making at least a passing attempt to avoid putting Google 100% in the driver's seat. It's true that they're generally speaking a reputable company that provides trustworthy products, but it's also true that their business model is squarely based on selling your information, albeit indirectly. A few easy things you can do to limit Google's view of your life:
1) Use a browser such as Firefox. I'm a biased party here, because I spent a few months working for Mozilla about 10 years ago, but I will tell you that Firefox is fast, modern, and *not* owned by Google. By using Firefox, you help to keep the internet an open and fair platform. Also, since Firefox doesn't make their money from advertising, their privacy defaults lean toward protecting your information, rather than toward making you a more profitable target for advertising.
2) Set your default search engine to something other than Google. I use Duck Duck Go, but frankly anything other than Google is probably a win.
3) Set your Google preferences to restrict the use of your gathered information in generating targeted advertising.
Beyond this, there are some steps that you can take to prevent the use of fingerprinting; In Firefox, for instance, setting your Browser Privacy to Custom allows you to block known fingerprinting extensions. It's certainly true that more sophisticated and targeted attacks could circumvent this blocking, but if you're being targeted by a state actor... well, I recommend just giving up.
Anyhow, back to navigation...