In today’s world, privacy of data is taking center stage. It stems from the fact that keeping your data private is increasingly becoming a luxury that many are struggling to afford. Many of us don’t even realize that our data isn’t private anymore, but we’re slowly waking up to this fact as more and more data privacy cases from big tech giants are coming to light. What does this mean? In a nutshell, it means that while cybercriminals like hackers and identity thieves are after our data – and this is more common knowledge – businesses are also using certain tactics and strategies to acquire our information for a multitude of reasons.
When we think of those big tech giants, a few names come to mind, as they rightly should. Google, Apple, and Facebook are some of the most significant, if not the most significant, collectors of your data among the private tech companies. What makes it even scarier is that in today’s digital world, we can’t imagine living and working without access to our accounts on these big companies. Chances are, you’ve probably got an account with all three of those on some platform or the other. Most of us would likely have an account on a platform connected to two of them, at least. And what if you don’t use Facebook? Remember, Facebook also owns Instagram and the popular instant messaging platform, WhatsApp – the latter of which has come under scrutiny for privacy concerns which prompted many to switch over to other messaging platforms with seemingly better data privacy policies, like Signal and Telegram.
So, how are these companies using your personal information? Let’s take a look.
Does Google Spy on Me?
Literally, anything that’s connected to Google collects your data. Even if you don’t have an account, anything you search on their wildly popular search engine is logged. And when you use YouTube, every video you watch on their platform is also logged and tracked. It makes it easier for them to track your activity if you’ve got an account with them and use their platforms while logged in, but even if this is not the case, they register your activity from your IP address.
Another scary aspect of Google is Google Maps. The data giant tracks where you go and how you get there, including how long you stay at certain places. This happens even if you don’t open the app or have your location turned on. Basically, when any of your devices are connected to the internet and you’ve used the app at some point or installed it on your device, your location is logged on their servers.
Google tracks your searches, even when you use incognito mode. As mentioned, they log your location search information, as well as your app usage and your YouTube history. All requests that you make on Google Assistant are logged, including G Suite, Calendar, and Hangouts.
Does Google Sell My Data?
What Personal Information Does Facebook Store?
First, let’s make it clear that Facebook collects your data even once you’ve left their site or platforms. The data giant stores data on all your interests, your relationship status, everything you’ve liked or reacted on, commented on, interacted with. Strangely enough, they also store information on the stickers that you’ve used in comments, Messenger, and WhatsApp. All your login information is collected, too – this includes your login location, login times, and the device from which you logged in. Data is also collected from all the apps on your device that are connected to your Facebook account.
How Does Facebook Use My Data?
Recently, Facebook made an investment in facial recognition technology so it’s able to track you across the internet. Remember, we mentioned that they track you even when you leave their platform by using tracking cookies. By analyzing your likes, interests, and specific information that you’ve shared with the site or connected platforms, they sell that data much like Google does in order to sell targeted, relevant ads.
Does Apple Collect My Information?
Apple is also collecting your data, whether you like it or not – even with their supposed claims about protecting the privacy of their users. They’re not so different from Google and Facebook.
Since Apple collects user information, they also use targeted advertising methods by collecting data about what you buy, what you search for, and so on. This data is also used so that they can predict what you’re going to buy in the future. By honing into your interests, they also look at the music you listen to, what you use your Apple Card for, and everything that you enter onto your devices, including your Apple Watch and other similar gadgets.
Does Apple Sell My Data?
Apple does not sell your data to third-party advertisers. However, your data is still used by Apple to show ads – the difference is that they don’t actually give this data over to their advertisers. In this regard, they’re very similar to Google.