Now that companies like Facebook, Amazon, and Alphabet are among the world’s most valued companies, people are starting to hold them more accountable for the impact of their actions on the real world.
From the Cambridge Analytica scandal to the transparency of Apple’s supply chain, it’s clear that big tech companies are under higher scrutiny. Unsurprisingly, much of this concern stems around one key currency that tech companies leverage for their own profitability: personal data.
What Big Tech Knows
Today’s infographic comes to us from Security Baron, and it compares and contrasts the data that big tech companies admit to collecting in their privacy policies.
While the list of data collected by big tech is extensive in both length and breadth, it does take two to tango.
For many of these categories, users have to willingly supply their data in order for it to be collected. For example, you don’t have to fill out your relationship status on Facebook, but millions of users choose to do so.
Did I Opt Into This?
The majority of the data categories on the list make sense – it’s a no-brainer that Amazon has your credit card information, or that Google knows what websites you visit. Even the least tech-savvy person would likely understand this.
However, there are definitely some categories of data that get collected and stored that may sound unnerving to some people:
Facebook knows your political views, religious views, and even your ethnicity
Xbox users will have their skeletal tracking data collected through the Kinect device
Facebook also knows your income level, which it finds out through partnerships with personal data brokers
Platforms collect your documents, email, and message data – though some of this is just metadata
Facebook and Microsoft store facial recognition data, based on the pictures you upload
Remember, this is just what companies admit to collecting in their privacy policies – what else do you think they know?
Related: Google, Facebook And Amazon Are Just Extensions Of The Surveillance State; Dangerous Mafia Heads Of A Fascist Corporate Regime + Internal Facebook Documents Reveal Zuckerberg Discussed Selling User Data To Developers, Advertisers
Pichai Lies To Congress About Google Tracking Location Of Users
Falsely claims users can opt out.
Google CEO Sundar Pichai lied to Congress during testimony today when he claimed that users could opt out of Google’s location tracking services, a claim that the Associated Press previously found to be false.
During his appearance in front of the the House Judiciary committee for a hearing entitled: Transparency & Accountability: Examining Google and its Data Collection, Use and Filtering Practices, Pichai claimed that users had control of what information Google stored about them.
|“For Google services, you have a choice of what information is collected, and we make it transparent,” Pichai said, adding, “We give clear toggles, by category, where they can decide whether that information is collected, stored, or – more importantly – if they decide to stop using it.”|
However, this is categorically untrue.
As an investigation by the Associated Press back in August confirmed, Google is tracking the location of its users even when the location tracking option is turned off.
|“An Associated Press investigation found that many Google services on Android devices and iPhones store your location data even if you’ve used a privacy setting that says it will prevent Google from doing so,” the news agency reported.|
Even with the option to pause location history turned off, “Some Google apps automatically store time-stamped location data without asking,” states the report.
Google’s maps app stores a snapshot of your location whenever you open it, daily weather updates on Android also record your rough location and Google searches also pinpoint and store your precise latitude and longitude down to a single square foot.
Anti-censorship activists who accuse Google of working with the Chinese government to out political dissidents have also made their presence felt at the hearing.
Former Facebook Executive: “You Don’t Realize It, But You Are Being Programmed” + Inventor Of The World Wide Web Warns Tech Giants Must Be Regulated, Or The ‘Net Will Plunge Into “Weaponization” That Harms Society