Tech

Believe it! Google, Facebook have all our data, including deletions

An IT expert Dylan Curran has  revealed just how much data Facebook and Google, the two internet giants have on their users. It’s incredible! Dylan Curran is a data consultant and web developer, who does extensive research into spreading technical awareness and improving digital etiquette. Curran began the disclosure on 24  March with this tweet: “Want to freak yourself out? I’m gonna show just how much of your information the likes of Facebook and Google store about you without you even realising it.”

An IT expert Dylan Curran has  revealed just how much data Facebook and Google, the two internet giants have on their users. It’s incredible!

Dylan Curran is a data consultant and web developer, who does extensive research into spreading technical awareness and improving digital etiquette.

Curran began the disclosure on 24  March with this tweet: “Want to freak yourself out? I’m gonna show just how much of your information the likes of Facebook and Google store about you without you even realising it.”

Soon after, he started posting various links along with his details and how his data is being stored by social networking giants. His tweets went viral.

Dylan-Curran.-Twitter-page
Dylan Curran. Photo credit: Curran

On 29 March, he wrote an article for The Guardian of London.  Read the article here: Guardian

 And here is the summary of his disclosures:

Places:

Google knows exactly where you’ve been and when you were there. If you have your location tracking turned on, Google will keep a record of the places you have been as long as your phone is on. In fact, you can actually track your locations from the day you first signed into Google on your device.

History

Just about everyone has at some point done a basic Google search, could be a complicated word, picture, video… name it! Google stores search history across all your devices. Even if you delete the record in your phone, it may still be retained in another device such as your tablet. The same goes to all your Google Apps for instance, it has all your YouTube history; every video you’ve watched, whether you liked it or not, all your search entries.

Google probably knows more about your moods, feelings, thoughts and attitude than you do, more so because it has a record of all your ‘phases’ depending on what you searched.

Didn’t I delete that? Well, you probably did, but Google still remembers and may have a record of what you thought you deleted tucked away somewhere. Google not only stores a search history across all your synched devices, it does the same for your apps, photos, videos, emails and other data. Even if you delete the record in your phone, it may still be retained in another device. Your Apps Google also keeps record of the information on every app and extension you use. They know how often you use them, where you use them, and who you use them to interact with.

According to Dylan Curran, that means they know who you talk to on Facebook, what countries are you speaking with, what time you go to sleep. They also know every app you have ever searched for, which apps you have installed, when you used them and for how long you had them.

Advertising

They know every Google Ad you have ever viewed or clicked on and, when and where you were. Google actually creates an advertisement profile based on your information, including your location, gender, age, hobbies, career, interests, relationship status, possible weight and income. This information is extracted from the data you give in apps and your searches among other records. It also explains why when you’ve been watching YouTube videos about working out, ads about weight loss or muscle gain may start popping up on other websites.

The data Google has on you can fill millions of Word documents

Google offers an option to download all of the data it stores about you. I’ve requested to download it and the file is 5.5GB big, which is roughly 3m Word documents.

This link includes your bookmarks, emails, contacts, your Google Drive files, all of the above information, your YouTube videos, the photos you’ve taken on your phone, the businesses you’ve bought from, the products you’ve bought through Google …

They also have data from your calendar, your Google hangout sessions, your location history, the music you listen to, the Google books you’ve purchased, the Google groups you’re in, the websites you’ve created, the phones you’ve owned, the pages you’ve shared, how many steps you walk in a day …

Click on this link to see your own data: google.com/takeout

Facebook has reams and reams of data on you, too

Facebook offers a similar option to download all your information. Mine was roughly 600MB, which is roughly 400,000 Word documents.

This includes every message you’ve 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.

Click here to see your data: https://www.facebook.com/help/131112897028467

Read more in The Guardian

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