If you look at legal landscape of privacy you'll find that there is a significant misunderstanding of what privacy is and confusion of privacy with anonymity. Most privacy laws cover your personal information while do not protect tidbits of information about what you were doing online. Simple example streaming providers recommend movies based on what you watched or opened, that information might tell a lot about your interests/hobbies and won't be protected by laws on the books.

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If you are using Android phone then you could have noticed recent update from Google which allowed you to "personalize your ad experience" and those settings apparently were on by default. So you have to actually do work to opt out. Here is how you can turn it off: Settings->Security&Privacy->More privacy settings->Ads->Ad privacy. It will take you to the screen in picture, go ahead and turn off all of these settings and definitely delete your advertising ID.

TIP: Never store passwords on your mobile, or for that matter use built in password manager which does not have additional master password. Imagine situation when your phone gets stolen, and thief already learned your pin code by shoulder surfing. Their next move is to change your AppleID password and from there they'll have access to every single piece of information connected to your AppleID. Use stand alone 3-rd party password managers.

There is huge difference between privacy and anonymity: Privacy is when people know who you are, but they can't see what you are doing. In case of anonymity all of your actions are in open, but people don't know who you are. Thus when you are using VPN provider you need to know what you are trying to protect from by choosing VPN connection, is it your privacy or anonymity?

How good is 2FA if vendor uses it for advertising purposes. Twitter was fined by FTC and here is the story ftc.gov/business-guidance/blog but how can you trust other vendors that they would not use your PII for purposes other than 2FA. Best way is to avoid vendors who want PII for 2FA authentication, and use apps that generate time based code.

VPN is a tool to establish secure communication channel between parties and does not guarantee your privacy. Metadata is a king when it comes to privacy, for example let's say you shared some file online (image, video or anything else). Now some 3-rd party can connect dots using file size, time stamp of that post and other publicly available info as long as it's possible to single out IP that transmitted that amount at that time. Internet remembers everything.

TIP: Delete advertisement ID from your smartphone: AdID for Android and IDFA for Apple. You can find related settings under Privacy section of your respective smartphone's Settings app. Delete such ID, Opt Out, Disable personalization, words might be different based on version of your OS, but apply what is available to you.

TIP: Review your phone weekly and uninstall any software that is currently not in use. Typically software asks for many permissions and you'd have to grant those if you'd like to use service, however once you done with occasional services, like Uber, Airbnb and so on, uninstall software to prevent it from invading your privacy until next time.

TIP: Any internet request starts with DNS and you might be profiled by DNS server provider, so choose your wisely! Get it under your control: replace default DNS service from your ISP and try avoiding companies that supply other services to you. Better run it yourself.

TIP: Divide and conquer or more business friendly separation of duties is very applicable to privacy, if you are using particular mobile phone vendor, just do not use web browser that was made by a same company. If you are using some web service(like free email) try to use tools(browsers, mobile devices) made by a different company to access that service. Less connection particular corporate entity could make off of your data harder for them to profile you.

TIP: For better privacy use a search provider that doesn't personalize your internet searches, and potentially doesn't track search criteria. For example DuckDuckGo declares in their FAQ that they do not track user search criteria and thus can't filter out items based on previous searches and they don't have access to any other cloud data that can be used for the same purpose.


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