// BIG Privacy NEWS // What Do Tech Giants Know About You? A New Tool To Get An Idea!

in #news2 years ago (edited)

Whether it's places, home addresses, private messages or telephone numbers, we give valuable personal information to online services every day, without even being aware of it.

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Location, messages, device information collected

How many times have you read a privacy policy of an online software platform until the end? Probably never, like the vast majority (or almost all) of users of these Web services.
However, we have agreed that these companies may collect our personal data for their own use.

Fortunately, the vpnMentor online security platform has delved into the privacy policies of some of the most popular applications, creating an interactive tool detailing how these companies track all our moves.

With more than 7.2 billion accounts held in all the services studied, including platforms such as Google, Facebook, Amazon and Tinder, how many of us know the finest details of the privacy policies we automatically accept?

Facebook and Instagram seem to be the most aggressive in terms of data collection and follow their users as much as possible.

Is it time for us to think twice about what we accept in the terms and conditions? Some of the surprising details that are tracked include:

  • Geolocation: of the 21 services in the study, 18 have tracked your current location at any time when using the application. Some of them, such as Tinder, continue to collect this data even when the application is not in use. Facebook and Instagram not only track your location, but also the location of nearby businesses and people, as well as your home address and most visited places.

  • Your messages: do you think that no one will ever know anything about your messages? Think twice about it. Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram use the information you share about their email services to learn more about you, while Twitter and Spotify openly declare that they have access to all the messages you send on their platforms.

  • Device information: Multiple services and applications collect a lot of information about your terminal. Facebook and Instagram track your battery level, signal strength, nearby Wi-Fi spots and phone antennas, application and file names on your device, etc. Google and Amazon keep voice recordings of searches and Alexa, and Apple Music tracks phone calls made and emails sent and received on the terminals on which the service is used.

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Data also collected from third parties

If you do not have an account with these services, this will not prevent the tracking of your actions on the Internet. Google tracks your activities on third-party sites that use Google's features, such as ads.

Facebook partners (8.4 million sites on the Web) send data to both Facebook and Instagram collected through Facebook Business Tools such as the Like button - whether or not you have a Facebook account or are connected.

Even if you have configured the "Do Not Track" option offered by some browsers, originally created to prevent sites from tracking, you are not safe. Almost no major sites respond to the signal given and continue to collect tracking data.

Third party sites are not the only ones collecting and sharing data with these web giants. Facebook also keeps all data about you provided by other sources - including those that download your contact information without your permission.

VPNmentor's Internet security expert Gaya Polat believes that "the amount of data held online about users should make them wary about how their personal details are used".

While most of this data usage is benign or necessary for service to function, knowing which companies hold which data about you is the only way to track your privacy and how secure you really are.

"We recommend always reading the privacy policy to ensure you know what you're agreeing to by signing up – but we hope this project will give something of an insight into what it all entails".

Here is a guide that will show you how to find and download the data that Facebook, Instagram, Apple, Google, Youtube and Twitter have on you.

Source : The Wall Street Journal

Stay Informed, Stay Safe