Opt out of data collection

Counterintuitive as it may seem, using multiple email addresses could simplify your email life. Use a different address for each of your streaming subscriptions to make it easier to reset that part of your life. Use a different address for newsletters. Donations should use another address. If you join a local group to help out in an assigned role, find out if they already have an address for your role or create one so you can pass it on when you retire.

Some good free email providers, beyond what you may already know (Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo, and AOL), include Proton Mail (proton.me/mail) and Zoho Mail (zoho.com/mail). You can even get an iCloud email address without using an Apple device by creating an Apple ID at appleid.apple.com (look to the upper right to create your ID).

Many products sold on Amazon are made in other countries, often China. Cultivate (wecultivate.us) offers a browser plugin to find alternative deals and shows where the products are made. This plugin makes use of affiliate commissions, and if you wish to donate your savings to a suggested charities (what they call Pay it Forward), you will have to give the plugin permission to know which sites you visit so it can check whether the site is in one of their partner networks. If you already use a shopping or coupon add-on in your browser, consider this one for its added Amazon source checking.

Consumer Reports is helping people opt out of data collected by data brokers and sold to advertisers with apps for iPhone and Android. Go to permissionslipcr.com to download and install this app. After making an account, submit requests to companies to learn what data they have and to request opting out of data sharing and selling. The app will follow up on your requests.

If you think using tricks to obfuscate your email address online, like “bill [at] scobie [dot] net” works, you haven’t reckoned with ChatGPT. It can easily identify addresses, so if you are going to publicize your address for human use, just go ahead and return to standard use, like bill@scobie.net.

Fakespot, a service to help spot fake or false reviews on sites like Amazon, eBay, Walmart, and more, will soon be built into Firefox. You can install the plugin now (fakespot.com), but when it’s integrated into Firefox it will be another tool to help you shop smarter.

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