If you missed the uproar, Google recently changed their user privacy policies to simplify users’ experience while using Google sites. What changed with Google’s policies was pretty simple. Basically, every Google site you use will now combine your user data (searches, likes, etc.) and sell that data for use of advertisers. This means you can expect more specific and precise ads, and a user profile that is eerie close to what and who you are.
The EU was none too happy with this, and even tried to stop the policies from happening. If you happen to prefer privacy over having your personal data on display in front of any advertiser willing to throw ads at you, there are a few things you can do to keep your info safe.
1. Don’t sign in.
Simple enough. Whenever you use a Google site, don’t sign in. this includes Gmail, YouTube, Picasa, Blogger, Feedburner, Orkut, Android (which might be a little more difficult), and several others. Just don’t sign in.
2. Review what Google knows about you
Go to your dashboard and manage your settings and profiles manually. You can also delete parts of your browsing history you don’t want Google to keep. This will let you see what Google knows about you, and even let you edit some of it.
3. Use an Anonymizer
There are sites out there that defend you from forms of network surveillance that threaten piracy. Tor is one of these, and it’s free. You can use it to make your searches invisible and private.
4. Be someone else for a while
PCWorld recommends a tactic to confuse and trip Google in its tracks: lie about your identity. That’s right, lie. Their idea is that if you should sign in with an alternate name for every site you use. They write:
When a site asks you to open an account, use a different login name and address than you’d need to buy something. Tell Google you live in Seattle; tell Bing you live in San Jose. Tell Twitter you live on a different planet.
If it confuses anyone trying to keep track of you online, it serves them right. No one has the right to follow you all the time without your consent. No one has the right to know everything you do. No one has the right to insist you always tell the truth when they’re asking intrusive, manipulative questions without answers to which they won’t give you the free service they promised when you hit their site in the first place.