TECH ADVICE: Settings to use to increase privacy online

Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

In today’s digital age, the internet has become an integral part of our daily lives, whether you sit at a computer or tap away on your phone or tablet. We rely on these for communication, information, entertainment, employment, and so much more. However, we often overlook the tracking techniques used by tech giants like Google and others.

These digital companies utilize sophisticated tracking mechanisms to monitor our online behavior, gather data, and target us with personalized advertisements. While this may enhance user experience in some ways, it also raises significant concerns about privacy and data security.

Google, in particular, is renowned for its extensive tracking capabilities. Through services like Google Analytics, Google Ads, and the presence of its trackers on websites across the web, the tech giant collects a wealth of information about users’ browsing habits, interests, and demographics. This data is then used to create detailed profiles for targeted advertising, influencing our online experiences without our explicit consent. The collection of data may be happening across all your devices too: your computer, your smartphone, tablet, and even your smart TV.

But Google isn’t alone in the realm of online tracking. Many other tech companies employ similar tactics to monitor user behavior and gather data for various purposes. From social media platforms like Facebook to e-commerce giants like Amazon, tracking has become part of the online ecosystem.

You can’t just easily turn off all the tracking, but if you are concerned about your privacy, there are settings and tools to consider using:

  • Browser Privacy Settings: Most web browsers offer privacy settings that allow users to control how their data is tracked and shared. Explore the privacy options in your browser and adjust them to your preferences. Features such as disabling third-party cookies and blocking trackers can significantly reduce your exposure to online tracking. However, have at least a basic understanding of any settings before you change them. Also, realize changing settings may affect your browsing and functionality.
  • Use Privacy-Focused Search Engines: Consider using alternative search engines that prioritize user privacy, such as Unlike Google, these search engines don’t track your searches or store your personal information, offering a more private browsing experience.
  • Use a Privacy-Focused Browser: Even if you utilize a search engine that’s privacy-focused (such as DuckDuckGo) the web browser itself (such as Google Chrome), may doing some type of tracking or data collection. Thus, you may consider a privacy-focused web browser too, such as the DuckDuckGo browser ( or Brave Browser (
  • Install Ad and Tracker Blockers: For web browsers that don’t include built-in AD or tracking blocking (such as Google Chrome), consider a browser extension that gives you some protection. Malwarebytes Browser Guard ( is one good extension that blocks junk and scams in addition to ADs and trackers.
  • Opt-Out of Targeted Advertising: Many advertising networks, including Google’s Ad Personalization, offer opt-out mechanisms that allow users to disable targeted advertising based on their browsing history. Visit the AD settings page for Google ( and other advertising platforms to customize your ad preferences and opt out of personalized ads.

Eric Geier is the owner of On Spot Techs, a computer repair and IT services company offering on-site service at homes and businesses in the Dayton and Springfield areas and also a storefront at 4732 S Dixie Dr in Moraine. For more information, visit or call 937-315-0286.

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