How to Ensure Online Privacy Against Ad Trackers
Last updated: November 18th, 2020
With the many significant advantages of the internet comes some major cons and disadvantages. One of them is online privacy. Everyone wants a look into your activities online, including cybercriminals, government, and many other unwanted entities. Lack of online privacy puts your information at risk of many dangers.
Surfing the internet unprotected predisposes you to malware, violation of privacy, lack of anonymity, hackers, loss of sensitive information, tracking your online activities, identity theft, spam, and a host of others. Many activities online have become related and interlinked, and thus, it becomes easy for many tracking companies to trace you and your online activities and use it to their advantage. This is what many advertising companies are known for.
They use their ad tracking software, such as cookies, tracking URLs, tracking pixels to collect your data, and then reviewing the effects the ads have on the public. In this guide, you will find ways to ensure that your data is kept private from such trackers and other threats to your online privacy.
Why Am I Being Tracked with Target Ads?
Ad tracking is one of the most effective ways through which advertisers find out what internet users like or dislike. When they track your activities, they provide you with personalized content based on your preferences. Your web activities and habits are used to provide you with services that align with your identified interests. Information such as your browser’s structure, current location or IP address, and even your preferred language can be acquired through ad trackers.
Tracking technology like web cookies collect information about your browsing activities, then marketers and advertisers gather these data to give you your personalized or target ads. This is of great benefit to marketers and companies looking to push their products and services. Not only do their ads become incessant and obtrusive, but they also have access to your info no holds barred. Thankfully, there is a way to gain control over what information these trackers can access or even block them out totally. Find out how below.
How to Block out Ad Trackers for Online Privacy
Here are the most effective ways to ensure that your online privacy is secure from ad trackers.
- Go incognito: Many browsers nowadays offer the Incognito or Private Browsing mode. When in this mode, your browser ignores “cookies,” which prevents you from being tracked by target ads.
- Enable “Do Not Track” on your browser: Some browsers, if not all, have a feature called “Do Not Track.” This feature ensures that websites you visit don’t collect your browsing data.
- Periodically clear your cookies or Google Ad History to prevent excessive clutter of target ads.
- Install an ad blocker: Make the most of the adblocker extensions that many companies offer that help to guard against ad tracking.
- Use a VPN: Of all the above methods, a Virtual Private Network (VPN) is the most effective and reliable adblocker. VPNs pass your internet activities through private encrypted tunnels, which enhance your anonymity and privacy online. Additionally, your VPN provider hides your IP address, keeping you protected from trackers and prying eyes. Using a VPN is very useful when you’re connected to a public Wi-Fi like at a library, airport, coffee shop, etc.
Best VPNs for Privacy Against Ad Trackers
Of the several VPN companies concerned with providing privacy against ad trackers and other malware, we have selected the top VPN services for you to choose from.
This is our top recommended VPN. While other VPN providers claim they offer complete anonymity but, in fact, track their users’ activities, ExpressVPN never keeps logs of your online data. They mask your IP address while you are conducting any business online, thereby keeping you hidden from trackers. Third parties like your Internet Service Provider, the government, and advertisers would have no access to your internet traffic with ExpressVPN.
ExpressVPN features military-grade encryption, making it even more difficult for a violation of your privacy. Their kill switch ensures you are still protected even when your connection drops. They have apps compatible with most operating systems, so your devices are covered.
NordVPN is a running mate to ExpressVPN. This provider guarantees that all your internet data are kept securely behind a wall of next-generation encryption, which is impossible to bypass. They operate a no-logs policy where they do not track, collect, or share your private data. In addition to this, you can protect as many as 6 devices simultaneously with NordVPN.
NordVPN offers you a dedicated and personalized IP address that is different from your actual address. They also provide a DNS leak protection feature. Are you concerned about sacrificing speed for security? With NordVPN, you can get both!
SurfShark offers multiple high-end security features to protect users from the public eye, and unnecessary tracking companies and ISPs. For instance, SurfShark provides the highest encryption available, the 256-bit encryption. The DNS leak protection that SurfShark provides prevents your browser’s security flaws by passing your DNS requests through your VPN and not your ISP.
Additional features like an automatic kill switch, a double VPN, and a camouflage mode add an extra layer of security while you browse. Here’s a little bonus on SurfShark: it is one of the cheapest VPNs in the market.
Are VPNs Legal?
Yes! VPNs are legal. They were originally created to provide secure networks for big companies and organizations. However, some have abused the functions of a VPN, so VPNs are banned in countries like Russia, Iraq, UAE, China, and a few other countries.
When we compare the percentage of countries that do not allow VPNs to the more significant percentage that does, we are convinced that VPNs are indeed legal. Although, this could vary from country to country.
Infringement of privacy by intrusive tracking companies and having their pesky ads violate your privacy can be very annoying. You can regain control of your privacy by getting rid of these internet “stalkers.” You may adopt any of the methods mentioned above, but more importantly, seal your protection with a reliable VPN service from our recommendations above.