Why do advertising banners usually show exactly the products that you have previously viewed on the web? The answer is tracking. Tracking systems log every step you take on the Web. If you don't want to become transparent, you should optimize your privacy and security settings in the menu.
Web tracking and analysis systems try to find out as much as possible about users and their systems. This data is intended to enable advertisers to place targeted advertising banners and product information. But the data can also be used to create profiles about usage habits.
Tracking may make you pay too much for your vacation
Tracking scripts recognize, for example, the technical equipment of users or notice that someone has already looked at the same product several times. All this information is then analyzed in real time. But not only that. One method used in online retailing is "dynamic pricing." At its core, it simply states that prices in a web store are not static, but change over time.
However, it can also make you pay too much. Consumer centers have found out, for example, that the same hotel booking can be obtained at different prices depending on whether the user is looking at the offer with his desktop or with his smartphone. In other stores, technical devices cost more if the customer surfs through the store with an Apple device. The idea behind this is apparently that customers who have spent more on hardware should also pay more for other products. So taking measures against tracking not only ensures more privacy, it can also save you money.
How to protect yourself from tracking
- First, change your basic browser settings. In many programs, you can activate the "Do Not Track" function. In Chrome, for example, under "Settings", "Privacy and security", "Cookies and other website data", you can activate the option "Send a 'Do Not Track' request with browser accesses". In Edge, you can find this in the advanced settings under "Privacy, Search and Services". In Firefox, you also access the "Settings" and then use the options from the "Improved protection against activity tracking" section. However, unfortunately not all providers adhere to this stipulation by the browser.
- Surf in private mode. Using the browser's "private" or "incognito" mode also makes the work of trackers more difficult. This allows cookies, but they are deleted again after the session. However, this is also a radical method, because some cookies can be practical. They store, for example, when you have successfully logged in to a provider. The next time you go to the website, the cookie signals that you have already been there, saving you the trouble of re-entering your user name and password.
How it works:
The steps may vary slightly depending on your browser version.
Important to know: Even when you are browsing in private mode, your activities are not anonymous. Every time you search the Internet or visit a website, your IP address is sent along and stored by the operator of the visited site.
- Clear your browsing history. If you have forgotten to browse in private mode or do not use this feature, then you can clear your browsing history with the following steps:
- Block pop-ups. Pop-ups can be notifications, advertisements or other notices. They appear in a new tab, above or below your browser window, or directly in your current window.
Important to know: Certain web pages require pop-ups for important functionality. You can approve the display of pop-ups for defined web pages.
How it works
- Check which cookie settings you have set in the browser. In any case, it is recommended to disable the "Accept third-party cookies" option. This already successfully prevents many methods for tracking.
- Install a special program for your browser that prevents tracking and only executes useful cookies and scripts. Setting up such apps is also always a matter of trust. Thus, there have also been cases in the past where the application prevented tracking but collected data about the users itself. Examples of useful extensions that have already been compared by Stiftung Warentest are: Adblock Plus, Cliqz Add-on, NoScript, Privacy Badger, uBlock Origin.