TIME Super Bowl

How to Watch the Super Bowl Online for Free

Super Bowl
Jonathan Ferrey—Getty Images Cornerback Richard Sherman #25 of the Seattle Seahawks takes the field for the 2014 NFC Championship against the San Francisco 49ers at CenturyLink Field on January 19, 2014 in Seattle, Washington.

Cord-cutters rejoice

In years past, trying to watch the Super Bowl online might have left you feeling deflated. But this year the cord-cutters among us have lots of solid options for streaming the big game.

Let’s take a look at your two best choices:

1. NBC’s livestream. Super Bowl broadcaster NBC is offering up a free livestream of Sunday’s game that starts well ahead of the 6:30 p.m. ET kickoff. And unlike lots of other TV streaming solutions, you won’t have to prove you’re a cable subscriber to tune in.

NBC is airing pre- and post-game coverage, the game itself and Katy Perry’s halftime show on desktop and tablets to promote its new TV everywhere plan. Desktop users can catch NBC’s Super Bowl coverage starting at noon ET Sunday on NBC.com; tablet users should download the NBC Sports Live Extra app for iOS or Android.

2. Via Verizon Wireless. NBC’s free stream won’t work on your phone because of an exclusive deal between the NFL and Verizon. If you happen to be a Verizon customer, you can stream the Super Bowl on your phone for free if you’ve got a More Everything plan; other Verizon customers will have to shell out $5 for the privilege. Either way, Verizon subscribers can use the NFL Mobile app for iOS or Android to catch the action.

So that’s it! Enjoy the Super Bowl, and remember that if you’re streaming the game on your computer, there are lots of good ways to beam it over to your big-screen TV.

TIME China

Agent Carter, Empire Gone From Chinese Streaming Sites

Kelsey McNeal/ABC Atwell as Peggy Carter in Agent Carter.

A crackdown on foreign media appears to have taken its toll

More U.S. television shows were removed from Chinese streaming services in what appears to be the latest consequences of the state censor’s crackdown on foreign series.

Shows like Agent Carter, Empire, and Shameless disappeared from multiple streaming portals this week, the L.A. Times reports.

Amid a campaign by the government of President Xi Jinping to sanitize the Internet in China, the country’s state censor, the State Administration of Press, Publication, Radio, Film and Television, said last year that foreign shows — which have soared in popularity in China — would require government approval for the entire series before episodes aired online. Foreign series, the regulator also said, could only account for one third of programming on the online streaming sites, according to the Times.

Since then, shows like The Big Bang Theory have been pulled from streaming sites, typically without explanation.

Despite the rancor on social media after the latest purge, it remained unclear why the specific shows were removed, according to the Times.

[LA Times]

TIME movies

Here’s Where You Can Watch Oscar-Nominated Movies Online

See 'Boyhood' and 'The Grand Budapest Hotel' from the comfort of your own home

Following the revelation of the 2015 Oscar nominations Thursday morning, the race has begun to see the nominated films before the Feb. 22 Academy Awards broadcast.

Although many films including Birdman and American Sniper are only available on the big screen, some Academy-favorites are available to watch online. Here’s an alphabetical list of every Oscar-nominated movie you can watch from the comfort of your own home:

Begin Again: Amazon, iTunes
Nomination: Best Original Song (Lost Stars)

The Boxtrolls: Amazon, iTunes
Nomination: Best Animated Feature

Boyhood: Amazon, iTunes
Nominations: Best Picture, Best Supporting Actor (Ethan Hawke), Best Supporting Actress (Patricia Arquette), Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Film Editing

Captain America: The Winter Soldier: Amazon, iTunes
Nomination: Best Visual Effects

Crisis Hotline: Veterans Press 1: Amazon, HBO
Nomination: Best Documentary Short

Dawn of the Planet of the Apes: Amazon, iTunes
Nomination: Best Visual Effects

Finding Vivian Maier: Amazon, iTunes
Nomination: Best Documentary Feature

Gone Girl: Amazon, iTunes
Nomination: Best Actress (Rosamund Pike)

