3 Tools That Block Online Tracking

A lot of our activities online are tracked by a variety of organisations. The various tools described below operate in different ways and none can guarantee to eliminate 100% of trackers so it’s trying them to see if they suit what you want.

Sometimes this is just so they can display relevant adverts or to offer location specific answers (e.g. local restaurants), sometimes to learn about their customers and sometimes for less acceptable reasons. However, if should be our choice how much is tracked – not the software makers and users.

 

Ghostery   https://www.ghostery.com/products/ 

This has a large database of tracking entities i.e. software that will track you. You install the browser add-on then it can detect these entities and block them as you browse.

On each website, Ghostery displays a list of trackers from that site in the upper right corner of the screen.. You can then go to the settings page and block individual trackers or block all trackers.

The browser add-on is available for the most browsers.

Disconnect https://disconnect.me/

The browser add-on blocks trackers as it finds them, but allows requests that it considers to be necessary for loading content.

Disconnect detects trackers based on the number of requests they’ve made for your information, and displays them in one of four categories: advertising, analytics, social and content. You can choose to block or allow each tracker.

Privacy Badger https://www.eff.org/privacybadger

This tool is belongs to the Electronic Frontier Foundation and uses an algorithm to “learn” which social or ad networks are tracking you over time.

It initially allows third-party trackers until it detects patterns in third-party requests. Then it will start automatically blocking what it considers “non-consensual invasions of people’s privacy”. This approach may mean the tool identifies new trackers more quickly than its competition but it takes longer to be effective.

Privacy Badger is available for Google Chrome and Firefox.

You can see these tools operate in a different manner, all attempting to block online tracing without stopping anything you find useful.

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SEO Backlinks and Expired Websites

SEO is Search Engine Optimisation which means how to make a website rank highly on search engines so more people can find it easily and hence go to that website.

There are many techniques used in SEO including use of keywords, headings, quality content, meta-data for pictures etc. and lots more.

One old fashioned approach to SEO was to get as many backlinks to your site from other sites as possible.

Google keep their exact algorithms for calculating ranking a secret but links to your website from other quality high ranked sites is going to help.

Recently emails have started to appear offering huge numbers of backlinks. One email offers to get up to 500,000 backlinks from their inventory of websites (many in your niche).

500,000 backlinks from poor sites is not a good idea.

You should always try to have quality content on your site to attract people and that includes only having backlinks from other quality sites.

Another variant on this is the idea of purchasing expired websites that still have an entry on Google. You buy the expired website and create links from there to your website.  There are businesses that specialise in finding and buying such expired websites then selling them on under the guise of SEO.

These are unpleasant practices. Do not be fooled into believing there is a magic answer to endless traffic.

To get visitors – create the best content you can, get links from sites that can appreciate your work, use social media, articles etc. There are lots of worthwhile methods available rather than attempting to cheat.

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The Safer Internet Centre

https://www.saferinternet.org.uk

The safer Internet Centre is a partnership of three leading organisations: Childnet International, Internet Watch Foundation and SWGfL, with one mission – to promote the safe and responsible use of technology for young people.

South West Grid for Learning (SWGfL) Trust is a not-for-profit charitable trust providing schools and other establishments with safe, secure, managed and supported connectivity and associated services, learning technologies to improve outcomes, and the toolkit for being safer online.

The partnership was appointed by the European Commission as the Safer Internet Centre for the UK in January 2011 and is one of the 31 Safer Internet Centres of the Insafe network. The centre has three main functions:

  1. Awareness Centre: to provide advice and support to children and young people, parents and carers, schools and the children’s workforce and to coordinate Safer Internet Day across UK
  2. Helpline: to provide support to professionals working with children and young people with online safety issues
  3. Hotline: an anonymous and safe place to report and remove child sexual abuse imagery and videos, wherever they are found in the world

The UK Safer Internet Centre is funded under the Connecting Europe Facility (CEF) programme of the European Commission. As such we contribute to the Better Internet for Kids (BIK) core service platform to share resources, services and practices between the European Safer Internet Centres and advice and information about a better internet to the general public.

The website pages are – About,  Safer Internet Day, Blog, Training & Events, Research, Get Involved, Translate

Advice Centre, Hotline, Helpline, Pupil powered e-safety

It contains a lot of advice and information, largely to do with young people, parents and carers but much applicable to anyone so it is a useful resource.

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Santander Scam Avoidance School

Santander launched ‘Scam Avoidance School’ (SAS) for over 60s at all 806 branches across the UK in 2018.

Their research shows 82% of over 60s want more to be done to help them avoid scammers – Age UK stats suggest that 53 per cent of people aged 65+ have been targeted.

Former Strictly Come Dancing Head Judge, Len Goodman, 73, became the first graduate of the Scam Avoidance School

Following research among the over 60s to understand what really worries them about scams and fraud, alongside input from Dr Paul Seager, Psychology Professor at Lancashire University, a bespoke lesson plan was created for Santander branch staff to deliver to tens of thousands of over 60s.

The lesson, which includes interactive activities and a handout to take away, covers the tricks scammers use to reel people in, how to spot email and text scams as well as covering contactless fraud and cashpoint fraud – areas that the research highlighted as being a real concern to Over 60s.

Statistics

  • Two thirds of the Over 60s are worried about the threat of fraud and scams with 82 per cent thinking more should be done to educate them
  • More than 20% of Over 60s believe they have been approached more than 10 times by scammers in the last year
  • The average lost by Over 60s to scammers who had fallen victim was £401. Previous research from Santander revealed that older victims of scams will, on average, lose more than double that of younger age groups
  • While 95 % of Over 60s own a mobile phone and 96 per cent have a computer, around one in five avoid online banking for fear of being targeted by scammers

Among the 64 per cent of older people who are worried about the threat of scams, a range of factors were highlighted as making them particularly susceptible. The biggest of these were: being vulnerable because of illness or disability (74 per cent); being financially unaware (57 per cent) or simply being on their own (37 per cent).

Chris Ainsley, Head of Fraud Strategy at Santander’s UK, commented “We believe that education and public awareness is absolutely key to tackling what is currently one of the biggest threats to the security of people’s finances. We hope that with a little bit of scam-avoidance knowledge, our Over 60 pupils can feel empowered to stop scammers in their tracks.”

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The Pension Wise Service

https://www.pensionwise.gov.uk

In these days of pension fraud, if you’re over 55, it is wise to assess your pension situation using government advice.

The website Pension Wise was set-up by government to provide free advice

They say they can help you if:-

  • you are aged 50 or over
  • have a personal or workplace pension
  • want to make sense of your options

There is plenty of advice on the site from what happens if you live abroad to taxation to the different ways you can take money from your pension pot.

There’s also advice on how to avoid the pension scammers.

If you feel the need to talk to an expert, there are free calls of up to 60 minutes that can be booked.

If you need pension advice – this website is a good start.

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