The days of internet privacy are long gone. In the past few decades, the collective effort of modern tech companies has destroyed any chances at online anonymity. Today, visited websites track every moment of your mouse, time spent idle, and interactions with other page elements. By associating this information with your network identity, this data is often used or sold to third-party advertisers.
This is why if you purchase a product or interact with elements in an online shop, you start seeing similar, personalized ads on social media platforms, search engines, and other third-party websites that know everything about you and your connections.
However, the biggest invasion of privacy comes from online location tracking. There are a few ways businesses and their online tools learn about your location:
- GPS tracking: If you have mobile apps that have permission to find your location, you are being tracked. The most obvious examples are Google Maps and other navigation apps that know your location at all times and use it to feed information about local businesses and their advertisements.
- IP address tracking: While a simple sequence of numbers has no geo-location embedded in it, when you visit websites with your computer or a mobile phone connected via Wi-FI, the page learns about the device’s approximate location not from the transmitted data packets but by a region disclosed by your Internet Service Provider.
- A combination of both methods: If an IP address only has the information about your approximate location, why does Google Maps know your exact location, even when the device does not have a GPS module? The answer is very scary: because all modern gadgets use Google apps, the company gathers personalized information to know where you are at all times. Suppose your mobile device has GPS tracking enabled while the computer is connected to your Google account. In that case, the tech giant sees these interactions, what devices are connected to your Wi-Fi network, and shows your exact location at all times.
While stopping online tracking is impossible, it is recommended to use cybersecurity tools to stop giving up so much data willingly. In this article, we will discuss ways to prevent online tracking, what settings you should change, and how to use a different IP address for your browsing sessions. For example, you can reroute your connections through a location-specific residential proxy and hide your geo-location.
The Growing Danger of Online Tracking
Modern companies see big data as the most valuable resource because it can be used to improve business decisions and train Artificial Intelligence (AI). As modern hardware and software become more addictive, tech companies stop at nothing to get information, even if it harms the average internet user.
Tracking is increasingly used in software applications in our personal lives and work. Android apps can track a user’s location and collect potentially private, personal information – such as where you work or live – just by monitoring the internal sensors.
Ways to Prevent Online Tracking
While stopping online surveillance is out of the question, there are a few ways that let us give up far less data and stop endangering personal identity.
Tweak your settings
Use a proxy server
Proxy servers send data through an intermediary server, and this process ends up changing your IP address. With the best proxy providers by your side, you can choose an IP in any country and pretend to be a visitor from that region.
Datacenter proxies are fast addresses that run on servers in data centers. While they deliver speedy connections, and their hardware is secure, they lack association with an Internet Service Provider (ISP), which means visited websites will know that it is not your main IP address.
Residential IPs are shared with real devices, which makes them slower, but they blend perfectly with regular internet traffic. They have millions of private addresses, which are your best bet for online anonymity.
Proxy servers are mostly used on computers and laptops, but do not forget about the safety of mobile devices! With just a few steps in the settings, you can hook up your Android devices with a highly secure and anonymous network of residential proxy servers.
While IP address changes do not eliminate all access points to your private data, with such a significant piece gone, tech companies and third-party trackers have a harder time spying on your location online. Make sure to check out the top residential proxy service providers.