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John Clark / Thursday, August 24, 2017 / Categories: Information

What Is The Internet Hiding From You?

Even worse than "Fake News" is the problem of missing news

Online PrivacyPeople are more and more irritated about "fake news" and righfully so. What most don't realize is that we are all gradually being migrated into our own little online echo chamber. It's a place where you only see what your little world choices and preferences want to see.

Companies like Google and Facebook use your online profile established by your clicking history to filter your results that they choose to show you. It's based on what they think you are most likely to click on. Eli Prasier (video link below) calls this the "Filter Bubble". You become your own Bubble Boy or Girl information wise.

It's a form of corporate censorship that can also be used to heavily influence your opinions, even unintentionally, and can sway election outcomes and other political issues.

For a great video Ted Talk (8 Minutes) Eli explains it quite well. I don't think someone else should decide what information you get to see on your screen. There are ways to get out of the "Filter Bubble". Here are a couple of quick suggestions.

Your Browser Choices:

Most people think there are only 3 or 4 choices for internet browsers, IE (whatever they're calling it lately), Firefox, Chrome, Safari. These all track you and filter things you might not want filtered out, or in. Switch to a browser that doesn't do that. Here is a nice starting list of alternative browsers.

My current choice is Epic, which I'm using now. It is a Chromium-powered browser dedicated to protecting privacy. Because it wants to protect your privacy, epic doesn’t save any information – no history, cookies, passwords, cache, autofill, nothing. 

If you close Epic, it simply moves ahead and deletes databases, preferences, local storage, sessions data. Thus it secures your privacy and anonymity.

Another nice feature is that Epic uses is own Search program and does not filter the results, you just get them straight up, not shaken. Find your own and be wild. Experiment and break the mold and discover how you have maybe been molded without knowing it.

My only gripe about Epic is that videos in Facebook will not play, I have to switch to something else to see videos. 

Seach Engines:

Everybody is using Google, well 80-90% of America does. Every business wants to rank well on Google because of that. If you watched the video you now know that Google is tracking you and filtering your results to personalize your results. It's like a stalker assuring you he has your best interests in mind. When I'm using my Epic browser I use that search engine and it guards my privacy. Otherwise I use DuckDuckGo.com. You can integrate it into your browser, set it as your home page for seach and download the app on your phone. 

I've gone to the Duck side. No filtering, no tracking, it's open range searching. I can see liberal and conservative all treated the same, so refreshing. 

DuckDuckGo BlogHere's another kicker. Not using an alternative search engine can be costing you money, lots of money. How? Because of your tracked search history, companies can see your spending history. Based on that history when shopping online the prices you see to purchase are "adjusted" up or down based on your tracked spending. You can be paying hundreds more for airline tickets than the next person or that office product at Staples maybe priced at $18.59 for you instead of the $17.29 the cheap person saw. Your spending history predicts how much you'll pay for an item and it will be shown accordingly. Scary? Your call.

There are others and here is a nice list to start with. In addition, the Duck has a nice information blog on all things privacy you may want to study. You'll be shocked. 

Email:

If you are using Gmail, Google is reading it, getting information about you and your preferences. Migrate to something else. Personally as a web designer I have my own hosting and email associated with my website. I track myself but nobody else does. If you need an alternative and don't have that luxury, you might try StartMail.com. It is dedicated to your privacy. It's not free like Gmail (Google gets paid by tracking you for businesses), you will have privacy in email. It's only about $5 a month. Decide what privacy is worth for you.

Another nice feature is you can create "throw away" email addresses. Ever have to fill out something and email is required but you really don't want their ongoing junk? Create a throw away, use it to verify and then ignore it until needed again. Take it down and create another one. Lots of uses for this. 

Go to the Duck and seach for email choices and then experiment away.

May the Duck side be with you friends.

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