Let's face it, we're all giving up some of our privacy in the 21st century. As much as you may value your privacy, your personal information is in the hands of computer makers, websites, corporations, politicians, government agencies, hackers and who knows who else? While the internet has made all of our lives better, the one downside is that it seems everyone is collecting information about you and sharing it with everyone else. The good news is that you can significantly limit the amount of private information they collect, whether you're using a laptop, smartphone, or fitness tracker. Often that starts with the information you allow them to collect when you're first setting up these devices. Take a moment, and really read through each step in the setup before check-marking anything. It's easy to mindlessly click through a setup, but that's when companies like Microsoft are asking for you permission to collect private information. It's easier to protect your privacy by restricting what a company can collect than going back and trying to reclaim your privacy.
Microsoft has taken steps to give you more control over your privacy, but it still collects loads of information about you. It's not the only company to do this, but it's one of the worst offenders. Here's how you can control your privacy.---Click on the start button>>Settings>>Privacy. Give yourself some time to thoroughly review your Windows 10 privacy settings. Click on each tab, and review your privacy options to see which ones are turned on and which ones are turned off.
Apple, just like Microsoft and other companies, tracks you- a lot, but you have control over the privacy. Here's what to do---Click on Apple Menu>>System Preference>>Security & Privacy. Choose the information like Location that you allow Apple to collect.
Note: If you're using an iPad, go to Settings>>Privacy>>click on categories like Location Services on the right-hand side>>turn them off.
If you're using one of the 2 billion (or so) smartphones running on Google's Android operating system, you know that Google collects a ton of information about you. They do that, as other companies do, to make it easier to provide you with personalized information. That could be a Google Map giving you directions to your doctor's office or telling you what time your local library closes. Those are good things, but come at a cost. You're almost always being tracked. Here's how to limit what private information Android collects about you. Click on Apps>>Settings>>Privacy & Safety. You can change your settings for location, and control which information that apps tracks. Note: Many companies manufacture Android smartphones, so your steps may very from the instructions above.
Click on Settings>>Privacy. Take a moment to review settings for Location Services, Calendars, Photos, and more.
Fitness Tracker Privacy
Fitness trackers are designed to help you improve your health. They can track calories you burn up while exercising and the number of hours you sleep. They can also tell you where you are, meaning your location. That's what fitness trackers do, they track you, but fortunately, you can put a limit on how much they know about you. There are many fitness tracker manufacturers and apps, so you need to check yours for privacy settings, but follow these steps for Fitbits:
Click on Profile>>choose your account>>Personal Stats>>Settings>>Privacy. You can control some of your privacy from here, like who sees your workout stats.
Kim Komando. Avoid Being Tracked on your Laptop, Phone, and Fitness Tracker. February 4th, 2018. Kevin Downey. WestStar Multimedia Entertainment, Inc. Avoidbeingtracked