Google Knows Everywhere You Go — Here’s How To Stop It From Tracking You And Delete The Logs

from CNBC

Google knows a lot about you and, if you use Google Maps or other Google apps, it stores a copy of everywhere you go. I recently performed Google’s “Privacy Checkup” to learn a bit more about what it knows about me, and was pretty surprised at the level of detail it had on my exact locations.

I picked a random date: April 16, 2019. It knew everywhere I went, including that I took Interstate 95 to our office in northern New Jersey and that I arrived at 7:58 a.m. It knew that at 1:02 p.m. I drove to Jersey City and took a train in to Manhattan to the New York Stock Exchange before returning home at 4:38 p.m. And it has a copy of the pictures I took at each location.

It’s a creepy level of detail.

More here.

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10 Responses to Google Knows Everywhere You Go — Here’s How To Stop It From Tracking You And Delete The Logs

  1. Nicholas Meyerback May 1, 2019 at 9:46 pm #

    At this point any functioning adult who vaguely pays attention to the news knows that tech companies are collecting data on their users. The Cambridge Analytica Scandal that arose around the time of the 2016 Presential Election brought online privacy to the mainstream. The election drew attention to more egregious techniques like Psychographic Profiling, or the analysis of personality, values and lifestyles via compilation of search history and profile interactions. This type of data analytics was utilized to market advertisements and articles that a user would be more likely to gravitate towards. Other types of data manipulation can appear relatively benign in comparison. The common thread, however, is that the user is generally unaware of how they are being documented and how their data is used.

    Google is among the chief culprits of big data manipulation. As a free service, Google must find ambiguous sources of revenue. The most obvious source of revenue is from advertisements. Google makes money by selling advertisements on search results. They also charge companies who seek to have their name come up with relevant searches. They also employ cryptic methods for profit creation. Google generates profiles based on activity in a similar manner to psychographic profiling. The data on every interaction with a Google product is compiled into an algorithm that spawns a “unique advertising ID” to be used for marketing purposes. The unique advertising ID is heavily influenced by spending habits to predict future sales. One of the activities that Google pays attention to, unbeknownst the majority of the public, is travel. This is beyond flight history and hotel searches. Google is aware of your physical location at all times. Google tracks an individual’s location outside of its Google Maps feature. Google knows where you are if you are signed into one of their devices including Chrome. The corporation claims that only the user is aware of this information, but users should be wary of the potential of this data becoming leaked in a cyberattack.

    Users should be aware of their rights. Though many may be generally unaware of everything that Google knows about them because they skimmed the terms and conditions portion of the user agreement, the company does offer partial transparency by allowing its clientele to maintain a level of control over their data. One can manage their data by visiting their My Accounts page. There is the ability to opt out of certain variations of internet-based advertising, however it is unclear if this prevents Google from continuing to amass this information. Disassociating personal data from an advertising ID is also possible. Furthermore, Google will cease to collect location data if the user elects to “turn off location history”.

  2. Alexander Dornbierer May 2, 2019 at 8:57 am #

    Throughout the year we have been given blog comments about many different websites and their privacy practice. Most of the scrutiny has been on Facebook, but other companies are now starting to fall victim to the growing knowledge about internet privacy. At the recent F8 Developers Conference Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, made a joke, and not a good one at that, about the recent heat the company has been getting on how it handles its consumers privacy. The joke was meet with no laughter from the crowd and that awkward, alien like, crude smile that Zuckerberg has. This article talks about the way Google tracks everywhere you go through the use of its services in order to provide “better recommendations, and more personalized experiences in Maps, Search, and other Google services.” But unlike Facebook, Google offers a way for its consumers to turn off the location tracker. By using the steps provide in the article you should have turned off your location tracking and your web and activity tracker. While I would not expect that your privacy from Google is completely private, it may give people a peace of mind and have them believing that their internet and location privacy are back. You not be able to see yourself getting tracked but believe me you are. Whether it be through the use of credit/debit cards, text messages, facial recognition, and a countless number of services that are used to track you. It may be your physical location, or your internet activity being tracked, heck it probably is both. A question I have after reading the article is what happens after you have removed yourself from all of googles services. During class on Wednesday, a student asked Professor Shannon what he had planned for over the summer. He told the class that he was planning on removing himself from as many as Google products as he could. That statement seemed strange to me when I first heard Professor Shannon say it, but after reading the article I can see where he is coming from. But what happens if Professor Shannon does remove himself from all of Googles products. No more YouTube, no more Gmail, no more Google Chrome. Will they still be able to track his whereabouts and his internet activity. The world will never know.

