Santa Clara University

Your Online Privacy

How to Protect Your Online Privacy

By Irina Raicu

How To Protect Your Online PrivacyThere are many helpful, detailed "how-to" guides and products that will help you limit your data leaks: some are listed below. However, many such guides overlook 4 basic, key things that you should do to protect your online privacy:

  1. Take control of the amount of personal information that you provide online, to anyone. Provide identifying information only when it will truly benefit you in substantial ways. Every time you are asked to provide personal information, consider both the risks and the benefits.
  2. Educate others about the importance of online privacy and the various steps they can take to protect it. It's not enough not to post key information about yourself, or to adjust your privacy settings, if others are willing to post that information or to allow third parties access to it. The process of maintaining as much online privacy as possible must be a communal effort for the common good.
  3. Get informed about laws and regulations or other types of measures that impact online privacy, and advocate for the ones you support.
  4. If you believe that online privacy is important, put your money where your privacy is: let companies know that you value your privacy and that you will take your business elsewhere if they don't.

Beyond those broad steps, here are a few things you should do right away:

Use the links below for some simple tips and more detailed overviews of measures that you can take to protect yourself online (and off):

http://www.lifehacker.com.au/2014/03/how-you-leak-your-privacy-every-day-and-how-to-stop/

http://onguardonline.gov/phishing

http://facecrooks.com/Internet-Safety-Privacy/how-to-lockdown-your-facebook-account-for-maximum-privacy-and-security.html

http://netsafetyapp.org/

http://www.wikihow.com/Clear-Your-Browser's-Cookies

http://lifehacker.com/5806487/top-10-simple-privacy-tricks-everyone-should-use

http://www.pcworld.com/article/221213/keep _malware_off_your_android_phone_5_quick_tips.html?tk=rel_news

http://www.readwriteweb.com/archives/6-things-to-know-before-you-accept-another-privacy-policy.php

Irina Raicu is the Internet Ethics Program manager at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics.
June 2012

Photo by Judy ** under Creative Commons.