The Grand Budapest Hotel: Amazon, iTunes
Nominations: Best Picture, Best Cinematography, Best Director, Best Original Screenplay, Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Original Score, Best Costume Design, Best Film Editing, Best Production Design

Guardians of the Galaxy: Amazon, iTunes
Nominations: Best Makeup and Hairstyling, Best Visual Effects

How to Train Your Dragon 2: Amazon, iTunes
Nomination: Best Animated Feature

Ida: Amazon, iTunes, Netflix
Nominations: Best Cinematography, Best Foreign Language Film

The LEGO Movie: Amazon, iTunes
Nomination: Best Original Song (Everything is Awesome)

The Judge: Amazon, iTunes
Nominations: Best Supporting Actor (Robert Duvall)

Last Days in Vietnam: Amazon, iTunes
Nomination: Best Documentary Feature

Maleficent: Amazon, iTunes
Nominations: Best Costume Design

Virunga: Netflix
Nomination: Best Documentary Feature

X-Men: Days of Future Past: Amazon, iTunes
Nomination: Best Visual Effects

Read next: This is the Full List of Oscar Nominations

Listen to the most important stories of the day.

TIME Research

What Your Online Persona Says About Who You Really Are

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Getty Images

Does who you are online match who you are in real life? A new study published in the journal Personality and Social Psychology Bulletin shows that avatars, the little icons you can customize in video games and Internet forums, are pretty good depictions of the people who created them.

Since more and more people meet and develop friendships and relationships online, researchers at York University in Toronto looked into whether the impressions people get from avatars, like the kind you use on Nintendo Wii and World of Warcraft, are true reflections of the real-life players they’re interacting with. To measure this, the researchers had about 1oo people create an avatar representation of themselves, and then asked nearly 200 others to rate the avatars on openness, conscientiousness, extraversion, agreeableness and neuroticism.

The results show that traits like being outgoing or anxious are pretty easy to assess, but other traits like conscientiousness and openness to new experiences are more difficult. People with agreeable traits were better able to get their personalities across through their avatars than narcissists.

Katrina FongExample of avatars used in the study

Specific physical traits of the online characters helped translate personalities more than others. Smiles, brown hair, sweaters and open eyes were more likely to come across as friendly and inviting, compared to avatars with neutral expressions or those that didn’t smile. Avatars with black hair, a hat, short hair or sunglasses were less likely to come across as friendly or desiring friendship.

Interestingly, the people in the study didn’t seem to apply usual gender stereotypes to the avatars, though avatars made by females were rated as more open and contentious over all. The researchers speculate that perhaps the digital realm has gender stereotypes that differ from the ones we more commonly experience offline.

“The findings from this study suggest that we can use virtual proxies such as avatars to accurately infer personality information about others,” the study authors conclude. “The impressions we make on others online may have an important impact on our real life, such as who becomes intrigued by the possibility of our friendship.”

MONEY pay TV

3 Moves to Cut Your Cable Bill Right Now

Roger Lynch, chief executive officer for Sling TV LLC, speaks at a press conference during the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., on Monday, Jan. 5, 2015. Dish Network Corp. plans to unveil the first major online television service from a cable or satellite company, a $20-a-month set of 12 channels that targets U.S. customers who don't want to pay for larger, more expensive TV packages. ]
Michael Nagle—Bloomberg via Getty Images Roger Lynch, chief executive officer for Sling TV LLC, speaks at a press conference during the 2015 Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S., on Monday, Jan. 5, 2015.

The annoying fees on your monthly Internet-TV bill probably just rose. But there's an easy trick to stop paying some fees entirely. There's also a new way to cut your bill down to just $20 a month.

