online privacy

How does eBay know what I buy on Amazon?

eBay

Episode 1740

Jerry from Hatfield, PA

Jerry has been shopping on Amazon for some tools, and recently when visiting eBay for alternative shopping, he's been getting a notification from Amazon about what he's been doing online. That's creepy. Leo says it's probably Google doing it, in spite of using a VPN. If you're still logged in, they can track you. Amazon may also be selling your search activity with eBay. It's in the terms of service that they can do that.

How can I minimize my footprint online and be anonymous?

Google

Episode 1641

José from Modesto, CA

José would like to be anonymous online. How can he minimize his online footprint with Mac addresses? Rich says that most systems are encrypted now, and Google is pushing all websites to update to https. So your traffic gets more encrypted. If that's not enough for you, then randomizing your Mac address is a good way to do it. In iOS 13, for instance, Apple devices generate randomized Mac addresses while online. That's a good way to keep yourself protected. You may try using a VPN, or you can browse privately.

How can I keep my ISP from seeing my data?

Tiny Hardware Firewall

Episode 1376

Oak from Cazadero, CA

Oak is concerned about congress repealing ISP privacy protections. Is there a way he can hide his activity from his ISP so they can't have access to his data? Leo says he could use a VPN to scramble his traffic, but he'll only be giving that data out in the open to his VPN. Leo uses Hotspot VPN. Tunnel Bear is very well known as well. Oak should remember that it will slow him down a lot, and may prevent him from streaming.

ISPs Promise That User Data Is Safe in Spite of New Privacy Rules

URL

Episode 1376

It may not be an April Fool's Joke, but it sounds like one. Verizon, AT&T, and Comcast have moved to assure customers that while Congress has officially passed a law stripping privacy protections from internet users, their data will not be sold and they won't be spying on customers. This begs the question — why did they need the law passed in the first place?

Is Google's VPN secure?

Google Pixel and Pixel XL

Episode 1358

Mark from Grand Rapids, MI

Mark finally got a Google Pixel XL, which was on back order. Leo says it's been widely known that they're only available in limited quantities right now. It's likely that the demand exceeded Google's expectation. Mark says he likes the Wi-Fi assistant because it'll automatically connect via VPN. Does it really work? Leo says yes. Phones can be a bit promiscuous with random hotspots. So Google adds an encrypted connection via VPN to protect users. Leo says he doesn't really like joining Wi-Fi access points automatically, so he's turned it off.