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Markkula Center for Applied Ethics

How to Protect Your Online Privacy

How to Protect Your Online Privacy

How to Protect Your Online Privacy

There are many helpful, detailed "how-to" guides that aim to help you protect your privacy online. 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:

Irina Raicu is the director of the Internet Ethics program at the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics.

Photo by Judy ** under Creative Commons.

Jun 1, 2012