The Doe is an anonymous news website that provides quality, verified truthful news completely anonymously. They understand the importance of anonymity online and see it as a huge positive. Here they go through how you can keep your online activity secret.
Keep Social Websites From Tracking Your Online Activity
Based on our actions – from the searches we make and people we follow constantly to the things we like – social sites have definitely collected a lot of information on users over the years. However, even after users logging off their accounts, social sites such as LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook have been known to continue following the actions of their users. Clicking on the social media share buttons, including Twitter share buttons and Facebook like buttons, is one of the ways this happens. Such information may still be sent to the site simply because you visited a webpage that has these buttons even if you did not use them; as such, you may continue receiving ads from the advertiser’s site because you made a visit but didn’t make a purchase.
Advertisers track the number of sales or click received using a conversion pixel, which is simply a tracker alternative when using Facebook – a social media site operating its own unique mobile advertising network. Whether the advertiser’s site had a Facebook button or not, the information collected through the conversion pixel is sent back to Facebook.
How to keep social media sites from tracking your online activity:
To choose whether the advertisements are based on you clicking in and out of Facebook, go to Facebook Settings > Adverts.
Go to Settings > Security and Privacy and remove the check in the Tailor ads box to choose how ads are targeted on Twitter.
Go to Privacy and Settings click on Account and then click on Manage Advertising Preferences to set your ad targeting preferences on LinkedIn.
(We also have a comprehensive guide on privacy settings on Facebook as well; check it out for more information.)
While your activity will continue to be tracked for security purposes, you will not see any ads based on your browsing history in each of the above cases. (Your presence at some sites will not be logged by some websites, such as Twitter after you enable the Do Not Track setting included in the privacy settings of your browser.)
Social media is a place for people to voice their opinions on things that matter to them. The problem is that without verification and anonymity it is an environment that has the potential to become hostile. Anonymity is not only important to protect identities and data but also can be beneficial for free speech. The Doe allows the publication of things that matter in an honest, verified and anonymous way.
Disable Tracking Options
Some of the pieces of content contained in some sites on the internet, such as sponsored links, comment boxes and ads, have tracking cookies embedded into them. Various advertising networks, made up of numerous advertisers collecting data on the sites you visit within specific ad networks, are responsible for the placement of these cookies. To enable advertisers to target ads founded on your supposed browsing habits and preferences, the data collected above is used to come up with a user profile that is distributed among the members of a given advertising network.
How to opt-out of internet tracking:
Enable the Do Not Track settings on the privacy settings in your browser.
Head over to the DAA (Digital Advertising Alliance) and NAI (Network Advertising Initiative) websites and opt-out of tracking; any advertisers who are members of these organizations will ease up on any data collection relating to your internet browsing activity.
Some of the big ad networks, such as Acxiom and BlueKai also allow you to opt-out of tracking directly.
You will no longer see any targeted ads after taking the above steps.
Use Anti-Tracker Plugins
Dozens of websites may not follow your do not track requests even though a good number of sites will. To stop such cookies from logging your internet activity turn to the use of anti-tracker browser plugins.
How to block all trackers:
To keep ad networks and analytics organizations from building a profile of your internet activity simply download anti-tracking plugins, such as Disconnect, Ghostery or Privacy Badger by Electronic Frontier Foundation.
Keep Unused Plugins and Java Disabled
Designed to improve the performance of your browser, by playing specific animations or video formats among others, plug-ins are simply small programs that can be easily downloaded. Plug-ins are not the same as browser Extensions – web pages designed to load information in other web pages-. Sadly though, when it comes to the sharing of your browser information, two of the most popularly used plug-ins, Java and Adobe Flash, take most of the blame.
A fingerprint of your browser – made up of unique identifying information such as downloaded fonts and IP address among others – is shared with websites by Java in particular.
How to disable Unused Plug-ins:
It is advisable for you to disable any plug-ins that are rarely used especially considering the fact that plug-ins are also one of the common ways through which malware finds its way into browsers. The latest browsers are designed to run all the interactive media/content on most websites without the need for the Java plug-ins that were required in the past.
