A broom sweeping up digital footprints.

When you download an app, share a digital photo, or set up a smart speaker in your home, your personal data is at risk of being exploited by tech and other companies. Most of us have no idea that we’re vulnerable to such intrusions—even if we spend hours reading long, dense “terms of service” agreements and privacy agreements.

Consumer Reports is committed to helping you take back control of your personal data. This month, we’re sharing a variety of tips you can put to use immediately, such as managing your passwords, changing your smartphone settings, and stopping the routine sharing of your data that happens when you conduct a web search.

It’s also why we’ve created a new Digital Lab to advance and protect your rights in the digital age. In recent years, CR has exposed hidden risks in products, apps, and services. This new lab will expand on that work to make sure you have the tools you need to safely navigate the digital marketplace and make smart choices about products and services that are ever more complex. By bringing our trusted product testing, investigative journalism, and advocacy to bear on the digital world, we hope to hold corporate giants accountable for data security, privacy, and fair marketplace competition the same way we’ve always held industries accountable for safety and performance.

From the Equifax data breach to the exploitation of our private Facebook profiles in political campaigns, we understand that privacy violations and data abuse are a hidden threat of this connected world. With CR’s help, you’ll be armed with the information you need to engage with new technologies on your terms—without having to compromise your personal data.

Editor’s Note: This article also appeared in the October 2019 issue of Consumer Reports magazine.