  3. Rachel Leto May 2, 2019 at 9:51 am #

    After all of the articles that I have read, the videos I have watched, and the discussions that we have had in class, I have never been more concerned and more convinced that privacy no longer exists. No matter how hard someone tries, it is almost impossible for a company to not have some type of data on you. Every time I read a new article on it, it gets creepier and creepier and more specific. If you use google maps, it tracks where you are going, what time you leave, what time you arrive, it saves the pictures you took at these places, it has every single move you make at all times. The article even stated that if you give the “privacy checkup” a specific date, it will tell you exactly where you were on that day and all of the times you left and went somewhere else. Why do you need this type of information? The answer is that this isn’t for the user to look at to reminisce where they have been.
    This is just another way to make it easier for companies to sell your data. If google notices that you have been to a certain restaurant or store multiple times in a period of time, they will be more than happy to let that company know that this person has visited you a lot lately, go advertise to them. The article mentioned that google states that the “map is only visible to you”. The thought of this is frightening because we know that it isn’t and we know that all of this data is stored somewhere and with the absolute right material and right timing, this could be hacked. If someone were to be able to get into this data, they can simply search anyone up and see where they live, where they work, what the building looks like if they took pictures, wat stores they shop at, and where they spend most of their time. The thought of all of that valuable information getting into the wrong hands is something I don’t want to see come true.

  4. Jack F Comfort May 2, 2019 at 9:20 pm #

    Google, as well as with most websites, track your data for a variety of different reasons. The difference with Google is when they track your data they’re also tracking your location. Google says that this data is private, but with the growing amount of scandals with the big tech corporations and the rise of hackers in the past few years, it’s hard to believe no one else will get their hands on it. Why Google would ever need to track your location is also hard to grasp, as most companies track your data to sell to advertisers. If Google is selling your location, that would be a major invasion of privacy. This wouldn’t be a surprise as a lot of the tech companies seem to not understand the definition of privacy these days. This makes you wonder if other companies are doing the same thing and what they’re doing with this info.

  5. Andrew Kenny May 2, 2019 at 9:49 pm #

    Well, I am not too surprised with the information from this article. This class has only proven how much of my information is being collected. At this point I realize that companies will do anything to try and learn more about us to create demographics and then use that to target audiences for goods and services. It seems as if invasion of privacy does not really phase them whatsoever. Just seeing how difficult it is to block them from tracking your location all day is absurd. Why must they know every location we are in every day and what routes we take? There is no reason for that information to be infringed upon. With them lying to us that our map is only visible to us, it just proves that they are selling off our data to companies. They may tell companies where we are traveling or what our days consist of so they can understand their customer base and their tendencies.
    The future of marketing rests in the hands of major corporations. Our data is expendable and not at all private. With no signs of compensation for our data or any signs of the slowing of data-mining,we are pawns. At this point, to try and keep some of our data private, we can only rely on damage control because most of our information has already been used and/or sold.

  6. Raymond Wilkinson IV May 2, 2019 at 11:33 pm #

    This article about Google tracking everywhere people using their apps comes at no surprise whatsoever to me. Everybody knows already that Google and other apps are tracking the places you go to, apps you use, and now the usage time of your device. What did however surprise me was the copy of pictures the author of the article mentioned. I always had a feeling any picture I took would be copied but I never knew how deep these app providers and technology companies would go. Armed with this scary information I myself checked my location data. To my relief Google did not have any copied pictures on my data list but they still had quite the detailed list of my schedule each day. I went through a few different random dates and saw my exact schedule of everything I did those past days. This experience was honestly nostalgic but scary at the same time. As I am someone who enjoys looking back at past events and seeing what I did on a day back a few years. Also, this was scary because of the detail it had. I could see how long I drove for, the exact route I took, how long I was at place, and even the exact address of where I was. It even showed whether I was walking or driving. One positive out of this was I noticed around 2017 the data google had on me stopped, I suppose I inadvertently turned off their services without knowing but I was met with a sense of relief to see that. I encourage everyone reading this article to go and test this out also to turn off your location data or even go as far as delete it.

