The idea of personal information being saved online is not new. A few years ago, Facebook was the only major social network that allowed users to have different profiles for different friends and family members, each with its privacy settings. Now, almost every social site offers this feature. But why is this important to set the possible privacy using our simple apps, and how to do it?
It’s not just Microsoft that wants to know: other manufacturers and even non-profit organizations, such as the Mozilla Foundation, are interested in user data. Let’s look at how we can protect ourselves against this.
Apart from the operating system, few external applications have components that collect and transmit user data. This article will show you how to stop this in Firefox, Chrome, Thunderbird, LibreOffice, etc.
The Mozilla Foundation takes data protection seriously, but unfortunately, they do not see their much-vaunted principles as binding on themselves. For example, the installer downloaded from the official site is always linked to a unique token, which helps Google Analytics collect data and identify the downloader. The software sends this token back to the Foundation’s server at the end of the installation. You can get away with this if you use, for example, the file included in the CHIP disk attachment.
But it’s not only during installation that Firefox sends data to the control panel: the component for this purpose is also active during operation, so it must be disconnected separately. Go to the Settings/Privacy & Security menu, scroll down to the Firefox Data Collection & Usage section and uncheck all the boxes.
In addition, in the same menu, at the top, set the Browser Privacy to Strict, and below that, set the Do Women Track flag to Always.
Another problem with Firefox is displaying ads when you open new tabs. Turn this off by clicking on the gear icon in the top right corner of the new tab, unchecking Sponsored Quick Look, and then turning off the whole Quick Look feature.
The essential options for sending data can be found in the Settings section under You and Google in Chrome. Here, click on the Sync and Google link, and then under Other Google services, turn off the Enable Chrome sign-in, Autocomplete searches, and URLs. Contribute to improving Chrome features and performance and Searching and browsing enhancement options. Enhanced spell checking is usually already turned off, but if it isn’t, flip the switch now.
Thunderbird users can also find several privacy-related options in the Settings menu. First, in the General section of Thunderbird’s home page, disable messages loading to the message location when the program is started. This is not necessary if a personal start page has been specified here. Next, go to the Privacy and Security section, scroll down to the Thunderbird Data Collection and Usage section, and uncheck both options.
Outlook and MS Office
Some of the settings related to Microsoft Office, already described in the article starting on page 22, can also be activated directly from Outlook. Go to the File/Settings/Privacy Center menu and press the Privacy Center Settings button. Go to Privacy settings here. As with Windows, you cannot turn off data collection entirely, but uncheck the options such as Send personal information to Microsoft or Allow Office to connect to Microsoft online services. If other connected services appear here, disable them and the ability to connect to them.
Older versions of the package tend to collect data. The option to do this, located under Tools/Settings/LibreOffice/General, has been removed in newer versions. However, the program may still display messages requesting support or data sharing to help with development from time to time. This can be turned off by going to Tools/Settings/LibreOffice/Special/Open Specialist Settings. Navigate to org.open-office.Setup/Product and double-click on the LastTimeGetlnvolved-Shown entry. Set its value to o and repeat the operation with the LastTimeDonateShown entry.
We can do a few things to protect ourselves against data collection by Microsoft and other manufacturers. We can disable cookies in our web browser, which will prevent some information from being collected. We can also use a privacy-focused web browser like Mozilla Firefox, which has built-in tools to protect our privacy. Finally, we can be careful about the information we share online and only share what is necessary. We can make it more difficult for companies to collect our data without our consent by taking these steps.