In terms of the modern-day gadgets that fill our lives, convenience is something of a two-way street. For every great new device we purchase, we seem to have to give up a little bit of our privacy in return. In reality, this isn’t necessarily the case. There are a number of beautifully simple steps that you can take right now to stop your gadgets from spying on you for the foreseeable future. All you have to do is know the full extent of the problem you’re trying to solve and where, specifically, you need to look for the solution.

  1. Clear Those Cookies

Cookies aren’t just a way to make websites load faster the second time you visit them. They also store a huge amount of information about what you’re doing on those sites that could be sold to the highest bidder. Set your Internet browser to automatically clear cookies after every session for the best results – you can find this option in the “Privacy” screen.


  1. Disable Location Services

Most smartphones are tracking a huge amount of information about your location and other activities from the moment you turn them on for the first time. Always go into the “Settings” application and find the “Location Services” option. Take a look at every app or function that has permission to view your location and disable whatever you don’t feel comfortable with. You can also often force apps to ask permission before they view your location data – this is the case with all iPhone models, for example.


  1. Put a Piece of Tape Over Your Camera

If you think the little indicator light on your laptop computer’s camera will save you from being spied on without your knowledge, think again. Hackers who know what they’re doing can remotely activate the camera without your knowledge, recording everything that happens in front of the lens. The solution? Simple – just put a piece of electrician’s tape over the camera until you’re ready to use it. Problem solved!


  1. Purchase the Right Equipment

If you’re truly concerned that your devices may be spying on you, it might be time to invest in the right equipment. The VoiceKeeper FSM-U1 Cellphone Scrambler, for example, is a professional grade cell phone scrambler that offers the highest grade cell phone encryption available on the market today. Just purchase one for your phone and one for whoever you’re talking to during conversations you want to protect, and nobody will be able to hear a thing.


  1. Two-Factor Authentication

The importance of activating two-factor authentication on any device or account that you own simply cannot be overstated enough. Even if someone learns an account password, they still won’t be able to gain access without physical access to a secondary device like your smartphone.


  1. Update Everything Whenever You Can

You should always make it a priority to update EVERY device you own – from computers to tablets to smartphones to the software that runs on them – whenever the option becomes available. Many people don’t realize that updates aren’t just for fixing bugs and adding new features – they often include security patches that close loopholes that others may be using to spy on you.


  1. Pay Attention to the News and Know Which Gadgets NOT to Buy

Finally, we have a tip that won’t necessarily help if you already own an affected device, but nevertheless is important to know for the future. Always pay attention to tech blogs and other news sources for information on devices with massive privacy concerns. Case in point: Recently, Vizio came under fire when it was revealed that certain models of its smart TVs collected and viewed more data than they were originally letting on. A few years ago, Samsung came under fire for the fact that certain models were randomly activating their built-in cameras to spy on their owners. Make privacy a part of your research before you buy any type of electronic device.