In the aftermath of Cambridge Analytica and Facebook scandal, the campaign #deletefacebook is in full swing. Elon Musk, the founder of SpaceX, has already deleted pages of both his companies. Mozilla Firefox is also ‘taking a break from Facebook’.
More and more people are requesting for access to their data from the social networking company and are reporting that Facebook had all their contacts, their calendars, and even their friends’ birthdays.
But what about Google? The platform we rely on most.
Not many are aware that Google too knows a terrible amount about our private lives. It knows all the places we have been to, at what time, for how long, etc. And even if you delete your search history and phone history, Google still stores everything until you delete everything, on all devices.
Just open Google maps, select ‘Your timeline’ and check the dates.
Not just this, Google also knows the videos you have watched and even allows anyone who has your number to find you.
So, here’s how you can check what Google knows about you, delete it or even put a ‘pause’ on it.
For this, you will have to log in to your Gmail account and navigate towards the ‘My Account’ section. This helps you ‘decide how your information can make Google services work better for you.’
These settings allow you to stop Google tracking your location and also stops Google from storing searches, voice or texts and other information from your Android phone.
If it makes you feel any better, at least Google is being transparent about this.
You can also limit what you share with the applications downloaded on your phone in ‘Apps permissions’ in settings and it is crucial we do this to limit Google from creating an echo chamber of content related to our search history, location, gender, age, hobbies, interests, relationship status, who we interact with, our religion, etc.
Based on our YouTube history, Google knows how we are as human beings – if we suffer from depression, if we prefer dogs over cats and if we like spicy food more than sweet.
Furthermore, Google Drive has all our data – personal photos, videos, documents, business contacts, etc. Google Calendar knows our daily routine. Each time you log in to Facebook or any other website through Chrome, Google knows what device, what time and what location.
If you are inclined toward a certain political ideology, Google knows because of the numerous news apps installed on your phone, your search history, your emails, your Hangouts chat, the articles you read.
The images you download, the cute dog videos you watch, the food you cooked because you felt like having pasta one day and ‘Googled’ its recipe, the jobs you’ve applied for, the breakup email your ex sent that you immediately deleted, your workout routine, GOOGLE KNOWS EVERYTHING.
We live in an era where the internet has become a part and parcel of our daily routine. We cannot survive without our phones, the hundred messaging apps that serve the same purpose and the apps that provide the same content as their competitors. The need of the hour is to limit what we share on the internet – not everything that we post on social media HAS TO BE the truth. We don’t have to give Facebook our exact birth year, our ‘complicated’ relationship status, where were we born and where we currently reside. We don’t need to install a thousand apps on our phones with ‘expandable memory’.
It is a fact that the internet has created a demand that we cannot refuse. However, we sure can limit what we share and what we choose to keep as personal information. Moreover, we need to question corporations that store our information with the excuse of ‘providing us services.’