Tired of Being Tracked? How to Stop Being Tracked Online

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Stop internet tracking

In the digital age, our lives are increasingly intertwined with the internet. From shopping to socializing, we rely on the online world for countless aspects of our daily routine. However, this convenience comes at a price: our privacy.


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In the vast online landscape, we are constantly being tracked online and monitored by various entities. Whether it's advertisers, social media platforms, or even governments, the tracking of our online activities has become ubiquitous. But here's the good news: you don't have to resign yourself to being a passive participant in this surveillance game. With a little knowledge and proactive measures, you can regain control of your online privacy and limit the amount of tracking your experience.

In this blog, we'll explore effective strategies and practical tips to help you figure out how to prevent trackers, how to stop being tracked online, and how to stop a website from tracking you. We'll emphasize the importance of education and awareness, empowering you with the knowledge to make informed decisions about your digital privacy and stop internet tracking. By implementing these strategies, you'll be taking significant steps toward reclaiming your online autonomy and preserving your personal data.

How does internet tracking work?

Internet tracking is made possible by a few different factors, however the most prevalent is the use of Cookies. Cookies are small packets of data that collect information about you to “enhance” your browsing experience. There are many different types of cookies that function for various reasons, such as Session Cookies, First-Party Cookies, This-Party Cookies, Flash Cookies, and more. Cookies are what make browsing experiences feel customized for the user. Cookies remember your preferences, the items in your Amazon shopping cart, and your user name, among other things. So yes, cookies are important mini-files that make your experiences on websites feel like they were tailor-made for you.

Why companies track your data

Simply put, companies track your data for personalization objectives. Third-Party Cookies are placed on sites by ad networks and get stored in your web browser with the intent of collecting data on you for marketing purposes. They record your every move as you cross the internet. Your likes, dislikes, and browsing habits are worth a lot of money to advertisers, and ads that are targeted specifically to a user’s browsing history are more valuable than non-targeted campaigns.

Let’s imagine you’re on the lookout for a new refrigerator. You head over to Google to check out prices and models. Afterward, you should expect that ads for refrigerators are going to follow you around from website to website. This is because advertisers can see that you’re in the “new fridge zone” and they’re hoping that you’ll click on one of their ads and that your ad click will eventually convert into a sale.


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How to avoid being tracked and how to stop internet trackers

Fear not, there are tactics you can learn to combat the rampant tracking out there on the internet today and stop web tracking. If the idea of being watched gives you the creeps, here are some privacy-minded steps you can take to tackle how to stop internet trackers:

  • Enable Do Not Track: Sure, cookies are a normal part of surfing the web but you can choose to disable them by going into your browser’s settings under “Privacy” and choosing to “Send a Do Not Track Request” to websites. In theory, at least, this means you can stop website tracking because websites shouldn’t place tracking cookies into your browser… but it doesn’t really work out like that. Honoring the request on the part of websites is voluntary and thus an unfortunate amount of websites will still take the liberty of tracking.
  • Use HTTPS everywhere: The S in HTTPS means that the information being transferred uses the Hypertext Transfer Protocol over Secure, which is a secure data transfer protocol. Created by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, one of the leading non-profit digital rights groups, their plugin forces websites that use the regular not-as-secure HTTP data transfer protocol to use HTTPS, thereby enhancing the security and privacy of your data through encryption.
  • Use a browser extension: Using a security and privacy-focused browser extension, such as RAV Online Security for Google Chrome or Microsoft Edge, can provide protection against intrusive trackers, cookies, malicious URLs, harmful extensions, and more. These privacy and safety features work together to help stop internet trackers and keep you safe while surfing the web.

Stop Google from tracking search history

Google is the most widely used search engine in the world with over 80% of desktop search traffic originating from it - odds are, you are a user. So what are some practices you can use to stop Google from tracking search history and potentially invading your privacy?

One way is to set up Incognito Mode on your Chrome browser. Also known as Hidden or Private Mode, this is one of the easiest ways to stop some of the effects of tracking. Note we said “some”, and that’s an important caveat. Incognito mode does keep your website history from being stored and reported to ad networks. But your IP address can still be tracked and your internet service provider and websites that you log into will still recognize you, leaving you open to some forms of tracking.


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How to stop websites from tracking you

So, by now have you asked yourself, “How to block online trackers?” Figuring out how to stop websites from tracking you is no easy task. There are, however, many tools that you can use to help. Below are just a few examples of cyber tools you can leverage in order to stop trackers from following you around online:

  • VPNs: Using a Virtual Private Network (VPN) creates a secure, encrypted “tunnel” from your device to the VPN server, ensuring the security and privacy of your connection. It also hides your IP address, making it look like the traffic is coming only from the VPN service provider. For example, with a VPN, you can use public Wi-Fi spots safely and surf the web with confidence.
  • TOR (The Onion Router): To achieve near-total anonymity, consider using the famed TOR browser. By routing your traffic through a network of encrypted layers, the user’s origin is very well hidden. Anyone who tries to track your web traffic only sees the relay computers moving the traffic around from layer to layer. This means that advertisers can’t track you at all.
  • Private search engines: Political dissenters and whistleblowers aside, many privacy advocate experts agree that using TOR is perhaps a bit of an overkill for average web users. You could instead use a private search engine, such as DuckDuckGo, to stop online tracking.

These methods aren’t foolproof, but in truth, to greatly increase your online privacy you don’t need to achieve 100% anonymity. What you need is a solid understanding of what’s at stake and what you can do to mitigate the effects of tracking. And the more methods you use, the better off you’ll be. To learn more about privacy protection online and how to stay secure, visit reasonlabs.com.


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