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Facebook and Google have you documented on every move you make, and every like, comment and more

These platforms have been storing unbelievable amount of data about you without you even realizing it.

  • Published: March 29, 2018 10:20 AM IST
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This is safely the highest order of creepy! Yesterday, we did a story on how there were a few reports out there, which speculate that Google continues to track your location, even when your phone is switched off. While the theory was pretty strong, there was lack of proof. But just hours later now, Twitter user Dylan Curran has created a hurricane on social media platforms by sharing a bunch of screenshots of data he found Facebook, Google and YouTube were storing of him.

How Google’s tracking you with Maps, YouTube among others

Starting with Google Maps, Curran shares how the platform has a timeline of your location and movement stored. Everytime you switch on your phone (with GPS enabled, that is) you can see a timeline from the first day you started using Google on your phone! This will include every place you have been to, with details of what time of day you were at a particular location and how long it took you to get to that location from the previous place you were at. Down to every little detail of your whereabouts, basically.

And this information tracking gets creepier when you realize, that after you blindly gave Google permissions to access all sorts of your information, Google now also stores information on every app and extension you use, how often you use them, where you use them, and who you use them to interact with. Also all the information you feed in on Google Calendars, and things you talk about during Hangouts session, music you listen to, books you purchase. Same’s with YouTube. Google knows if you are watching parenting videos, or crushing on Bruno Mars, or if your politically inclined. This not only helps it in YouTube video recommendations, but further with Google Ads.

Then there is a different set of information about you on the Activity dashboard. Curran also shares a link to the activity dashboard, where Google stores search history across all your devices on a separate database. Now, why is that scary because you can erase the history right? Well, that’s the thing. Since this a separate database where your search history is saved, even if you delete your search history and phone history, Google will still have everything until you actually go in on each of your devices and delete everything.

Then there is Google Ads! Have you ever noticed that you’re talking to your friend about, say buying a diamond, and then all you see is a flood of sponsored content on Google and Facebook with links to places you can buy diamonds online? Curran also noticed how Google creates an advertisement profile of you based on your location, gender, age, hobbies, career, interests, relationship status, and other things.

Not sure if this makes it any better, but Curran also reveals that Google lets you download all the information it has it of you. Probably, Google wants you to know, hey, we have all your information, but we are pals and you can take a look at your files whenever you want. Comforting and unnerving at the same time!

How Facebook is handling your information

Curran’s Twitter thread further talks about the currently-controversy-draped Facebook, which he says saves data on “every message you have ever sent or been sent, every file you’ve ever sent or been sent, all the contacts in your phone, and all the audio messages you’ve ever sent or been sent”. Creepily enough, it also picks up on words and emojis you most talk about and stores it in a database. So if you have been talking about Pikachu a lot lately, Facebook has already made a note regarding it and will use it to tune the content you see accordingly. Also, the time, location and date of each logins are also recorded.

Though, similar to Google, Facebook also lets you download all your saved data.

Side note for Windows 10 users

Curran also noticed that on Windows 10 devices the permissions for actions such as tracking where you are, what applications you have installed, when you use them, what you use them for, access to your webcam and microphone at any time, your contacts, your e-mails, your calendar, your call history, the messages you send and receive, are enabled by default. Which means if you don’t particularly and disable it from your computer’s settings, then you are willingly sharing all that information with these platforms.

Essentially, we are reluctant when the government asks for our details, but we are thoughtlessly accessing platforms like Google and Facebook permissions to almost every little moves of our life, physical, emotional, financial or otherwise.

  • Published Date: March 29, 2018 10:20 AM IST