According to the NPD Group, the average pay TV subscription package in the U.S. cost $86 per month in 2011, and projections call for that figure to hit $200 as soon as 2020. Thankfully, however, we may never get there. And there’s no reason you personally should be anywhere near there. The emergence of more options for cord cutters and a long-awaited increase in competition from satellite and streaming upstarts should loosen pay TV giants’ stranglehold on America’s monthly TV bills.

Lowering your pay TV bill is very possible right now, though it’s up to you to take action. Here are three suggestions, based on recent shifts in what’s being offered in the marketplace:

1. Buy Your Own Modem
How much you’ll save: $96 to $120 a year

Cable TV companies have been experiencing a net loss of subscribers, and it’s no mystery why: The combination of awful customer service and rising monthly bills from pay TV giants, plus expanded streaming options for Internet-only viewing, have together chased consumers away from traditional bloated and overpriced pay TV packages.

Comcast and Time Warner Cable understand that blatantly jacking up monthly package prices is likely to turn even more customers into cord cutters. So as a sneaky alternative, both just hiked an assortment of fees instead. Specifically, both raised the rental fees for customers using the company’s modems. You might not even notice the fee on your bill because the word “modem” isn’t stated; instead a vague “Voice/data Equipment” line item is listed. For Comcast customers, that line item went up from $8 to $10 per month at the start of the year. Time Warner Cable, meanwhile, raised its monthly modem fee from $5.99 to $8, a hike of over 30%, while also boosting the monthly nickel-and-dime sports channel fee (on top of your regular package price) from $2.25 to $2.75.

These bill hikes may seem like small potatoes—a few bucks extra per month—but they’re galling nonetheless because they’re cash cows for pay TV companies and, in the case of the modem at least, there’s an easy way to drop the fee to $0. David Lazarus, the consumer beat columnist for the Los Angeles Times, noted that anyone can simply purchase a Time Warner-compatible modem for $90 to $130 rather than leasing one. By raising modem fees, the pay TV companies give customers more reason than ever to go this route, as the investment will pay off sooner, roughly in a year. (Lazarus also pointed out the shady way that Time Warner Cable upgraded customer modems “for free” recently, only to follow up with a monthly fee hike; it’s just this sort of deceptive double talk that insults customers’ intelligence and will push subscribers away, if for no other reason than spite.)

A Motley Fool post reports that both Comcast and Time Warner Cable have web pages that list modems available for purchase that will work with their respective Internet services. In some cases, compatible modems cost as little $70, the same amount you’d pay to rent one from Comcast for just seven months.

2. Switch to Dish’s Sling TV $20 Streaming Package
How much you’ll save: $360 or more per year

On Monday, the Dish Network announced a new streaming service that could very well upend pay TV as we know it. It’s a streaming service called Sling TV that offers an online package of 11 channels for $20 per month. The package includes TNT, TBS, HGTV, CNN, Cartoon Network, Disney Channel, and, most importantly, ESPN and ESPN2. ESPN is by far the most valuable cable channel, and the prospect of losing live sports broadcasts is believed to be what’s stopped millions of subscribers from dumping their pay TV packages. “Sports is the one thing keeping many people on pay-TV services,” one analyst told Bloomberg News. That changes with the arrival of Sling TV, however, as sports fans can cut the cord and still get the two best sports channels (plus a few other channels probably enjoyed by the rest of the family) for a mere $20.

While 11 channels may seem paltry in light of the 189 channels available in the average pay TV household, bear in mind that most people only tune into only 17 channels, and some watch far fewer. When the basic 11-channel package is combined with an on-demand streaming service like Netflix and/or HBO’s standalone Go package—both of which will be available without a traditional pay TV package in 2015—you can have access to a robust selection of viewing options while still significantly cutting your monthly bill.

3. Buy an Antenna for Broadcast Networks
How much you’ll save: $72 or more per year

The one problem some—sports fans in particular—might have with the Sling TV option is that it doesn’t include access to the big “free” broadcast networks such as Fox and CBS, which at least for the time being retain most rights to air NFL games. The easy fix is to pay $30 to $100 for an HD antenna, which will provide up to 30 local TV channels (ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, PBS) in crystal clear clarity, for free.

