Google services may seem to be free however recent research shows that our personal information is set to be worth up to $5,000 a year!
According to the Colin and Collin report users of sites like Facebook and Google are classified as unpaid labourers. Essentially the report suggests that the amount of time we spend updating our status and uploading personal information, all goes towards the use of free advertising benefiting sites like Google. This ‘free’ service comes at a price, in other words we are exchanging free personal information for a free service.
The new privacy settings allow the integration of Google’s services to control how our personal data is handled and shared without our knowledge. Google proceed to carry on using our information by tracking and collecting cookies and gathering data on online activities of web users. This information assists them to provide more targeted advertising to those individuals. Essentially everyone will have their own customised browsing page of Google’s recommendations according to previous sites visited. This may seem like they are making life easier for us however, this concept has brought with it a fundamental error in the system. The privacy intrusion has resulted in people finding out surprise engagements and secret events. Due to the personal data tracking, individuals can find display ads based on the sites previously visited by their partners or friends. This interference is not only a concern for ruining secret events, but a growing worry as to how much Google will know on each individual. Google persists by saying that no personal data is shared or used, however what is and isn’t personal and who decides this?
All these concerns and questions has led to the latest privacy concerns in the UK after Google have allegedly been secretly tracking users habits and data of IPhone users. The legal action comes just months after Google was fined in the US over a privacy breach. The privacy concerns erupted after at least 10 British IPhone users started to take legal action against Google for personal information tracking on their phones. “An estimated 10 million Britons could have grounds to launch a privacy claim over the way Google circumvented Apple‘s security settings on the iPhone, iPad and desktop versions of its Safari web browser to monitor their behaviour”. The significant consequence of Google’s actions is not yet clear, but the direction they are taking is clear to be costing them more than $5,000.
The only way of opting out of this service and ensuring your information is kept private is to not use the browser. But will that be possible as Google is the largest web browser in the world?