Notwithstanding what Cambridge Analytica have revealed, we hardly know how and where our data is stored online, leave aside how to protect it. While some may argue in favor of deleting Facebook, it is not feasible since many of us do use Facebook as a way to connect with old friends or collect information prior to taking a tour. But does this mean that your data will remain unprotected forever? Certainly not, though it may involve use of technology and tools to fulfill the purpose. Meanwhile, you may try to take the following steps.
- Audit your Facebook apps: In the event of your using Facebook to sign in any third-party website or app, there is a likelihood of these services continuing to access your personal data. However, here is what you need to do. Go to the settings page (on Facebook) and click on the Apps tab to check apps that are connected to your account. Following this, take a closer look at the permissions you gave to each app to view the information you were sharing. Now, remove apps you may think are suspicious or no longer in use.
On the App Settings page there is another setting called Apps Others Use. This is where you choose which details are shared about you when your friends use apps. Make sure to uncheck all the boxes if you did not want any of your information, like your birthday or hometown, accessed by your friends’ apps.
- Audit your Facebook Privacy Settings: If you are worried about the details apps are likely to see about you and your Facebook friends, here is a chance to verify your privacy settings as also curtail the information that you share with others. You can also make sure that your friends only can see your Facebook posts or you alone can view your friends list.
- Clear your browsing data periodically/routinely: Remember, you are free to clear your cookies and browsing history whenever you intend to do so. Google, Apple and Microsoft have already posted instructions on how to clear data for browsers such as Safari, Chrome and Internet Explorer. However, this may temporarily delete cookies and trackers, but they may reappear again unless you do the exercise regularly.
- Do not entertain unknown brands: No matter how convincing are the privacy policies, you need to take them with a pinch of salt. In the case of the this is your digital life app, the fine print says that information would be collected for academic use, not commercial, little defining what it actually means. So think twice before sharing information with unfamiliar companies or organizations.
Incidentally, every time you travel within the country or overseas, an analogous map will show your route in dotted red lines on Google Maps. It may sound great but it also means that Google has your location and you have agreed to share it. Likewise, every time you turn on your phone, your location is tracked. You can see this data on https:// www.google.com/mapsimeline
Postscript: Regardless of wherever your data is stored, none can ensure its absolute protection. In the case of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg may like to share an update on the Cambridge Analytica situation – including the steps they have already taken, while admitting that they have a ‘responsibility’ to protect your data, and if they can’t then they do not deserve to serve you, the end result is catastrophic .