Our privacy and the privacy and security of our personal data is more important than ever. It’s not just that it’s being sold to advertising companies to sell us goods and services we likely don’t want or need, but it’s increasingly being used by political parties, and even criminals to target us for purposes that can remain clouded in secrecy.
The big online companies do make it straightforward to manage your personal data privacy however, so let’s look at how you can take control of your data and information. Note that while these web links will almost always remain the same, the subject of data privacy is such a hot topic that the tools and features available to you will change over time, most likely to have additional features included.
You can manage your Microsoft online privacy at the Microsoft Account website, There are extensive privacy tools here covering everything from advertising, to maps, location, search, and there are privacy controls for members of your family you manage through your Microsoft account, such as your children.
Google also make it straightforward to manage all aspects of your privacy which you can do at the Google Account website. As with Microsoft there are a great many options available here including search, advertising, location and maps, but also options for additional services from the parent company Alphabet, including YouTube and Google Fit.
Taking a different approach to Microsoft and Google, Apple like to simplify controls so there’s not much available at the Apple Account website. The company still take privacy seriously however so their stripped down controls will manage all aspects of your Apple account.
Facebook’s parent company Meta allow you to manage your privacy for all their services including both Facebook and Instagram at the company’s Privacy Centre, though you will probably find that you will need to visit some individual services including WhatsApp, Facebook, and Instagram individually, checking your account options, to find all of your privacy settings.
Generally, companies are making it easier for us to manage what data about us they record, store and sell. Both Alphabet (Google) and Meta (Facebook) though make billions of dollars selling advertising, and for this to work they have to have something compelling to sell to the advertisers, our data, so being vigilant and checking these companies occasionally for new tools is always a good idea.