It is estimated that the average American encounters around 1,500 privacy policies per year. Most people don’t read them, like at all.
We’re not like most people and would like to believe that when it comes to our privacy, we’re rather savvy. And while we don’t necessarily read all privacy policies, we do look for red flags that could be a dealbreaker for any service.
That’s what this article is all about – to show you those red flags you shouldn’t accept in any service. We’ll pose a few questions and explain why they matter. Let’s get started…
1. Will my data be shared with third parties?
The Facebook – Cambridge Analytica scandal from 2014 is probably the best known example of third-party data collection and where it could lead. Because of the way Facebook apps work, Cambridge Analytica was able to harvest from about 87 million unknowing users. Luckily, the social media giant changed its practices after that and now – such an exploit is not possible.
3. What type of information gets collected?
Pretty much all websites on the Internet collect some information on the site visitors. Some of that collection is related to the analytics service they may be using but there are also other types of user data they want to collect.
Without you even knowing it, a typical website will use an analytics service (like Google Analytics) to collect your IP address, location, web browser you’re using, default language, device type and so on. All these details are provided by your web browser, except if you’re using a VPN – which can trick the analytics software and present it with other data.
4. Are there options?
Remember, it’s your data and your privacy, and there is no need to give it away that easily.
5. What extra steps does the company use to protect your data?
This is optional but could be important. What you want to see is that the company providing the service you want to use is doing something tangible in order to keep your data safe and secure.
Are they employing a third-party cybersecurity firm? Perhaps they’ve done some audit of their network or an entire operation? Those are all good signs.
Ultimately, however, you don’t want just to rely on any company to keep your data safe and secure. The general rule of thumb is that you should input as little data as possible and always use a VPN to hide your digital footsteps. That way – you’ll worry less about privacy and focus on other things in life.