Pay TV providers like Comcast offer basic TV packages that include only broadcast networks such as those listed above, but they’ll charge you for those “free channels,” to the tune of $6 or more per month.

Read next:
How to Break Up with Your Cable Company
5 Packages That Will Replace Pay TV as We Know It

TIME Addiction

The Best Way to Kick Your Smoking Habit

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The more techy interventions, the better

If you’re really committed to quitting smoking for good, it’s time to get tech-savvy.

A new study published in the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report shows that people who use both phone hotlines and online cessation services to help them quit are much more likely to say they’ve abstained from smoking compared to people who opt for just one or the other.

In general, smoking quitlines are proven to be successful interventions for smokers who want to kick the habit. They offer guidance, support and resources to keep quitters on track. Most quitlines also offer a web version of their services, but until now, it hasn’t been clear that more information really is better.

MORE: Here’s the Best Way to Get Someone to Quit Smoking

The new study suggests that it is. Researchers looked at 7,901 people who reported using either phone-only interventions, internet interventions only, or a combination of both. People who used both methods were significantly more likely to report they hadn’t smoked in 3o days when researchers followed up with them. The researchers speculate that dual usage may improve a quitter’s likelihood of succeeding, possibly because they’re strongly committed to their goal.

“Although telephone and Web-based interventions are effective in tobacco cessation, providing access to multiple types of cessation services might improve the odds of users in achieving long-term cessation,” the researchers write. The hope is that physicians will counsel patients on considering both interventions.

Our ever-connected climate may make this easier, and many public health initiatives are seeing success in sending educational text reminders. The National Institutes of Health (NIH) is paying particular attention to how social media and cell phones can best be used to help break addiction. In October, the NIH pledged $11 million to studying the use of social media to help understand, prevent and treat substance use and addiction.

So if you’re ready to accept the challenge of going cigarette-free in 2015, set yourself up for success and log in.

TIME Internet

Twitter Users Confess to #CrimingWhileWhite After Eric Garner Grand Jury Decision

Tweeters look to show a racial double standard in policing

Hours after a New York grand jury declined to indict the officer who killed Eric Garner in July, protests broke out both on the streets of several U.S. cities—and on the Internet.

But as many Twitter users posted with hashtags like #BlackLivesMatter, #DyingWhileBlack and #HandsUpDontShoot, some white users posted confessions to crimes they said they had gotten away with, using the hashtag #CrimingWhileWhite, with the intent of showing a racial double standard in policing.

Garner died after being grappled to the floor by several New York police officers during his arrest for selling loose cigarettes in Staten Island. His death was caught on videotape.

Jason Ross, a writer for The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon, has been credited for starting the hashtag and pushing people to share their stories:

According to Topsy, a social analytics company, the hashtag has been used in more than 225,000 tweets between Wednesday afternoon and Thursday morning. Here’s a sampling:

Read next: Behind the Video of Eric Garner’s Deadly Confrontation With New York Police

TIME Companies

Get an Inside Look at Amazon’s Massive Fulfillment Centers

Ordering holiday gifts on Amazon seems so simple. Ever wonder what happens between when you click "Checkout" and the items arrive at your door?

TIME Apps & Web

The Best Browser Privacy Tools (That Don’t Make Life More Difficult)

Privacy
Getty Images

In a year when social media giants and governments alike have made headlines for tracking users online without their consent, battening down the virtual hatches has become a vital part of Internet hygiene.

Blocking tracking technologies, however, also disables those handy auto-fill log-ins and web personalization features, preventing you from easily shopping online and making your web experience feel as if you’re back in 1999.

So we went in search of privacy tools that don’t impact your browsing experience. We tested browser tools ranging from the basic Private Mode on all browsers to full-featured ad blockers. We looked at the four most-used browsers in the United States: Chrome, Firefox, Safari and Internet Explorer. Here’s what we found to be most helpful for safeguarding your privacy and anonymity — and what measures of convenience you might have to give up if you use them.

