privacy

How can I prevent Google from knowing everything about me?

Google

Episode 1541

Derek from Costa Mesa, CA

Derek has to create a Google account, but he wants to prevent Google from having his information. He tried to use an app to mask his phone, but it won't work. Can he use a burner phone? Leo says that he'll have to jump through a lot of hoops to prevent it, but it can be done. A burner phone will work. Then he can create a Google Voice number to use with that. Or he can just put the burner into his car for emergencies. But every time he searches, Google will know what he searched for, even when he's using a private window. The reality is, his phone carrier and ISP will know everything.

Is FakeSpot a good plugin for my browser?

Fakespot

Episode 1533

Alexander from Los Angeles, CA

Alex has a browser plugin called Fakespot, which checks the reviews on Amazon to determine if they are legit or not. It promises to weed out the bogus ones. Leo says that's an interesting concept, but he has concerns that the plugin is selling his search data. He'll want to read the privacy policy and see if they are in compliance with the EU GDPR regulations. It will also send him targeted ads. It's not really a big deal, but at least he can opt-out.

Will a VPN keep my web traffic private?

Episode 1522

David from Anaheim, CA

David is thinking about installing a home VPN. Leo says he understands the security concerns, but he won't like using it for very long. It will really slow down his bandwidth. Leo recommends a service called CloudFlare. It changes his DNS to 1.1.1.1, and then masks his traffic so his ISP doesn't know where he's going. He can set it at the router level and he will protect every device in his house.

How can I make my home network secure from my work computer?

Episode 1517

Andy from New Jersey

Andy works as a remote IT guy and he's discovered that the company spies on his network. Leo says one way to solve this issue is to disconnect the XFinity router from the company computer. But if they insist on an always on connection, the Tiny Hardware Firewall may be a good solution. It'll connect to the VPN through a separate router and they wouldn't see any other traffic. Another way to do this, is to get rid of the XFinity router and use your own, like the Ubiquity Edge Router X, which gives you discreet lan options.

Is my DNA safe with testing companies?

DNA

Episode 1490

Steven from San Antonio, TX

Steven wants to know if doing DNA analysis is safe and secure. How does he make sure that information is protected? Leo says that's a good question, and people do have the right to have their information protected. 23andMe, for instance, has a privacy policy that users must agree to, and they are very committed to keeping it secure.

(Disclaimer: 23andMe is a sponsor)

How can I encrypt and anonymize my web use?

Anonymous

Episode 1485

Jim from Indianapolis, IN

Jim called in to talk about how the Department of Homeland Security is monitoring not only the free press, but also bloggers, podcasters, and vloggers. Jim wonders if he should use a VPN as a hedge against that. Leo says that while anonymizing his content is a natural reaction, and while a VPN could be a useful tool, but it's not a privacy tool. In fact, encrypting his traffic shines a light on him more than just being a part of the "background noise." Also, a VPN only encrypts the traffic along the way.