It’s Data Privacy Week, and if you’re not concerned about data privacy, you should be. One tool that’s probably available right now on your computer is “Incognito Mode”.
Incognito mode (also called private browsing or privacy mode) is a feature available in most web browsers like Google Chrome, Mozilla Firefox, Microsoft Edge, and Apple Safari. It allows users to browse the internet without storing local data such as browsing history, search history, and cookies. If you open a new incognito window, your browsing history, passwords, and other personal information aren’t saved. A layer of privacy is provided, but your internet activities don’t become totally invisible. Websites you visit, your internet service provider, and maybe even your employer may still be able to track your activity.
Here are some reasons you should open an incognito mode window, according to staysafeonline.org:
- Enhanced Privacy: It can prevent others from accessing your personal information and passwords left behind during regular browsing sessions. You should still avoid accessing email, bank, and other sensitive accounts when using public wi-fi or a public computer.
- Avoiding Targeted Ads: It can help reduce targeted advertising by preventing websites from tracking your online behavior and tailoring ads based on your browsing history.
- Bypass Paywalls: In some cases, it can help avoid the paywalls set up for online news outlets or other content.
- Safer Online Shopping: It can help you compare prices when online shopping while preventing the automatic saving of your payment information and ensures a clean slate with each session.
HOWEVER, incognito mode isn’t flawless. It doesn’t hide your online activity from your ISP or employer, for example, and if you log into websites through a social media or email account, your incognito window doesn’t hide them from you. Also, your incognito session might be tracked in some way until you close the window.
The enhanced privacy and clean browsing experience that incognito mode provides makes it a valuable tool for safeguarding your internet activity. Here are more behaviors suggested by staysafeonline.org that you may want to consider:
- Use a virtual private network (VPN) to hide your location and IP address from websites.
- Regularly check your account and app permissions to fit your comfort level.
- Use a password manager to generate and store hundreds of long, complex, and unique passwords.
- Enable multi-factor authentication (MFA) for any account that permits it to add another layer of protection to your login credentials.
- Turn on automatic updates to ensure you have the latest security features.
TAKE CONTROL OF YOUR DATA
That’s the theme of Data Privacy week in 2024. If you have lost control of your data through experiencing a cyberattack, data breach, privacy incident or other technology hack and need legal help, S.C. Legal Services may be able to help. If your data has been leaked or breached in a way that has caused you real legal harm, contact us to learn about your rights and see if we can assist you with the related legal problems that arise.
South Carolina Legal Services (SCLS) provides free legal assistance in a wide variety of civil (non-criminal) legal matters to eligible low-income residents of South Carolina.
Or call our telephone intake line at 1-888-346-5592