The lowdown on cookies

Cookies are small text files that contain one or more bits of information about your computer, most commonly a user ID a website assigns you in order to keep track of your movements through the site. Cookies are often essential to using a site successfully, enabling you to check out from shopping sites or click around Facebook without having to repeatedly re-enter your password.

These first-party cookies come from the website you’re on and exist mostly to offer you a personalized web experience. Benefits include greeting you by name, giving you weather data relevant to your home location and keeping track of your achievements in a game.

It’s the third-party cookies from ads on the websites you visit that track you as you move between websites. Advertisers place these cookies in their advertisements, allowing them to follow your movements among the network of sites where they advertise.

Information about your surfing patterns goes toward compiling a profile of preferences and basic personal data — things like location, age and gender — that is used to create targeted advertising. If you’ve clicked on a lot of gardening sites, for example, targeted ad placements could even show you ads for tools or plants on non-gardening sites. If that bothers you, you can disable third-party cookies in your browser settings.

Browse in private mode

Seeing targeted advertising probably doesn’t bother most people if all they’re surfing for is news, cute cat pictures or a new iPhone. But for looking up information about something like health concerns, privacy mode allows you to browse without associating the search with your existing profile.

To open a private window in your browser:

  • Firefox: Ctrl/Cmd+Shift+P
  • Chrome: Ctrl/Cmd+Shift+N
  • Safari: Safari/Private Browsing
  • Internet Explorer: Ctrl/Cmd+Shift+P

This turns off your web history and enables the cookies necessary for the site to work but blocks third-party cookies. At the end of the session, all cookies are deleted.

The downside

Browsing in private mode does not stop the website from recording that you were there based on your IP address, which can still be tracked. And, crucially, private mode doesn’t stop social networks from tracking you. It’s best used for hiding activity on a shared computer rather than actually remaining invisible online.

Block third-party cookies

Third-party cookies aren’t the only way to track people around the Internet, but disabling them in your browser’s settings means advertisers can no longer store files on your browser to track your web surfing.

Here’s how to block third-party cookies, assuming you’re running the most recent versions of the browsers (a good idea from a security point of view):

  • Chrome: Preferences > Show Advanced Options (at the bottom) > Privacy > Content settings > Check “block third party cookies and site data.”
  • Internet Explorer: Tools > Internet Options > Privacy > Move the slider to the level of cookies you want blocked
  • Firefox: Preferences > Privacy > History > Select “Use custom settings for history,” then set “Accept third-party cookies” to Never.
  • Safari: Preferences > Privacy > Select to block cookies “from third parties and advertisers.”

The downside

Some websites require third-party cookies to work; for example, Microsoft asks you to accept cookies when downloading an update. In these cases, head into your browser settings and add the sites as exceptions.

Block the Flash super cookie

Sites may store Flash cookies on your computer regardless of whether you have allowed third-party cookies. Flash cookies can’t be easily deleted, and they may be downloaded to your computer from any website running Adobe Flash (such as sites with video or an interactive application). Designed to locally store your settings for the rich web apps that Flash enables, the capability for the Flash plug-in to allow other sites to store files in a user’s computer can also be hijacked by advertisers wanting a new way to track Internet users.

Flash cookies can identify you across different browsers on the same device and, in some cases, have been found to regenerate deleted browser cookies. Because they have far more storage (up to 100KB) than other cookies, they can contain more complex information about your habits. Like browser cookies, Flash cookies are used by websites to deliver a customized experience as well as give advertisers extra data.

Cookie cleaners and Flash player settings

Blocking Flash entirely could be an option with script-blockers such as NoScript (Firefox) or ScriptNo (Chrome). However, such plug-ins stop all Flash and Java on all pages, breaking the sites in many cases, until you can customize the settings so that trusted objects and pages can run freely. This can take a long time and represent a pain for the less technically minded.

