Jan 29, 2018

What kind of dirt does Google have on you?

I've been posting a lot about bitcoin and cryptocurrency lately, so today I thought I'd take a break from that and talk about something different. This post will go to show you how you can find out what kind of data Google is collecting on you, and what you can do about it.

We all know that Google captures and stores a ridiculous amount of data on it's users. This is from a Wired post just last year on the subject:

It's no secret that Google knows a lot about you. A large part of the search giant's business model is based around advertising – and for this to be successful it needs to know who you are. 
But with the right know-how it's possible to track down what Google knows about you and control what it uses for advertising purposes. 
Google doesn't make a huge song and dance about its in-depth knowledge of its users, but at the same time it doesn't keep it a secret either. Here's how to find out what Google knows and take control of your data.
If you knew what Google knows about you, it can be down right scary. Well, you're going to learn today!

The following 7 links will give you an eye opening glimpse into what Google knows about you, and what your habits are:
  • History – Here is your entire Google search history.
  • Ads – Here is what Google thinks what your interests are and shows you ads based on these interests.
  • Location History – Here are the places where you used Google to do anything.
  • Takeout – Export every information Google knows about you.
  • Dashboard – An activity page that tells you about all the Google services you are using.
  • YouTube search history – YouTube saves all of your searches too.
  • Permissions – You can see here what permissions you gave to the extensions and sites you use.

The fact that Google knows all of this stuff is one thing, and kind of scary on its own, however they are mainly capturing this stuff to sell to advertisers. The real scary part is that the NSA taps into this sort of thing as a part of the PRISM program.

You might be wondering how to delete all of your Google history now. Well, if you want to remove everything Google has on you, just clearing your browser history doesn't help. You need to delete absolutely everything.

According to Google's Support page, you can clear all of your Google activity by doing the following:

  • Go to My Activity. You might need to sign in to your Google Account.
  • On the "My Activity" banner, choose More > Delete activity by.
  • Below "Delete by date," select the Down arrow > then All time.
  • Select Delete.
  • Confirm your choice.

After that, you should be all cleared from Google's systems. Obviously that won't clear what the NSA has already stored on you in their databases, and Google will certainly start the collection process all over again; but it's a start at least!

What do you think about all of the stuff that you found Google was tracking about you? Was it eye opening at all? Let us know your thoughts in the comments!

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