How your cellphone, TV, computer can all be tracking your activity, and what you can do to stop it

RALEIGH, N.C. (WTVD) -- Protecting your privacy is important when you're online or offline. No matter if you use your smartphone, TV, laptop, or even gaming console a third party could have access to your every move.

Jack Morse a security and privacy tech with Mashable says, "In some cases, companies actually monetize this data, they sell it to advertisers."

Morse explains it's not just your internet provider but also your cell phone and TV provider who have access to your every move and viewing habits.

"This can actually be pretty revealing stuff. If you watch a lot of religious programming it could maybe determine your religion. If you watch a lot of hunting programming, it could maybe infer that you own a gun."

That information can all be collected and sold to third parties if you don't take steps to limit that access or even opt-out of it.

"Deep hidden in the settings of your smart TV are options you can tweak to limit what of your data -- which data of yours is shared with third parties," Morse said.

Make sure you take these same steps with your cell phone provider too as you can make changes under account settings. If you're a Verizon customer, click here to manage your privacy setting. For T-Mobile click here and for AT&T click here.

When it comes to your computer, Morse says with so much personal information stored on it, you should encrypt it.

"It scrambles those contents so that only people with your password can see what's on your hard drive. It's basic security hygiene. It's very easy to do," Morse said.

While it may sound complicated, Morse says most computers already have encryption built-in, you just need to go to settings and turn it on.

When it comes to making your web browsing anonymous, while you may think incognito mode or private protects you, Morse says it doesn't fully do the job.

"It may be blocking cookies from downloading on your phone, but it's not going to actually hide your web activity from anyone." He recommends private browsers, like TOR which is free and run by a non-profit and makes your web browsing anonymous and blocks trackers.

While changing the privacy settings on all of your devices that can track your online activity does take time, you want to take these steps to protect your personal and financial information.
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