If you use Firefox, you can download the BetterPrivacy, which automatically deletes Flash cookies as they crop up (as well as clearing cookies already there). You can also whitelist necessary Flash cookies, such as cookies used when playing a game.

If you’re not on Firefox, you’ll have to dig into your computer. First, disable future Flash cookies from being left on the machine. If you’re on a PC, open Control Panel and click on Flash player > Local Storage settings by site. You’ll find the default is “Allow All Websites to Store Data”; change it to “Block All Websites from Storing Data.” Then you can easily delete the Flash cookies by hitting the neighboring Delete All button, followed by “Delete All Site Data and Settings.”

If you’re on a Mac, change your Flash settings online at Macromedia by clicking on Global Storage Settings in the (pretty clunky) Flash-based settings manager. Uncheck the box for allowing third-party Flash content to store data on your computer. Then pull the slider for how much data third-party companies can store on your machine to None (far left).

Finally, to delete sites that have already left cookies on your computer, grab the free download CCleaner (Mac/PC), which deletes both Flash and browser cookies.

The downside

Sites including eBay use Flash cookies to verify your identity, so deleting them across the board can mean needing to re-enter passwords more frequently.

Dodge tracking you never signed up for

Microsoft recently announced it would not scan any of the content in its Outlook.com inboxes to use in targeted advertising, but Google makes no such promise with Gmail — quite the opposite.

As for the social networks, Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn track users even after they’ve signed out — and even if you don’t click on a social media sharing button. The very act of landing on a page with a social-share button means it relays back to the social network. Sophos’ security blog has a straightforward account of how Twitter does it and how you can opt out. (Remember that opting out doesn’t stop ads or the collecting of information.)

In addition, Facebook uses an alternative to tracking cookies called a conversion pixel, which advertisers affix to their ads to see how many clicks they get. So a website doesn’t need a Facebook button to let Facebook know you’ve been there.

Anti-tracker plug-in Do Not Track Me (Chrome/Firefox/Safari/Internet Explorer) stops a website from sending information back to Facebook or Google unless you actually click one of the +1 or Like buttons. It also blocks other trackers and boasts a clean, intuitive interface for customizing blocking options. The Mask My Email and Make Me A Strong Password features help deter spam and hackers. When you’re signing up for a new account, masking your email address stops potentially dodgy sites from selling your real email address, while the password option creates a hard-to-guess password (that, crucially, isn’t the same as one you already use), then saves it in the plug-in’s encrypted password manager.

On the toolbar, clicking the Do Not Track Me icon shows how many trackers it has blocked — for me, 666 in under 24 hours.

Disconnect (Chrome/Firefox/Safari/Opera) is a similar plug-in that offers the additional benefit of dividing trackers into social, analytic and advertising categories. A graph shows the time and bandwidth saved by blocking trackers requesting information, and you get the option of adding trusted sites (and their cookies) to a whitelist.

The downside

There’s little downside to taking any of these anti-tracking measures. The only thing these scrappy little guys don’t do is block ads; you’ll still see them, but they won’t be targeted based on your previous clicks.

Kill most ads

Many companies (including Facebook, Twitter and Amazon) promise to honor opt-outs for “interest-based” advertising. But while opting out stops companies from delivering targeted ads based on what you’ve clicked on, it does not stop ads based on general information such as your location or other details you may have volunteered while signing up for the account. Crucially, it doesn’t stop companies tracking you and collecting your data.

To prevent ads from showing at all, thus thwarting the purpose of tracking via third-party cookies or other means, try a plug-in such as AdBlock Plus (for Chrome/Firefox/Safari/Internet Explorer), which blocks “annoying” ads: video ads, Facebook ads, pop-ups and the like. By default, a whitelist of ads that fall under the developer’s guidelines for acceptability is allowed, but you can change this setting to disable all ads.

