Whether you're aware of it, much of your personal information is collected online. Most websites and applications collect data to understand your behaviour and interests for marketing purposes. This may not be a trade you're willing to make, especially if you value your personal privacy.

It's difficult to opt-out of tracking since you must traverse many hoops and ensure that your data is collected on numerous platforms and devices. It is achievable, however; with a little effort, you may reclaim much of your privacy.
Why do businesses gather and utilize data, and why is privacy so important?

It's no secret that computers, websites, and applications record your behaviour. They gather data about you in several ways, including:
  • Cookies. Cookies are small text files that websites use to store information (usually session IDs, login data, and so on) on your computer. Companies also utilize persistent cookies to track your actions across the web, including which sites you visit.
  • Location tracking. Your phone - whether an Android device or an iPhone - has a GPS, which can come in handy when needing directions. On the other hand, your gadget may track your position unintentionally even when you're not using your maps software. Your location becomes even more well-known due to the ISP you’re on.
Can an ISP see a VPN? The answer is no. This is why many people download a VPN to protect themselves and remain anonymous.

Users' consent is required for internet companies to track data and obtain permission. By burying opt-in agreements in their terms and conditions, they claim to do so to provide you with more relevant results.

While this is true, companies sell your data to marketers for them to serve you personalized advertisements. You've probably noticed that your Facebook advertisements are frequently related to your current online activities.

However, targeted marketing is not necessarily a negative thing. It can be beneficial in pointing you to items you genuinely need. Session and personalization cookies also save time by preventing you from having to re-enter information on each website visit.

Problems can arise when businesses obtain personal information such as your medical history, banking records, or even private conversations like text messages. This sort of data has the potential to be harmful in the wrong hands.

Because of this, much legislation has been passed regarding tracking cookies and privacy in the last several years (see the Cookie Law and GDPR). Many countries now demand that websites get consent before putting cookies on their sites.

It is possible to preserve your data, but you must be proactive.