Many users have been dropping Facebook, ceasing to use social media, or looking into the data that’s been collected about them. But if you think that what Facebook knows about you is scary, check out what Google knows about you.
Dylan Curran, an information technology consultant, took a look at just what Google knew about him. Even with his experience as a web developer, he was shocked. “I was really like: ‘Oh, my God. This is preposterous,’” Curran said. When he requested his data from Google, he found that it was constantly tracking his location in the background, including calculating how long it took to travel between different points, along with his hobbies, interests, possible weight, income, data on his apps, and records of files he had deleted. But that was just the tip of the iceberg.
Although Curran thinks what Google is doing is harmless and not at all malicious (we’ll agree to disagree there), he did say it’s a little unsettling that the tech giant knows so many things about him and he feels uncomfortable now that he knows how closely he’s being tracked.
“It’s wrong to trust any entity that big with so much information,” he said. “They’re just trying to make money,” and at some point, “someone is going to make a mistake.” But this information and revelation definitely struck a chord with some, and they aren’t happy about it. Curran’s original tweet now has 159,000 talking about it.
“All Google users are being tracked by default in terms of physically where [they’re] going and located,” Scott J. Shackelford, an associate business professor at Indiana University focusing on cybersecurity law and policy said, according to NBC News. “That is shocking to a lot of people.”
A spokesperson for Google wanted the public to know that everyone needs to be aware of their online privacy choices and review them regularly. “In order to make the privacy choices that are right for them, it’s essential that people can understand and control their Google data,” the spokesperson wrote in an email. “Over the years, we’ve developed tools like My Account expressly for this purpose, and we’d encourage everyone to review it regularly.”
Google has made an array of privacy tools available through the My Account feature. It will allow users see their personal data and tracking history. It also allows people to turn off tracking mechanisms or delete individual pieces of data they want gone from the archives.