You can also add different filters to block more or different types of ads. For example, the anti-social filter blocks social media buttons from transmitting back to the mother ship that you were there, neatly avoiding the all-seeing Facebook eye.

AdBlock Plus also blocks trackers and websites known to deliver malware.

The downside

Blocking ads deprives sites of revenue, and many websites rely on ad revenue to stay afloat. Unless you tinker with the settings for which ads should be allowed at different sites (a process that may take a long time to complete), you may end up depriving your favorite sites of those caching clicks.

Search securely

Two-thirds of U.S. search traffic is made through Google, distantly followed by Microsoft’s Bing (19%) and Yahoo (10%). While Google’s search algorithms turn up highly relevant results for most of us (in May, 31% of all Internet traffic came from Google, versus less than 2% for Bing and Yahoo combined), there’s an additional trade-off: Search results are also personalized based on what you’ve clicked on in the past.

That may not seem like such a big deal until you consider that Google also combines your search history with other information from your Google accounts, such as YouTube and Gmail, for use in targeted ad campaigns. Search histories can reveal highly personal information such as your interests, religion or health issues, substantially filling out the information already compiled from your YouTube clicks and Gmail messages.

Instead of switching to another Big Three search engine, try DuckDuckGo, which doesn’t log your searches so that all users get the same results. In our test, searches for subjects including current events (“Hong Kong protests”), general knowledge (“why is the sky blue”) and straightforward subjects (Halloween costumes), helpful links turned up in the first half of the page. However, when we typed the more ambiguous phrase “Tuscany fall cuisine,” only Google noted that we wanted autumnal food in Italy, not the town called Tuscany Falls.

DuckDuckGo also offers many of the same convenience features as Google, including a good range of “zero-click info.” For example, type “weather in California,” “650 USD in EUR” or any calculator function such as “square root of 60,” and the answer is displayed above a list of link results.

Similarly privacy-centric search providers include Ixquick, which doesn’t store your IP address or search data (and consequently doesn’t sell any of your information), delivering results based on what the five major search engines are saying. Two or more stars indicate multiple search engines have relayed the same result. However, Ixquick lacks the uber-convenient zero-click search.

Finally, the Disconnect anti-tracker plug-in also has a separate search extension that anonymizes your searches in any of the Big Three search engines as well as DuckDuckGo itself.

The downside

Auto-complete in Google Search has been a godsend when it comes to typing searches for news and factoids you can’t quite recall. Not having a search history also means not having those purpled-out links that indicate at a glance which sites you’ve previously visited (handy when you’ve forgotten to bookmark a great source).

The all-in-one option

Not up to fine-tuning settings, cherry-picking plug-ins and switching to a new search engine?

Get a whole new browser. The Epic Browser offers privacy mode as the default and only option. Epic doesn’t store web histories, search queries or cookies. Clicking on a plug icon in the URL bar turns on a proxy feature that anonymizes your computer by routing your traffic through a U.S.-based proxy network.

Epic also blocks trackers with a handy pop-up telling you exactly how many it’s blocked — and just to rub its success in competitors’ noses, it shows how many trackers exist on the other browsers you’re using. On my computer, Firefox had 143 data-collecting trackers (including Amazon, Experian, all the social networks and a ton of ad providers); Safari had 56 (including BuzzFeed, LinkedIn and Tumblr); and my Chrome browser with Do Not Track Me Plus running let through just two (eBay and ad provider Double Click).

The downside

It’s back to the caveman days of manually typing everything in, from passwords to URLs. There’s no auto-fill feature for log-ins or website addresses, because Epic doesn’t store any history. Nor does Epic save passwords, and it doesn’t yet work with password managers, so you’ll either have to remember all your log-ins or save them on your hard drive.

Browsing completely anonymously (mostly)

All of the options we’ve discussed prevent third parties from tracking you within and across websites. However, the website can still see where you came from through your IP address, and that address could be used as an alternate means of tracking your activities. For example, a person or company who disagreed with your comments on a site could use your IP information to track you down and sue you for libel.

