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Clark Librarian Shares Tips on How to Stay Safe Online

(Graphic by Mary Guevara)

The Clark College library hosted a webinar on protecting personal data and security online on April 14. Marisol Moreno Ortiz, a reference and instruction librarian, hosted the webinar and shared her top tips for staying safe online. 

The purpose of the webinar was to give basic instruction on preventing safety or data breaches in a person’s online life. Ortiz stressed the importance of online privacy. 

“I have a responsibility to protect the intellectual freedom of library patrons,” said Ortiz.

According to Ortiz, it is important that online patrons are well-versed in the online tools designed to protect identity and autonomy. These tools prevent users from being tracked online. 

Limited tracking from the government makes activism and protests safer in online spaces. It also gives vulnerable populations more access to resources.

User awareness of what personal information about them is available online is another important topic of online safety and privacy. There are three categories of personal online information: search engine information, metadata and social media information.

Search engine information can be obtained through search history, web tracking and targeted advertisements. Metadata information covers things like geolocation, IP addresses and browser and operating system data. Social media can reveal contact information, social network use, photos and other data or information.

To protect against these data breaches, Ortiz recommended strong passwords, multi-factor authentication, password managers, special internet browsers such as Tor, browser extensions like ad blockers and search engines such as DuckDuckGo.  All of these are designed to protect a user’s privacy.

The best place to start with safety online is adding a browser extension, according to Ortiz.

If people have more questions or want more information, they can reach out to Ortiz or other librarians via email. 

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