How to Remove Hidden Trackers Invading Your Browser
As long as your phone is on, it shares data. This happens whether you have an iPhone or Android, but one company tracks a lot more than the other. Tap or click here to see if Apple or Google collects more data.
I bet your home address, phone number, and even more personal information is available to everyone, often for free. I respect my privacy, which is why my team and I have put together a great resource to help you. Tap or click here for steps to opt out of 19 of the biggest people search sites.
Advertisers are known to monitor what you do and where you go online. This is valuable and very beneficial information. Here’s one way to stop some of the spying:
The wrong kind of cookies
Think of cookies as the trail you leave behind when you’re online. A first-party cookie is created and stored in your browser when you visit a website. It keeps things like your login details and shopping cart, so you don’t have to fill them in again every time. Proprietary cookies also store options and settings.
Pro tip: You can block third-party cookies and other invasive tools through your browser. The level of protection varies, but it’s worth changing your default settings. Tap or click here for advice on changing your privacy settings in some of the most popular browsers.
Blocking third-party cookies and tracking is one thing, but how about not being subject to tracking methods, for starters? This is where AdChoices and WebChoices come in.
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Ban tracking cookies from your browser
AdChoices is a program of the Digital Advertising Alliance, a group of advertising and marketing companies that self-regulate to provide you with targeted advertising choices. Why would they self-regulate? So nobody else steps in to do it, of course.
Try it the next time you see an ad online. Look for the small AdChoices icon. It looks like a blue triangle with a lowercase “i” in the middle.
Click on it to get information about the ad, change its settings and block it. Not all advertisers participate in the program, but you’ll know that when you see the symbol.
Go further: Delete that secret ID that hides on your phone and reveals your personal information
Within AdChoices is a tool called WebChoices. You can use this tool to withdraw from many companies in one step. As with AdChoices, this only works for businesses that participate in the program.
Get this: I used it to delete 144 different tracking cookies!
Here’s how to use WebChoices:
• Go to https://optout.aboutads.info. WebChoices will analyze your browser and computer to see if first-party and third-party cookies are enabled, as well as a list of companies creating targeted advertisements for you. You will also see which companies you have already deactivated if you have used the tool.
• When the status check is complete, click Continue.
• Look at him Personalization of advertisements on your browser column to see which companies are using targeted ads. If he says Yesyou can opt out of this company by checking the box under the Opt out column.
• Or you can select all by clicking on Disable all.
• After making your selection, click on Submit your choices. (You can skip these steps by clicking Disable all Firstly.)
• The website will process your selection and you will click on Show updated results to see how it went.
The WebChoices tool works for the browser you’re currently using, so run it for each if you’re using multiple browsers. If you didn’t find all companies the first time, try scanning again.
If you delete cookies, you may not see company opt-out choices, so run the scan from time to time.
Keep your technological know-how
My popular podcast is called “Kim Komando Today”. It’s a solid 30 minutes of tech news, tips, and callers with tech questions like you from across the country. Look for it wherever you get your podcasts. For your convenience, click the link below for a recent episode.
PODCAST CHOICE: GPS survival advice, digital document signing, Google Photos update
In this episode, Google updates Photos with revamped memories and a new collage editor, use your photos for a virtual clothing fitting at Walmart, Keurig’s new smart brewer makes a mind-blowing amount of coffee, and how to get your real signature on digital documents. Additionally, a rescue helicopter nearly abandoned a stranded man by mistaking his distress call.
Check out my “Kim Komando Today” podcast on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify or your favorite podcast player.
Listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just search for my last name, “Komando”.
Discover all the latest technology on the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For his daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit his website at Komando.com.
The views and opinions expressed in this column are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.