Internet privacy is something that we should all be concerned about.
While I make an effort to protect my privacy online by using SSL, VPNs and all that sort of stuff, it occurred to me that I may not be doing the same for viewers to this site.
While I have made sure that there wasn’t anything nasty on this site, I recently realised that some of the standard practices leave a lot to be desired.
The biggest concern for people online has been how much the big companies know about what we do online.
Installing the Brave browser and seeing how much our own privacy is at risk, I have decided to make some changes to this website.
To do my bit, and probably to my own detriment, I have decided to make a few changes to this site.
No More Google Analytics.
This was used to help me work out how many visitors I had to the site.
Using Google Analytics allows the site owner to check things like bounce rate,
The search terms that were used to find the site, how long was spent on the page and so on.
Depending on how much information you have already given Google, using Google Analytics I can find out the gender, age group and location of those who have visited the site.
For example, thanks to Google, I know that in the past 30 days:
- 67% of visitors were female
- 37% are in the 25-34 year old age group
- 15% in the 45-54 year old age group
- 36% visited the site from Australia
- 22% from the US
and so on.
What is really scary is that I know that 12% of visitors came from the Telstra network, and that 43% of visitors using a mobile did so from an Apple device.
No More Facebook Pixel
After Google Analytics, the Facebook Pixel is the most commonly used “tool” for online marketers.
The pixel allows the marketer to show you all sorts of ads in Facebook.
Depending on what page you visited on this site, you could be shown different sorts of ads.
For example, if you visited the Gazette page, though didn’t purchase, you could be shown an ad to remind you to purchase, the benefits of purchasing, etc.
Or, if you visited the site, though hadn’t “liked” the Facebook page, I could target you with ads to encourage you to do so.
Facebook knows that much about you that from a marketing perspective, it is possible to drill down an get specific with the type of person to target.
The more pages you like, the more you put on your profile, the more information that you give Facebook, the easier you make it for businesses to market to you.
Wp.com is there because this is a wordpress based site, and I use the stats option that is contained within Jetpack. (I will be keeping this to help me see which posts are being read, which ones aren’t, etc).
Sumo.com is a list building service that allows me to put popups, landing pages, and welcome mats on this site to help get more email subscribers.
Elsewhere I used Manychat.com to allow visitors to communicate with me directly in Facebook Messenger.
All of them are now gone. (There may be the odd post or page where they appear, though I will be getting to them).
So Why Now?
In much the same way that safety is everyone’s responsibility, I also believe that internet privacy is everyone’s responsibility.
This is one of the reasons that, once they became affordable, that I installed an SSL Certificate on this website. (Now that cPanel provides a free SSL Certificate, I use that, though I will be upgrading to EV SSL in the not too distant future).
As I said before, until I installed the Brave Browser, I hadn’t really paid that much attention to it.
What Can You Do?
Well that depends on how much you value your privacy online.
At a very minimum, I would suggest only visiting Facebook from the current Firefox browser. They have a “container” for Facebook which, in simple terms, doesn’t allow Facebook to tie the pixel that other sites have to your own profile. This makes it harder for you to be targeted or retargeted.
The next thing to do is make sure you use HTTPS for all the sites that you visit. (The HTTPS Upgrades you see on the image at the top of the page relate to google fonts).
Other things that you can do, is to install “private” browsers like Brave or TOR.
I would also use a VPN, though not a free one as those are simply glorified data farms.