With all the talk surrounding what Facebook has been doing with data, people haven’t even been mentioning the information that Google collects. We’ve known for some time that the tech company was collecting data on us and now we know just what they’re collecting, reinforcing our fears.
An IT consultant, Dylan Curran, decided to find out what in particular Google knew about him. Even with his advanced knowledge regarding tech, he still wasn’t prepared for what he found out.
The Self Investigation
“I was really like, ‘Oy my God. This is preposterous,’” he said.
He decided to do a little investigation to find out just what Google had on him and requested his information from Google.
Curran discovered that Google was always tracking his location in the background. They were calculating how long it took him to get from point A to point B, app data, and the files he’d deleted. They were also keeping track of his hobbies, interests, and income and even his possible weight.
While I am sure many would disagree, he didn’t believe Google was doing anything intentionally malicious. Despite that, this knowledge did not make him feel comfortable.
“It’s wrong to trust any entity that big with so much information,” Curran contends. “They’re just trying to make money.” However, he also realizes that at some point, “someone is going to make a mistake.”
He tweeted his findings, and you probably wouldn’t be shocked to find out his posts were retweeted several times, nearly 150,000.
An associate business professor focusing on cybersecurity law and policy at Indiana University, Scott J. Shackelford, knew all of this going into Curran’s investigation, both what was being tracked and how unbelievable it is to many.
“All Google users are being tracked by default in terms of physically where [they’re] going and located,” he stated. “That is shocking to a lot of people.”
You Can Control It
We started out here comparing Google to Facebook, but Google wants you to know you are actually in control of the data they collect on you, which is unlike Facebook. Additionally, they’re not putting it in the hands of third-party apps.
“In order to make the privacy choices that are right for them, it’s essential that people can understand and control their Google data,” said a Google spokesperson. “Over the years we’ve developed tools like My Account expressly for this purpose, and we’d encourage everyone to review it regularly.”
The My Account feature allows you to turn tracking mechanisms off as well as delete some of the collected data that you don’t want included. It takes a little bit of work, but at least you have options to control it. Along with that, you can also download a copy of everything Google has on you.
Yes, Google is collecting data on you. Yes, it is a surprising amount of data and includes things that you may have never expected them to collect on you. But it’s in your control.
This is more than we can say for other companies. Yes, Facebook is in the hot seat right now, but as we published the other day, even VPNs are keeping data on you. It seems like we’re not safe with anyone.
And Google has always been the first company people name when it comes to collected data, but it’s good to know that we have at least some control with it.
Will you follow these links here and delete your data that Google is holding? Let us know in the comments section below.