How to remain (mostly) invisible online

While complete anonymity these days is nearly impossible, experts have some tips, and tools, they recommend for maintaining privacy and keeping your digital footprint as minimal as possible

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For those users who like their privacy but also enjoy using social media, it’s a good idea to post only when you’re connected via your password-protected, secure workplace or home Wi-Fi, Siciliano says. “And in some cases you may need to post via computer, not your smartphone,” he says.

On sites such as Instagram, Facebook and Google+, set the privacy settings to not allow anyone outside your approved list to view your information,” Sakore says. “Also, be careful about approving posts and images where you are ‘tagged,’” he says.

For added privacy on mobile devices, users should put their device into airplane mode—which suspends data transmission—while using apps such as games. “You don’t need to be online to play all games,” Siciliano says. “Being offline means your personal data can’t be transmitted.”

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Also, turn off cellular data connections. “Unless you absolutely must know every single e-mail that’s coming in when you’re out and about, switch off the cellular data,” Siciliano says. “Check your e-mail only when you’re on a secure network.”

Other tips for mobile users are to turn off the GPS and Wi-Fi on your mobile device, and “dumb down” your phone.

“GPS, Wi-Fi and geolocation can pinpoint your location fast,” Siciliano says. “Keep them off unless you need them. To turn off geolocation, start with your apps that take photos, then do the rest. Then you won’t have to worry about government agents finding you.”

You can also ditch your smartphone and use a feature phone. “Though even a simple cellphone can be used as a tracking device, it makes it hard for anyone to get your location and data, since you can’t get on social media or play online games with a dumb phone,” Siciliano says.

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Copyright © 2015 IDG Communications, Inc.

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