There’s no doubt about the advantages of the internet in present times. We have a power in our hands that can make us see each other even if we live miles apart, send money, share memories, and so much more.
Moreover, as you may have heard the saying, everything has two sides – good and bad. The internet has two sides as well as it has many disadvantages. The major drawback is that whosoever uses social media or access stuff on big tech sites has exposed their personal information to those companies.
Yes, you heard it right; nothing is private anymore. The big tech companies know you better than your friends. They know where you go, what you do, and your personal preferences. Sounds like fiction, right? Sadly, it is not.
Do you know how these big tech companies know about you? Or what exactly do they know about you? If not, this article is here to help you know about it.
What Do Big Tech Companies Know?
Google, Facebook, Amazon, Microsoft are some of the biggest tech companies of present times that track you. For example, if you search for something on Google or click an ad for a clothing brand that day, that company knows that you are interested in it.
Similarly, there are other things like the following aspects.
Google knows all about your interests; it keeps tracking your searches and looks for activities on other platforms, which can help in identifying your interests more precisely. So, if you are searching for specific things, it is very easy for Google to target you with related ads and suggestions.
Moreover, Google Assistant, an AI assistant which most Android users use for different purposes, provides a large chunk of knowledge to Google about people. The assistant asks for many permissions and additional information to give better search results and timely reminders. Google can easily use those permissions and information you provide.
There are many apps available today which track your location without the need for GPS or Wi-Fi signals. These tracker apps connect with cell towers in your area to let companies know who is present in which location so they can serve ads accordingly. Moreover, when people search online about local stores, it is easier for big tech companies to track users’ location in real-time based on their IP addresses.
Over time, as you continue using the services of the big tech companies like Google, Microsoft, and a few more, your contacts on those devices get synced to their servers. It makes it easy for Facebook and other companies to know about your friend’s list, which they use to target ads and suggestions for other people in your friend’s circle.
Phone Calls and Text Messages
You might be thinking that phone calls and text messages are private and not accessible by any company or anyone else. Well, you must be mistaken in that case. They can easily track all information regarding your calling frequency, where you call from, what numbers you call, etc. Additionally, to make things worse, they can even access the contents of your text messages. However, this privacy violation does not always happen. Usually, metadata is the target most providers aim for.
Your Health and Fitness Data
Many wearable devices track all the physical activities you do every day and provide you with reports. According to market experts, by 2022, more than 137 million people will use such devices, and this number will increase rapidly in the coming years as these devices become affordable for everyone.
These wearable devices connect with your smartphones through Bluetooth, creating a connection between web services and making it easier for companies to know about our daily activities, including sleep patterns, what you eat, or how active you are.
The latest speech recognition and text-to-speech technology available on Google Assistant, Siri, or any other virtual assistant can let companies know about your accent, the language you speak, etc. They can even access the recordings of your voice from those devices to learn more about you.
Furthermore, if you use some online help chat service, that company can listen to everything you say, making it easier for them to find out about your language.
Can You Delete Your Entire Data Available Online?
Well, you can attempt to remove all your data present online, but the harsh truth is that it’s impossible to extinguish your online footprints completely. Most companies keep your data at different databases by making a copy of it, and some, like Google, keep it for two months before completely deleting it.
Furthermore, you can try using a VPN for accessing the internet. Many best-in-class VPNs can provide you with military-grade security and privacy for browsing the things you love without worrying about data leaks.
Also, you can modify the app permissions on your smartphone or PC and limit the permissions to only essential ones. With the launch of Android 11 and iOS 15, you can set the permitted use according to your preference. You can limit apps to access information only when you use the application or only one-time permission.
People also love to use services provided by big tech companies as they provide accurate results, saving time. Thus, it’s tough to move on from these big tech companies, but the fact is that they do not care about your privacy. So, you should try to take some serious steps to protect your identity.