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How to stop ads from following you around online

How to stop ads from following you around online
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In this age of personalized ads and online user profiling, we are understandably concerned about the digital tracks we are leaving behind. Your browsing and search habits get collected, cataloged, analyzed and you become a statistic - an alphanumeric code to be processed by an algorithm.

The "personal" in personalized ads is actually quite an impersonal process - your details are just data bits and pieces that get crunched to make marketing more efficient.

Online behavioral advertising, which is also sometimes called "interest-based advertising," uses information gathered through your browser about your visits over time and across different websites. This helps predict your preferences and show you ads that are more likely to be of interest to you.

This is the reason why ads sometimes appear to follow you from site to site, even from device to device, and they seem to know what you've been searching for online.

Sometimes, all this stalking and creeping and tracking and snooping can feel a little bit too much. It's almost like a blatant invasion of privacy.

1.) Wipeout history, turn off cookies

First order of business, for a clean slate, clear all your browsing data, history, cache and cookies from your web browsers then disable or limit tracking on your gadget or even services like Facebook. Click here for detailed instructions on how to do this.

Next, make sure you delete all third-party advertising cookies too. Click here for more tips on how to clear out these types of cookies.

Advertisers record and store your online habits on your computer as a small file called a cookie. You can remove these yourself, but they'll just keep coming back.

In the advertising world, cookies are used in many different ways. Online advertising companies use cookies to help deliver ads and track their performance. Cookies provide information about how many times an advertisement has been seen, which browsers have received it, and what sites were being visited when it appeared.

Next, test your browser with an online security and privacy checker like Panopticlick. Developed by the Electronic Frontier Foundation, this site collects information about the browser you're using and will tell you your risk level.

Next page: If you're concerned about leaving your digital tracks, click here for more ways to minimize them
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