Love it or hate it, it's hard to be an online denizen these days without interacting with at least one (and most likely both) of the Internet giants. We've spent the past few days scouring the Internet and have found tips - some old, but most new - on how to give yourself a sense of security when using both services.
Get Yourself Out of Google Streetview
The FCC hit Google with a $25,000 fine over how it collects data for its Streetview maps. Small money for Google, but big news for people who used this round of stories as inspiration to look up their own homes and find out they didn't necessarily like what they saw.
Google says its software automatically blurs images containing license plates and people's faces, but like any software program, it doesn't always work. And you may find other images that are revealing or just plain unflattering. Fortunately, PBS Newshour has a step-by-step primer on how to alert Google to those images and ask for them to be edited or removed.
Check Your Facebook Privacy Settings - Again
If you use a task management program like ToodleDoo or a calendar program like Google Calendar, it makes sense to put a recurring reminder in to check your Facebook privacy settings regularly. The reality is Facebook changes its user terms on a regular basis in a constant bid to open up your account and increase the amount of information you share (both knowingly and unknowingly), and we're not so sure an FTC consent decree will curb that practice entirely. We've given up on crying foul every time these policies change: It's just a fact of life on the world's biggest social network.
Facecrooks, a site the deals exclusively in using Facebook securely, has just released one of the best comprehensive guides for locking down your Facebook accounts. Follow each step, and you'll be as secure as you can possibly be on Facebook. But even the implementation of the tips that suit you on a case-by-case basis is worth considering.
Some of our favorite suggestions from the guide:
- Use a dedicated email address for Facebook.
- Don't allow subscribers.
- Enable login notifications so you know when someone has accessed your account.
- Avoid posting information such as your birthdate, your home and mobile phone numbers and your street address.
- Always log out of Facebook after you finish your session.
Spend Some Time Taking the "Eazy" Way Out
PC World has a glowing review of Priveazy, which bills itself as a personal online privacy and safety consultant. Companies such as Facebook and Google hope we'll give up on trying to "untangle the privacy knot," but Priveazy, with online tutorials, quizzes and security checkups, aims to make the process of protecting online privacy, well, easy.
As PC World points out, the tool may be "a bit too simplistic" for geeks and people who "just eat and breathe Internet privacy issues." For the rest of us, however, it may be time well spent.