What is Global Privacy Control? How organizations are teaming up to prevent your personal data from being sold

Hand typing on computer
The Global Privacy Control feature is a setting in some browsers and plug-ins designed to protect you against websites selling your personal data.

  • The Global Privacy Control (GPC) feature is a setting in some browsers and plug-ins to tell websites not to sell your personal data.
  • GPC is found in a small number of browsers and plug-ins, and compliance is optional.
  • The GPC is being developed by a consortium of tech companies and publishers.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

The Global Privacy Control (GPC) is a technology initiative being spearheaded by a group of publishers and technology companies to create a global setting in web browsers that allows users to control their privacy online. This means you should be able to set the GPC control in your browser to prevent websites from selling your personal data.

Why the Global Privacy Control feature is important

In recent years, there has been increasing scrutiny on privacy rights online. In 2018, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) went into effect, limiting the data websites can collect on EU citizens. The California Consumer Privacy Act (CCPA) is a similar legislative measure that went into effect in California in 2020.

While there is enhanced interest in online privacy and some governments are taking steps to limit what websites can do with user data, there is no global way for users to opt-out of having their personal information sold or used in ways they don’t approve of. Every website that needs to comply with legal mandates – or simply implement more progressive privacy policies – must implement an opt-out mechanism on its own.

The GPC is built to inform websites not to sell user data. This is different from other privacy tools that might limit tracking but might still allow user data to be sold (or to sell that data itself).

What is the Global Privacy Control feature 1
Some organizations offer the ability for users to opt-in to their privacy control feature.

When fully implemented, the GPC may allow you to opt-out of having your personal data sold by the websites you visit.

Status of the Global Privacy Control feature

Buoyed by these new laws, the GPC is intended to be a single, global setting users can activate in their web browser that signals to all websites the user’s intention about their data privacy.

Currently, the specification is being written by an informal consortium of more than a dozen organizations including the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), the National Science Foundation, The New York Times, Mozilla, The Washington Post, and Consumer Reports.

The specification that will govern how the GPC will be implemented and behave is still in development, though in principle, it simply allows a website to read a value (such as Sec-GPC-field-value = “1”) to know that the user has chosen to opt-out of having their data sold.

A number of web browsers and browser extensions have implemented the GPC in its draft form. Moreover, adoption of the GPC privacy settings carries no legal weight. If you use a browser or extension with the GPC feature, at this time no websites are obligated to respect its setting – compliance with the GPC is voluntary.

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How to change your background on Zoom so people on your video call can’t see inside your home

Zoom call on tablet
You can use Zoom backgrounds to obscure your surroundings and keep your home private.

  • You can change your background on Zoom to any image by adjusting your settings in the app.
  • Zoom’s backgrounds can be fun and have the added benefit of privacy.
  • For the best results, you may want to use a green screen for your Zoom background.
  • Visit Insider’s Tech Reference library for more stories.

While working from home, we’ve grown accustomed to using Zoom for work and for fun, so you’ve probably seen people change the scenery behind them while using Zoom’s virtual backgrounds.

This feature allows you to change your background to one of Zoom’s presets or to a photo or video you upload yourself.

While it’s fun to change your surroundings to a funny photo, there is the added benefit of privacy. Working from home doesn’t mean we want coworkers to gain a glimpse into our homes, and the feature is great if you haven’t had time to declutter your workspace.

Changing your background is easy. For the best results, you may want to purchase a green screen but it’s not necessary.

Also, for virtual backgrounds to appear, the admin of the call (which may be you) may have to enable the feature.

How a green screen can improve your Zoom backgrounds

If a clean, quality background is important for your work, you may want to consider using a green screen.

Green screening is an old filmmaking technique also known as “chroma keying.” We’ll save the history lesson, but the basic idea is a uniform background in high contrast with the color of human skin tones is easier to digitally paste over with another image.

Consistent, uniform lighting also helps separate you from the background, whether or not you have a green screen behind you.

You’ll also want to avoid wearing green unless you prefer to look like a floating head with floating arms.

Without a green screen, your virtual background may look imperfect or “glitchy” at times with objects of the room you’re in. For casual and most work settings, this is not a big deal.

But if you’re giving a presentation or livestreaming, you probably want the viewer’s focus centered on you instead of a distracting background.

What is Zoom? A comprehensive guide to the wildly popular video-chatting service for computers and smartphonesHow to blur your Skype background before a call begins or during a call, and hide a messy or distracting roomHow to change your background in Google Meet before or during a meetingHow to change your background on Microsoft Teams before or during a meeting

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