You’re searching online for a baby gift for a friend’s newborn, and then for a while you’re followed by diaper ads on practically every site you visit. Ever notice something like that happening to you?
Yes, the web can be an eerie place. Intelligence agencies and criminals aren’t the only people who may be tracking your online behavior – there’s a lot more to your browsing session than meets the eye.
Take, for example, this F-Secure Labs study that found that of the 100 most popular URLs in the world, only 15 percent are actually accessed by real people. The other 85 percent are third-party sites that are accessed behind the scenes of your browsing session, by the sites you visit. And over half of these third-party sites are tracking-related. They are helping build up an online profile of you and your browsing habits.
Why? So marketers can better target you with ads that meet your interests and preferences – or at least try to, in the case of the diaper ads.
How does it work? When you visit a site with ads, you’ll be tracked by the marketing company behind the ads on that site. And one marketing company may be working with a huge network of other websites. So whenever you visit another site that also has a relationship with that marketer, the marketer captures more and more data about you and your online behavior. All this data goes into an extensive profile that is being built up about you.
If that sounds a little creepy, rest assured that you can regain control of your digital privacy. There’s an easy way to block advertisers from tracking you everywhere you go. Last year we launched F-Secure Freedome to stop tracking on your mobile device (to date, Freedome has already blocked over 900 million tracking attempts globally). And now there’s good news – today we’re unveiling Freedome for your Windows PC!
Freedome for Windows has the same privacy features as the mobile versions, protecting you from trackers and hackers. It’s got the same VPN technology to protect your browsing session from snoops while using public Wi-Fi. In addition, it also includes a new Private Search feature that offers tools so you can get your search engine results without the tracking.
Since the Snowden revelations, we as consumers have become more and more aware that we may be revealing the most intimate details of our lives through our connected devices. According to a recent study by the Pew Research Center Internet Project, 91% of adults in the survey agree that consumers have lost control over how personal information is collected and used by companies.
If you’re concerned too, download a free 14-day trial of Freedome for your Windows PC. And let us know what you think!
Banner image courtesy of Filip Goc, flickr.com
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