  7. Allya Jaquez May 3, 2019 at 9:37 am #

    Before even clicking on this article, I already had an idea of what it was going to be about. I already knew what it was going to be about because of all the conversations we have had in class. I think it is pretty scary that google tracks our every movement and if it was not for this business law class, I would have never known half of the things I know now about the internet and the government. I mean it is definitely pretty obvious from the google maps app. Those working behind it know exactly where you go, when you go and even what time you leave. Because of this article, I now know how well those in google keep an eye on almost everyone around the world. I definitely remember the first day the notification popped up on my screen saying, “30 minutes to get to Seton Hall University.” I thought it was so crazy because I had only used google maps once to get to school and now it shows up literally every time my phone is connected to my car. I am so glad I read this article because not only did it remind me of things I should have known but it also tells me how I can prevent all of this from happening. I advise everyone to turn off their location because tracking your every move is not hard for the government at all.

  8. Kyle Stephens May 3, 2019 at 11:56 am #

    Privacy has been a main staple of this course so it is only fitting that we finish off with a privacy article. I for one am honestly kind of scared that google is tracking our location like this when we aren’t even using their any of their products. Tracking us in that manner is a huge invasion of privacy, and I’m glad there is a way to delete all this. Because this is very sensitive information that someone could use for any number of reasons. One of my main concerns with this is obviously it getting hacked. If google maps gets hacked and everyone’s routes are free to see then we have a plethora of problems. For one, people can look at your maps and see which trips you make everyday. With that information they can stalk you, follow you, kidnap you, etc. It seems dangerous and honestly not very smart of Google to be doing this and storing our information online claiming its for us to use. First off, I don’t think many people even know this exists so how is it for “our use”. Second, if we didn’t explicitly sign up for it, why are you tracking us? And third, What could you possibly want with that information? I understand stealing data from our profiles and selling that but how does tracking my location help with anything other than watching me? It seems more like a surveillance system than anything else. Plus, the government can get access to these maps at a moment’s notice which creates interesting conspiracy. What of the government has a secret contract with google to use google as a surveillance system to keep better eyes on its people and to help catch criminals who may be logged into google? Whether or not its true it is an interesting thought and could be true. Google tracking makes me very wary and uncomfortable. We need to have some sort of new legislation to help protect us from stuff such as this. It is an extreme invasion of privacy and in my eyes is even border line stalking. I would love to see change on this matter.

  9. Daniel McNulty May 3, 2019 at 7:09 pm #

    From the beginning of the semester to now, my eyes have been opened on how much big tech companies invade on everyone’s privacy. We have been given countless articles to choose from on the course blog, of so many different incidents in which companies such as Facebook have been shown to invade on peoples’ privacy. The companies that seem to constantly reappear are Facebook, and Google. Many companies share and sell data to each other, as an advantage for different types of things such as advertising and job listings for instance. Most recently, it is apparent that those who use Google and their resources such as Google Maps could be having their privacy taken away once again. Google is now able to track every single move that you make as long as you have your device on you, which most of us do. This is something that Google should not be able to do, as many ask “why do they want to know my every move?”, which is without a doubt a more than fair question. In order to prevent Google from following your every move, you must go through a list of steps, turning off different preferences in the settings, making it somewhat complicated. This is something that has been seen more and more recently, and is something that needs to be put under control, as our privacy is in jeopardy.

  10. David Torres May 3, 2019 at 8:49 pm #

    From just attending Professor Shannon’s class regularly, I learned so much about the dangers and exploitations that big technology companies such as Google, Amazon, and Facebook use in order to track just about our every move. Learning about the negatives of these companies has made me lose hope in a world where people did not have to worry about issues regarding their privacy. The amount of information that these companies know about us is something to be concerned about. Although these companies will not stop exploiting our privacy in every way that they can, we have many things we can incorporate into our devices, apps, and technology, in general, to help limit the amount of information that these companies are able to gather. One useful tool is called a VPN. I personally already use a VPN for my current part-time job in which I have to connect to every time I enter a shift. Additionally, with a VPN, you enable the location services to show that you are in a completely different part of the world. I can see this as a very useful tool when defending yourself of privacy exploitation from these large companies. Another useful tool is to use a laptop camera blocker, in which hackers will be unable to see you through your laptop camera, even when you do not have it enabled. This is a very useful tool to have because I don’t think anyone wants to watch as they work on their laptop for hours on end by creepy individuals that find it amusing, And lastly, to avoid giving away all your information to these companies, just avoid using these companies’ services overall. This will then eliminate all future problems related to privacy exploitation of you. It is surprising to know that many people in today’s day and age are unaware of the amount of information that these big tech companies know about them. However, with the amount of information that is known by these companies about you, it is best to utilize all the tools at your disposal to protect not only your privacy but also your life.

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