Some might say the internet was built on anonymity, paving the way for a place where free speech reigns supreme.

But after years of learning about who’s snooping into everything we do online, privacy on the web is a more popular topic than ever. But it’s not just about government spying; it’s also about how much big companies like Google, Facebook, and Microsoft have collected in order to serve up targeted ads.

There are always going to be good reasons for people to go online without being tracked. It may be the only way for a real whistle-blower to get by now, considering how some have been treated.

Is it even possible to take control of your own personal privacy online? Some 28 percent of Americans are “not confident at all” that the federal government can keep their personal information safe from the prying eyes of unauthorized users, and 24 percent lack any confidence that social media sites can either, according to Pew.

Ultimately, the only way to stay truly anonymous online is to not go online at all. Since that’s not really an option for most of us, here’s a rundown of what you can do to minimize the spying, the targeted advertising, and ID theft as you explore the world online.

Check Your System

Phone Call Confidentiality
If you want to be anonymous, forget the smartphone. The big-name OS makers are control freaks (Apple) and ad servers (Google). If you want to be anonymous on a phone, your choice is a prepaid phone, a.k.a., a burner.

Even with a burner, call records exist, and you could be triangulated via a GPS. The upside of a burner is not having your real name associated with the device. And…

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