You know that Google knows a lot about you. The company’s business model is based on its ability to target Internet users precisely, and this targeting is possible because of the vast store of data that Google has on billions of users, including you. It knows where you’ve been, what you’ve searched for, which websites you’ve visited, what you’ve bought, and much more.

In a recent story on The Mac Security Blog, we how you can find out what Google knows about you, and how to slim down the profile they store. But in some cases, Google makes it difficult–and confusing–to turn off their virtual panopticon.

Read the rest of the article on The Mac Security Blog.

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  1. This is a nice article, but there’s another problem that doesn’t get talked about much. This is the 3rd party apps that you wouldn’t consider to be ‘Google’ apps, but that have installed Google’s analytics SDK. The very first thing that most apps (not mine) do when you run them for the first time is to report to Google, Facebook, Tune, and/or others that you have installed the app. This process, called attribution-analytics, means that Google & Facebook have a pretty good idea which apps you have on your iPhone, even though you might never use Google or Facebook. Beyond that, these SDKs report back to their masters every 30 seconds or so with various pieces of data. Most developers have no idea what is being reported beyond their own use of the analytics dashboard. In any case, this means that a, seemingly innocuous, food-diary-app might be reporting back to Google, and, since Google can track your location fairly well, by your WiFi network, Google might be tracking your location through a myriad
    of 3rd party apps that don’t even use location services. Ultimately, the root of the problem is that Apple allows apps to send data to and from any server and provides users with no visibility about which companies the app is communicating with or what data is being sent. How many users know that their yoga-app is reporting their activities back to facebook? Not many, I think.

    • Excellent point. And we’re not aware of this, nor are we allowed to opt out. This is certainly the case on Android, where you simply cannot opt out, but there are iOS apps that do this is well.

      FWIW, I have Google Analytics on this site, but I have it set to anonymize data (which is a WordPress setting).

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