Okay, today I want to discuss a very important thing with y’all. When we are surfing on the internet and make accounts at Google for example. We always accept their privacy policies, but how many of us actually read this policy? I think 99% clicks ‘accept’ without reading the contents.
What information does Google collect from us when you have an account?
- Information you fill in on forms (like, your name, adress, phone number, etc)
- Information they receive because you use their services
- Information about the device that you use
- Log information
- Your phonenumber
- Time and date of calls and their duration
- Types of calls
- Device event information such as if the device has crashed.
- Location information
- Cookies, to be able to show you content you might be interested in
It kinda shocked me when I saw that they even track how long your phone calls were and at what time etc. Also, I’m anxious about the fact that they use your location too. And that they have many different ways of figuring out where you are (just switching off your GPS on your phone isn’t enough). They use things like IP adresses, GPS, and other sensors such as Wi-Fi and cell towers. This makes me really curious about where they are using this for.
Why does Google need this information?
Their main reason is to make sure they can improve their services. I don’t see how my name, phone number, call information and location do that. However, they also claim that they use all of this information to give you the best search results and ads.
Second reason is to match all your internet activity together. You can call it an online profile that they make for you. Reviews you write and other comments will be connected to this too. According to Google, they do this to make sure they can help you properly when you contact their customer service. They also do this to make it easier to share things with the people you know.
Creepy thing: they even scan through your emails to make sure you see the ads you are interested in.. Who knew that the emails you receive and send weren’t only seen by the receiver and the sender..
Does Google share this information?
Google promises not to share this information of yours unless a few situations apply:
- When you give your consent to share the information with other companies
- When your Google Account is managed by a domain administrator (for example a school email platform)
- When Google needs to process the information for own use
- When Google has the right to believe that you’re involved in illegal actions
I do have a sidenote for the last point. Not just Google can suspect you from doing something wrong. Of course, Google is not the police. The government has to send Google a request (something like a warrant) to share the information with them.
How do we know all of this information is safe?
Google knows a shitload of information about us. But what if their servers get hacked? What do they do to make sure we are safe?
Google uses an SSL connection al all times. This is a type of secured internet connection. Google also offers you a two-step verification. This is optional if you want to secure everything a little better. They also say that they review the information, the storage of the information and how they are processed. I think this also means that they have some protection against hackers? And lastly, they make sure every employee is screened and that the information stays within Google’s employees, contractors and agents who process the information.
But is all of this legal?
Google promises to work with all of the EU and US laws regarding to privacy. However, they do ask you to contact them if you feel that they are misusing your privacy. In this case I am doubting that they could follow ALL of these regulations (not accusing them, I swear). Since there are a lot of countries in the EU (such as states in the US) with their own laws, it’s impossible to meet all of their rules.
And how can I make sure Google changes or deletes information of mine?
They want you to know that it is your choice what you share with them. They discuss a few options for that:
- Review and update your Google activity controls
- So you can decide about what browsing information gets stored
- Review and control the information which is tied to your Google account
- View and edit your prefrences using Ads Settings to make sure you just see ads you do want to see
- Adjust the page settings so people can see what you want them to see
- Control who you share this information with
- Take information out of Google’s system with your account
- Choose the profile name and picture you want others to see
If you want to delete the entire account, that is also possible. But, of course, like any other company they use an archive. So your information will still be with them, but you can stop adding information to the pile.