Take control of your privacy by quickly finding settings Facebook, Google and other companies bury deep in their labyrinth of options. PrivacyFix is an extension for Firefox and Chrome that points out settings you’ll want to change and also helps you stop ad networks from tracking you.
Managing your privacy online can be a hassle. PrivacyFix won’t completely solve the problem, but it makes finding key privacy settings for Facebook and Google trivial. Even more important: it’s incredibly simple to use. Just follow the step-by-step directions, deciding which privacy settings do and do not matter to you.
It’s not a perfect fix for all of your privacy woes, but it’s a good start – and a great reminder of settings that should be of concern to you.
Fire up PrivacyFix and it will scan your settings on Facebook, then immediately show you what you should probably think about changing:
Changing your settings is simple: just click the box and PrivacyFix will take you directly to the page managing that setting on Facebook. It will even point out which buttons you should click in order to solve the problem – useful, because sometimes companies go out of their way to complicate things.
Facebook, for example, begged me not to block other sites from using my account to
advertise to me show me special information.
Once you’re done with Facebook it’s time to move on to Google. I could have sworn I turned off search tracking years ago, but things like this do tend to turn back on somehow.
It’s worth pointing out that every time you click one of the boxes above you are not only taken to the exact page managing the setting in question, you’re also occasionally given a popup explaining exactly what to click in order to maximize security.
With this kind of simplicity there’s really no excuse. Other settings include blocking both Google and Facebook from tracking visits to other websites with embedded buttons. This works using a browser-based block.
Once you’re done with Facebook and Google you’ll be shown the sheer number of companies currently tracking your web browsing. I’m generally pretty cynical about Internet companies, but somehow I was shocked by this.
All of those icons represent a company or service tracking my web traffic in one way or another. Online advertisers (and a few of my respected colleagues) will argue such tracking is necessary for the viability of the web, but still: that’s an overwhelming visual argument there. I barely recognize any of these companies, but they apparently know at least part of what I’m up to.
After seeing that you can decide for yourself whether to block such companies from tracking you. PrivacyFix blocks tracking cookies at the browser level, and you can re-enable cookies you want back at any time.
Ready to try this out on your system? Head to PrivacyFix to get started. You’ll need to install an extension for Chrome or Firefox, depending on your browser of choice. Sorry, users of other browsers: you’re out of luck for now.
Maintaining your privacy online has become complicated. Services like PrivacyFix can help, but they’re not everything: you need to be mindful of your privacy online as well. Making sure your passwords are strong is another good idea, as is being careful about what information you do and don’t put online.
How do you protect your online privacy? Share your thoughts in the comments below.
Image Credit: via Shutterstock