Google is Tracking You ... Unless you turn them off!
Posted by $ HarmonKaslow 3 years, 2 months ago to Technology
3 comments | Share | Flag
If you believe that, despite the "free"nature of Google's services, you do not want Google to provide the government with your anonymized location, then you can turn that part of Google off.
For comprehensive background on the scope and dangers of the now pervasive mass surveillance read Bruce Schneier's Data and Goliath. What you will learn there is staggering.
There is a lot that is out of your control no matter what you do. You can make some kinds of tracking harder for the government and others, but you can't stop it.
"Turning off", for example, can mean only that they won't use that kind of tracking to directly select ads, but doesn't mean they won't continue the tracking and storage of what they find, using it for other purposes and changing future policy. And Google has been caught bypassing its own security settings.
Better to not use Facebook and Google accounts at all (though they still track you when you visit other websites and use other apps). That includes gmail, Google chrome browser, and Google search.
There are many substitutes, including startpage.com that uses Google search from a secure search page that is not tracked. Use a secure browser designed and configured for privacy to the extent possible, a reliable email service, and for some connections a VPN.
They may say they don't collect "personal" data, but have a distorted definition of "personal". If it couldn't be used to track you "personally" they wouldn't want it. "Anonymizing" data has become largely meaningless because different collections are correlated to restore the identities.
Look for everything you can find to turn off in your cell phone. Some of it is buried in obscurity making it hard to find and understand. Minimize the number and kinds of apps you install at all. Look into the Lineage OS to replace the Google android installation that comes with your phone. (There are no substitutes for Apple, though Apple is not as bad in its tracking as Google.)
Unfortunately, slaving Nadella of MS made a deal with Google to "combine" the Windows 10 Edge browser, which is my default, with GOOGLE Chrome. Both companies are run by Indians, if that means anything.