To hide your IP address from being uncovered, you will need to use either an anonymous web proxy or virtual private network (VPN) service. Both not only mask your IP address from the website you’re visiting, but will also prevent anyone who monitors your network (e.g., your employer) from monitoring the sites you’re visiting.

The downside

Some of these services have stronger privacy options than others, and many are still susceptible to disclosure if they receive a legal subpoena from the jurisdiction where they’re located. Read our article on VPNs and web proxies for more details.

Future tracking options

What we do online has value to companies now because of what we may buy if we’re shown the relevant advertising. Down the line, we might be the ones negotiating the worth of our web habits.

Encrypt your own web behavior

The Meeco app for iOS recently launched with the ability to log your web visits — where you visited and for how long — and save the traffic into an encrypted cloud accessible only by you. Websites can only see what you click on while you’re on them, not what you do after and before, preventing the site from building a profile of you. The software also analyzes your usage patterns so you can glean insight into your habits — the same insight brands buy from data brokers now. Eventually, the idea is to create a data framework where users can offer such data to brands in exchange for loyalty points, discounts or other incentives.

Founder and CEO Katryna Dow says an aim is to help people understand that the value of their data is invaluable — and, at the moment, immeasurable.

A Meeco browser extension for Chrome and Firefox is available in beta; currently, users must manually add favorite sites to the dashboard, then click them in order to launch the site in the browser’s (natively available) private window.

The downside

Right now, the browser extension does not save the traffic to your Meeco encrypted account (as the iOS app does), but Dow says the company is looking at including the feature in future updates.

Where to draw the privacy line

Being tracked and advertised to by the websites we use is the trade-off for a free Internet. In fact, there are some really good reasons for why you may want to be tracked online,

But not drawing our own line at how much privacy we are willing to give up could mean some companies will cross that line when it comes to where they scrape information about us. Your likes, dislikes and identifying details taken from email, private messages or personal notes could then be linked (as Google already does) to information from other facets of your online life, and companies or the government may eventually make assumptions about who you are before offering you a service. Whether you find that convenient or creepy, it’s something everyone should have control over, not default into.

What do you think? Have you downloaded browser plug-ins to control your privacy, or do you believe that targeted advertising is what makes the Internet go?

This article was written by Natasha Stokes and originally appeared on Techlicious.

More from Techlicious:

TIME Web

FTC Mandates Refunds for Online Backorders Over 30 Days

Online Shopping
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By now, most everyone has an e-retail horror story.

Mine happened several years ago when I ordered a sale priced flat-screen TV from a major tech website. My credit card was charged immediately when I placed the order, but the television never shipped. It was still back ordered months later, and every time I checked back in with the unhelpful seller, there was no new delivery date in sight. Only after I challenged the charge on my credit card statement did the website finally relent and agree to refund my money and the interest charges that accumulated while waiting.

Thankfully, these kinds of horror stories will soon be a thing of the past. This week, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) announced new rules regarding the timeliness of fulfilling online orders. In short, if a website cannot put an item in your hands in 30 days, it needs to offer you a refund. The FTC writes (PDF):

The Rule prohibits sellers from soliciting mail, Internet, or telephone order sales unless they have a reasonable basis to expect that they can ship the ordered merchandise within the time stated on the solicitation or, if no time is stated, within 30 days. The Rule further requires a seller to seek the buyer’s consent to the delayed shipment when the seller learns that it cannot ship within the time stated or, if no time is stated, within 30 days. If the buyer does not consent, the seller must promptly refund all money paid for the unshipped merchandise.

The new rule is slated to go into effect on December 8, which is good news for those of us planning on doing our holiday shopping online this year. Similar rules have existed for mail orders since 1975 and for telephone orders since 1993. You can read the full details of the updated Mail or Telephone Order Merchandise Rule by visiting www.ftc.gov.

This article was written by Fox Van Allen and originally appeared on Techlicious.

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