The internet has become somewhat like a 24 hour surveillance camera that records even your tiniest move in it. Surprised? Well don’t be! For that’s exactly what happens when you log onto the internet and start clicking around on websites.
Each move you make, and each website you open would be monitored and recorded by internet giants like Google, Facebook, Apple, Yahoo and Amazon etc., with the first three in the list leading the race to find out your preferences, likes and dislikes. And all for what? The selfish gain of advertising!
Google – Spies on you 24/7 relentlessly!
This literally means that your Google+ account would be linked to all the other platforms across the company, including your search logs, and your Gmail and YouTube accounts. And though Google maintains that this move would enable them to understand user preferences better enough to continually improve their search algorithms and results, it may come as a shocker for some who prefer to keep separate accounts —- well, separate!
Another thing to worry about here is Google’s ability to share your information indefinitely across several platforms, and use it to narrow down your preferences so that the right advertisers can contact your profiles for products you are interested in. Of course, I would like someone coming up to me to showcase a product I like. But knowing that the person knows more about me than I really want to, is something that is truly disturbing indeed!
Facebook – Fetching info from anywhere, everywhere!
Let’s move on to the next internet giant, Facebook which claims to have over 1 billion users worldwide. And the list keeps increasing every day! What many users of this social networking website are not aware of is the fact that it uses the information stored on their profiles to make them easily accessible to target advertisers who in turn, tag these profiles to their posts.
The result? The ad your profile is tagged in will show up on your friends’ profiles as well. Basically, that means your friends would get to see advertisements related to products that you like even if they do not like these products themselves. And that can become increasingly annoying for some when you take the sheer number of advertisements a profile is bombarded with on a daily basis.
Another way Facebook targets you for specific ads is by pulling out information about you from your friends list. For instance, a basic Facebook profile will contain only basic information about the person. In addition to retrieving this information for their advertising purposes, Facebook would also gain access tags, posts, messages, photos and other information about you in your friends’ profiles, and segregate the information to determine the ads you (and your friends) would see. All of this essentially boils down to one important pointer; Facebook has access to your public and personal information, or find alternate ways to get it; which in turn means your data is not safe!
Apple – The Cupertino Giant
And finally, we move over to Apple, the android giant which made history with its iPhones and iPads. Sadly, the craze for these devices has started to fizzle, thanks to the glitches encountered in the numerous applications shipped along with them.
Take for example a log file called ‘consolidated.db’ that collects information about your geographical whereabouts over a period of time, and then sends this information to the central database maintained by the company. The company maintains that this data aids them in mobile tracking practices.
The problem arose when users found out that in addition to sending the information of their whereabouts to the central database, the devices actually retained an unprotected copy of the information. This means that anyone who has access to your phone would have access to the information that literally shows where you live, where you go and the places you regularly hang out at. The information is also accessible to those who have remote access to your phone. And with over a year’s worth of geographical data at stake, it doesn’t come as a surprise to note how Apple has managed to transform user information for its professional gains, irrespective of how the end user suffers in the process.