why privacy matters to illumy (and what to look for from other web companies)

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We at illumy are all-in on user privacy.

As stated in our Privacy Policy,

illumy is not in the business of selling your information. We consider this information to be a vital part of our relationship with you and the services that we provide.

Why we take privacy seriously

First, we want you to feel empowered to use illumy as you see fit. Across emails, messages, photos, videos, documents, and more, you should be confident that your content will stay private.

Second, we see privacy and security as a differentiator for illumy. Ever mention a product in conversation, then see it in scarily targeted ads shortly thereafter? We DON’T want this to be part of the illumy experience.

Finally, there’s the fact that the internet is simply a not-very-private place. Our vision for illumy is a platform where you can communicate securely, protected from the bad stuff on the web.

How browsing the web puts your privacy at risk

A recent report from the nonprofit Irish Council for Civil Liberties tells the story of how much “bad stuff” is out there. In the U.S., the group says, a person’s online activity and location is exposed an average of 747 times per day.

Where is all this data going, and who is collecting it? Advertising firms and data brokers are to blame. These firms quietly collect and sell your personal information as you navigate the internet.

Across the U.S. and Europe, nearly 200 trillion (with a T) personal-data broadcasts are recorded each year.

For the companies involved, your lack of privacy is big business. ICCL estimates that the personal information market is worth well over $100 billion each year.

You can protect your privacy — here’s what to look for

The good news is, you can fight back against the collection and sale of your personal data. Here’s some basic tips to get started.

1. Only do business with companies, like illumy, that respect user privacy.

Some organizations, like illumy, DuckDuckGo, and Mozilla, are known privacy hawks. For all the rest, you may want to take a close look at how your data is handled.

Combing through privacy policies has gotten a little easier in the wake of Europe’s data collection law, known as GDPR. To comply with the regulation, businesses have to publish their privacy policies in clear, readable language.

Resources like this guide from the Washington Post explain what to look for when reading about privacy.

2. Use a VPN to shield your browsing activity.

VPNs, or virtual private networks, route your data traffic through a private server before it reaches the public internet. This can protect your browsing activity from snoops and even from your ISP.

Check out our VPN explainer for more details on what the technology can and can’t do as a privacy-guarding measure.

3. Download programs that keep your data locked down.

Antivirus programs are no longer a necessity on modern operating systems. What matters more, particularly when it comes to privacy, are the programs you’re using to connect to the web.

Consider a browser with a “privacy-first” philosophy, like Brave or Firefox. Choose privacy-focused tools like the DuckDuckGo search engine. And install a tracker-blocking extension, like Privacy Badger, on all of your web browsers.

Photo by Nijwam Swargiary on Unsplash.

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