Take advantage of all that the online world has to offer, without giving up your online data. Here is a list of the best online privacy tools that we know of in 2019.
The internet is an amazing resource. It allows us to research obscure topics, connect with distant loved ones, and learn how to fix anything from a video. The internet has become so completely interwoven into how we live, work, and play that it’s hard to believe it only launched for the public in 1991!
Up until recently, we have been focused on all the amazing streamlining and productivity that the internet has offered us. It didn’t occur to most people to ask whether there were trade-offs involved…and now we are starting to wonder: Is my online activity being tracked, stored and used? Where do I look for answers?
Thankfully there are individuals and organizations that have been asking these questions for a long time. Long enough to come up with solutions that make our online data a lot more secure.
Below is a list of some of the best tools for online privacy that we have found to date.
Best Online Privacy
Tools in 2019:
Ghostery is an anti-tracking tool that works through a simple browser extension. It blocks nearly 2,000 known trackers and is available for desktop and mobile devices. Since it was launched in 2009, Ghostery has built a base of over seven million monthly users.
Not sure what all the buttons do in the Ghostery Browser Extension? We’ve got you covered. Check out this #Ghostery cheat sheet for an overview of the main features! https://t.co/nQfFrIwe4r #wednesdaywisdom
— Ghostery (@Ghostery) October 2, 2019
2. Off-Facebook Activity
While Facebook has taken heat for violating data privacy in recent years, they are taking measures to enhance privacy for their users. Off-Facebook Activity, released in 2019, allows users to see and control the online data that apps and websites share with Facebook. When activity is cleared by the user, Facebook won’t send identifying information for the purposes of ad retargeting or other marketing technology.
Today, we’re starting to roll out Off-Facebook Activity, a new feature that gives you more control over your datahttps://t.co/GXpWUKeAyL
— Facebook Newsroom (@fbnewsroom) August 20, 2019
Tor, popularly referred to as the “Onion Router,” is a browsing tool that makes it possible to access websites anonymously–including “.onion” addresses, which are only accessible through Tor’s browser. Since its release in 2002, the Tor Project remains one of the most foolproof applications for masking browsing history and online activity.
There’s a new alpha release of Tor Browser out now.
Tor Browser 9.0a7 is the second alpha release based on Firefox ESR68. It includes new features and fixes you can help us test including the addition of the Snowflake pluggable transport on Windows ❄️https://t.co/NHeIVb4jzQ
— The Tor Project (@torproject) October 2, 2019
4. AdBlock Plus
Marketing automation relies heavily on advertising, and the result is often a better, more personalized experience for users. Solutions like AdBlock Plus simply protect users from irrelevant or illegitimate ads to preserve the customer experience with less risk of unwanted tracking. It not only blocks unwanted ads but also reduces the number of stored cookies that can track activity. It has gained over 50 million users since its release in 2006.
— Adblock Plus (@AdblockPlus) September 23, 2019
5. Tails OS
Tails gained notoriety as the system whistleblower Edward Snowden used to avoid apprehension by the United States. It is rumored to leave zero traces of user history behind since it operates from a read-only USB or DVD drive. It includes cryptographic communication tools and requires all ingoing and outgoing communications to connect through Tor (mentioned above). Released in 2009, it is still considered one of the most secure all-in-one operating systems.
In March, in addition to two new Tails releases, we worked on the upcoming VeraCrypt support, web translation platform, Additional Software feature and more: https://t.co/F62C7zcGoj
— Tails (@Tails_live) April 11, 2018
6. HotSpot Shield
Virtual private networks (VPNs) are rapidly gaining in popularity as more consumer privacy issues come to light. HotSpot Shield uses VPN technology to bypass internet provider and government restrictions. Released in 2008, it has since expanded from a Windows and macOS client app to include iOS and Android devices. With end-to-end encryption capabilities, it allows users to browse securely in public places where hackers are more likely to infiltrate networks.
Access the world’s information from anywhere, any time you want securely with no restrictions.#onlineprivacy #hotspotshield #vpn #internetprivacy #TravelTuesday #smartphones pic.twitter.com/dJpl6sCBI9
— Hotspot Shield (@HotspotShield) March 12, 2019
OpenDNS is a free browsing protection tool. It works with desktop and mobile devices to offer botnet and malware protection, as well as web filtering to protect users from accidentally accessing sites that may put their data at risk. Launched in 2006, OpenDNS has over 90 million global users thanks to its promise of greater security combined with a better, faster browsing experience for its customers.
Just over a decade ago, SpiderOak recognized a need for data storage services that operate under the principle of “no knowledge”–meaning that the storage provider knows nothing about the documents and data stored on their servers. Unlike other providers who hold encryption keys and could release information about stored information, SpiderOak designed a solution that puts encryption keys solely in the hands of its users.
It’s Friday and we’re excited to start something new with all of you. Let’s talk about security strategies! #SecureTheWeekend
We all know the importance of digital security. What strategies and tactics do you use to maintain physical security?
— SpiderOak (@SpiderOak) May 3, 2019
9. Off-the-Record Messaging
Developed in 2004 as a university research project, Off-the-Record Messaging has since evolved into a highly-secure method for sending instant messages without exposure to possible surveillance. It is a simple, open-source tool that plugs into common messaging platforms to encrypt and protect conversations.
— Off-the-Record Msg (@otr_im) July 14, 2015
10. HTTPS Everywhere
HTTPS Everywhere was launched in 2010 as a collaborative effort of the Tor Project and the Electronic Frontier Foundation. It forces browsers to load a secure version of websites that are missing a security certificate. The result is a safer browsing experience through data encryption between the connected device and the server.
A new release for HTTPS Everywhere is out (2019.1.31)!
This release was made possible by our awesome and hardworking contributors who helped with patches to our Encrypt All Sites Eligible (EASE Mode), formerly known as “Block all unencrypted requests”https://t.co/hOxFmuojQd
— HTTPS Everywhere (@HTTPSEverywhere) February 1, 2019
Here’s to a safer online experience where we can simply appreciate all that the internet has to offer!