This is how advertisers follow you around the web
Never underestimate the creativity of online advertisers. Now that many browsers block third-party cookies, advertisers use URLs to follow you from site to site. In the name of privacy, it’s time to stop URL tracking links.
Maybe an ad for something you saw years ago is haunting you on every site. In this case, you may need to take additional precautions against cookies. Tap or click here for a few ways to remove hidden trackers from your browser.
This guide will explain how websites use URLs to track your browsing history. Additionally, we will share some data protection strategies that you can use to take back your privacy. Of course, this is one of the many ways to protect your personal data.
How tracking links violate privacy
Advertisers use tracking links to circumvent privacy protections. So if you’re using Firefox, which blocks tracking cookies by default, advertisers can still track you across the web. They track you via URLs instead of cookies in your browser.
Sometimes when you’re browsing the internet, you’ll see a jumble of letters, numbers, and symbols at the end of a URL. This indicates the different ways sites track you. For instance, qid= in a URL refers to the time you searched.
Overall, tracking links can reveal a ton of sensitive information, including:
- Your full name.
- Your IP address.
- Previous search terms.
- That of your computer Mac address.
- What websites you just visited.
By the way, not all tracking links are of concern. Some of them are harmless.
For example, let’s say you are subscribed to the bi-weekly “Kim Komando Show’s” newsletter, The stream. Twice a week, you’ll get a quick, easy-to-understand summary of top tech news, plus quizzes, how-to tips, and memes.
You can click on one of the hyperlinks if you see an interesting story in the newsletter.
This will take you to our news site. Right off the bat, you’ll notice the length of the URL. This is because it contains a lot of additional information that lets us know how you got to this page.
If you visited this page organically, the URL would not be so long. In other words, if you had just come across this page while browsing our site, the URL would not have the ? inside. But because you found this page via a newsletter link, the URL says &utm_source=current, which lets us know, “Hey! They clicked on a current link to get to that page. »
With these URL details we can evaluate the performance of our newsletters. So from now on, always check URLs when browsing the web.
👍 A good rule to follow
👀 If you see a link with a ? at the end it’s probably a follow link. For example, the link above has a ? before the long line of characters.
👀 The full URL is https://www.komando.com/episode/2-dirty-secrets-the-streaming-companies-dont-want-you-to-know/857087/?utm_medium=nl&utm_source=current&utm_content=2022-10-04.
☑️ Remember: You can usually take ? Where utm_ as a sign that a URL is following you.
Here at Komando HQ, we put your privacy first. You don’t have to worry about your data being sold to third-party advertisers. But many websites lack these scruples, so you have to be careful.
We will share some cybersecurity strategies. Use these technical tips to protect your privacy.
A Simple and Easy Way to Stop URL Tracking Links
The best way to fight tracking links is to switch to a browser that puts your privacy first. We recommend Brave, which has the most built-in tracking and ad blockers. It ranks #1 on our list of the best privacy-focused browsers.
But maybe you don’t like its user interface or you prefer a different design. Luckily for you, there are a ton of great alternatives. Here are some of the other best browsers for privacy in 2022:
Many of these browsers will automatically block tracking links. This means you can focus on the fun stuff on the web, without worrying about advertisers violating your privacy for profit.
Now that you know how to stop URL tracking links, check out these technical tips
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