Recently there have been news about how Facebook tracks user data to the detail. While you have been worried about that, here is something to kick you while you are already down. Even Google does.
This shouldn’t be a shock or a surprise, because it makes sense. Why? How else would technology grow? Without collecting user data, there is no such thing called “Artificial Intelligence”. AI is possible only through machine learning and in order to build, one has to feed data or collect data as much as possible to make it worthy.
So we all know Google tracks us. So here are the basic way to make sure you are not being tracked by Google. This may not be 100% effective, but this is being cautious.
Here are few things that Google stores — the things that might surprise you:
- It stores your location even if you have your GPS turned off. Vist this link https://www.google.com/maps/timeline?pb — Little tip, even if you pause the activity here, it doesn’t mean it turns off location reporting or location services from your device.
- Next is your Google activities such as the searches, web history, app history everything. This can be found here — myactivity.google.com/myactivity — Deleting your search history or phone history won’t change anything unless you go “Activity Controls” and pause it. Pausing it also does not mean Google does not store, but atleast it will be limited.
- Make sure to check this page often and remove the permission from the apps when not in use https://myaccount.google.com/permissions — this contains the applications and type of access each app hold.
- Here is a big load of bolt — https://takeout.google.com/settings/takeout — google lets you download user(yours) data from all of its services, even the deleted ones. This includes search history, download history, pictures, audio files and videos — basically everything. And here is something much scarier — you can’t do anything about this. It’s just there.
This is not to scare you or make you stop using the services. I mean, these things are necessary if you want to use modern technology such as Google. However, personally I think saving these information even after user chooses to delete them? It leaves me flabbergasted.
As a cybersecurity anlayst myself and an employee of a corporate company, I know everyone working for Google will not have access to these information. However, there is someone — always — someone who has hands on these information IF they want to. I am sure that person would be fired on spot if they access it without “special” request from the law enforcement, but still I do not think storing data upto every detail is necessary.
I just feel everyone should be aware of the information that is being stored and try to re-shape how you use it. Like, turn off search history (Google & Youtube), browsing history, use incognito window as often as possible.