I think we already knew this. How else to you think those ads are able to show you what you’ve just been shopping for?
While the public has been focused on the ongoing Facebook and Cambridge Analytica scandal, Google has largely avoided public scrutiny about its data collection practices despite having the ability to collect far more personal data about consumers across a variety of touchpoints. There have been efforts to document individual practices by Google such as their efforts to circumvent controls on Safari. More recently, an investigation by the Associated Press revealed that Google continues to track location data even after a consumer has turned off the setting. While these research efforts have been important to the public policy dialogue, no research exists which looks at the breadth and depth of data collected by Google.
In “Google Data Collection,” Douglas C. Schmidt, Professor of Computer Science at Vanderbilt University, catalogs how much data Google is collecting about consumers and their most personal habits across all of its products and how that data is being tied together.
Listed are the key findings of the 55-page report (linked above) that one can download.
And people wonder why I sometimes leave my phone at home.
Even when I do that, however, I know that there are cameras everywhere here in Los Angeles and that it has been so for at least a decade. And I bet that they aren’t all government cameras.
We are surrounded by eyeballs, but I don’t fear it. That’s isn’t to say that something bad couldn’t happen due to the basic disappearance of privacy. It is to say that it doesn’t pay to be afraid of the intrusiveness.
Fear creates clouded thinking. It interferes with the clarity that is essential to finding a solution to this problem.
I am very far from ready to toss my devices in the trash, but I don’t want them in every aspect of my life either.
There is middle ground and it can be found. I’m sure of it.
In the meantime, however, watch your digital steps.
RELATED: Lock Your Doors
Hit Da Tech Guy Blog’s Tip Jar for his new not-GoDaddy host!