If you are using Chrome, go to Settings then click on Privacy and Security and then Site Settings to locate the Java and Flash plug-ins. Disable both to achieve the best outcome. You can even add any frequently visited sites that use Java or Flash plug-ins in the Allow section to ensure that they run whenever necessary.
Under Settings, go to Add-ons > Plug-ins if you are using Firefox. To activate plug-ins you can set the browser to ask for permission, keep them activated at all times (always) or never.
To activate or deactivate each plug-in separately, Safari users should go to Preferences and then click on Security and then Plug-in Settings.
While Microsoft Edge does not support Java plug-ins, to turn off Flash plug-ins just open the Advanced section under Settings.
ScriptNo and NoScript, designed for Chrome and Firefox respectively, are script-blocking extensions that enable you to use websites that display messages requiring you to use Java or Flash plug-ins. In addition to making it possible for you to create a list of sites that you trust and need plug-ins to browse, these extensions also disable all Java and Flash automatically.
Take Advantage of Proxy Networks
When it comes to preventing ad networks from putting together a detailed profile based on your internet activity, all of the above-described alternatives are highly effective in helping you avoid tracking cookies. However, your browser’s IP address can still be used to identify you. The frequency at which you visit specific websites, as well as your general location, can be identified using your IP address.
To make it seem like you are browsing the internet from a different location altogether, a VPN (Virtual Private Network) gives you a new IP address and hides your real one giving you an additional layer of anonymity online. Other people, like your boss, for instance, will be prevented from tracking your internet activity as you get a new IP address every time you log on to the internet via the VPN.
To access foreign websites from a country in which they are banned, such as social media sites like FaceBook in China, for instance, most users take advantage of VPNs to hide their IP addresses and make it seem like they are accessing such sites from another country. However, any computer in the United States using a VPN can be legally hacked by the FBI.
How to use Proxy Networks:
Take the time to find the right VPN. VPNs differ in terms of ease of use and speed; more importantly, some are better at keeping you anonymous than others. NordVPN is our recommended option based on what we saw during our own in-house testing and recommendations from independent analysts, like PC mag.
It is, however, worth mentioning that if you are using a VPN some online services, such as Netflix, will deny you access. Fortunately, you can get around this by following our tips on how to use Netflix via a VPN.
As an added bonus, if you regularly use public WiFi networks to access the internet, using a VPN can help you secure your data.
Use Private Anonymous Browsers Instead Of Traditional Browsers
Your web browsing experience can quickly turn into a tedious activity if you need to activate private browsing, use proxies, manage plug-ins, etc. every time you go online. You can enjoy all the above anonymous browsing features and the convenience of activating a private network by simply clicking on a switch built into the toolbar of the browser, by simply replacing your regular browser with an entirely new one.
On top of preventing the logging of any browsing and search history and blocking trackers at all times, Epic browser – which resembles Chrome – also blocks third-party cookies automatically thanks to its enhanced privacy settings. Even though ads will still appear on your screen, all tracking will be blocked; furthermore, the number of trackers that tried to monitor your browsing activity will be displayed on the browser’s homepage on a daily basis.
How to use Private Anonymous Browsers:
Simply download Epic browser and use it whenever you want to browse the internet. You can then download a password extension that saves your passwords, as they can no longer be saved in the sign-in forms of different accounts; to automatically fill out web forms with data you had entered before – note that others sharing your computer can see this information – just enable the auto-fill option. With these simple steps, your browsing experience will continue to be as convenient as before.
Use TOR For Utmost Anonymity
As the most effective browser when it comes to ensuring anonymous browsing, TOR uses a network of nodes or servers to mask your internet activity. To maintain your privacy online, any website you visit only sees the IP address of the node in use. However, you should be prepared to experience a slight dip in the speed at which you browse the internet when using TOR, even though tracking your activity becomes virtually impossible. You can use a VPN together with TOR for utmost anonymity. Visiting sites in the Deep Web, inaccessible to traditional browsers, and any other sort of secure or private internet browsing activity can be done using TOR. This browser is the only way into the Deep Web, which is home to whistleblower websites, even though it also harbors those dealing in unlawful goods or activities.