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Privacy – How Much Information Google and Facebook hold on you

We were going to write a piece on the hot topic that is privacy, information and how much Facebook and Google actually know about us. Dylan Curran, a technical consultant and web developer took to Twitter to reveal all so here it is.

Google stores your location (if you have it turned on) every time you turn on your phone, and you can see a timeline from the first day you started using Google on your phone.

https://www.google.com/maps/timeline?pb

This is every place he have been in the last twelve months in Ireland, going in so far as the time of day he was in the location and how long it took him to get to that location from his previous one.

Privacy information Google

Google stores search history across all your devices on a separate database, so even if you delete your search history and phone history, Google STILL stores everything until you go in and delete everything, and you have to do this on all devices found here https://myactivity.google.com/myactivity 

Google creates an advertisement profile based on your information, including your location, gender, age, hobbies, career, interests, relationship status, possible weight (need to lose 10lbs in one day?) and income https://google.com/settings/ads

Google stores information on every app and extension you use, how often you use them, where you use them, and who you use them to interact with (who do you talk to on facebook, what countries are you speaking with, what time you go https://security.google.com/settings/security/permisions

Google stores ALL of your YouTube history, so they know whether you’re going to be a parent soon, if you’re a conservative, if you’re a progressive, if you’re Jewish, Christian, or Muslim, if you’re feeling depressed or suicidal, if you’re anorexic… https://www.youtube.com/feed/history/search_history

Google offers an option to download all of the data it stores about you, I’ve requested to download it and the file is 5.5GB BIG, which is roughly 3 MILLION Word documents https://takeout.google.com/

This link includes your bookmarks, emails, contacts, your Google Drive files, all of the above information, your YouTube videos, the photos you’ve taken on your phone, the businesses you’ve bought from, the products you’ve bought through Google.

Your calendar, your Google hangout sessions, your location history, the music you listen to, the Google books you’ve purchased, the Google groups you’re in, the websites you’ve created, the phones you’ve owned, the pages you’ve shared, how many steps you walk in a day.

Facebook offers a similar option to download all your information, mine was roughly 600mb, which is roughly 400,000 Word documents.

This includes every message you’ve ever sent or been sent, every file you’ve ever sent or been sent, all the contacts in your phone, and all the audio messages you’ve ever sent or been sent.

Facebook also stores what it think you might be interested in based off the things you’ve liked and what you and your friends talk about (He apparently like the topic ‘Girl’).

Somewhat pointlessly, they also store all the stickers you’ve ever sent on Facebook (He has no idea why they do this, it’s just a joke at this stage).

They also store every time you log into Facebook, where you logged in from, what time, and from what device.

Facebook login data

And they store all the applications you’ve ever had connected to your Facebook account, so they can guess he’s interested in politics and web and graphic design, that he was single between X and Y period with the installation of Tinder, and he got a HTC phone in November.

Facbeook applications list

On a Side-note, if you have Windows 10 installed, this is a picture of JUST the privacy options with 16 different sub-menus, which have all of the options enabled by default when you install Windows 10.

Windows 10 Privacy Options

Watch this video on how to set up your windows 10 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U9kFXnomRWQ

This includes tracking where you are, what applications you have installed, when you use them, what you use them for, access to your webcam and microphone at any time, your contacts, your e-mails, your calendar, your call history, the messages you send and receive.The files you download, the games you play, your photos and videos, your music, your search history, your browsing history, even what RADIO stations you listen to.

This is one of the craziest things about the modern age, we would never let the government or a corporation put cameras/microphones in our homes or location trackers on us, but we just went ahead and did it ourselves because fuck it I want to watch cute dog videos.

Dylan got the Google Takeout document with all of his information, and this is a breakdown of all the different ways they get your information.

Google Take Out Information List

Here’s the search history document, which has 90,000 different entries, even showing the images he downloaded and the websites I accessed (He showed ThePirateBay section to show how much damage this information can do).

Browsing History Data

Here’s his Google Calendar broken down, showing all the events he has ever added, whether he actually attended them, and what time he attended them at (this part is when he went for an interview for a Marketing job, and what time he arrived at).

data

Here is his Google Drive, which includes files he EXPLICITLY deleted including his resume, his monthly budget, and all the code, files, and websites he’s ever made, and even his PGP private key, which he deleted, which he uses to encrypt e-mails.

Google Drive Data

This is his Google Fit, which shows all of the steps he’s ever taken, any time he walked anywhere, and all the times he had recorded any meditation/yoga/workouts he’s done (he has deleted this information and revoked Google Fit’s permissions).

Google Fit Data

Here is all the photos ever taken with his phone, broken down by year, and includes metadata of when and where he took the photos

Photo data

Every e-mail he’s ever sent, that’s been sent to him, including the ones he deleted or were categorised as spam

Email Data

And now his Google Activity, this has thousands of files, so only just a short summary of what they have.

Activity Data

Firstly every Google Ad he ever viewed or clicked on, every app he’s ever launched or used and when he did it, every website he’s ever visited and what time he did it at, and every app he’s ever installed or searched for.

Every image he’s ever searched for and saved, every location he’s ever searched for or clicked on, every news article he’s ever searched for or read, and EVERY SINGLE google search he’s made since 2009

And then finally, every YouTube video he’s ever searched for or viewed, since 2008.

Youtube History

This information has millions of nefarious uses and violates multiple human rights, you’re not a terrorist? Then how come you were googling ISIS? Work at Google and you’re suspicious of your wife? Perfect, just look up her location and search history for the last ten years.

Manage to gain access to someone’s Google account? Perfect, you have a chronological diary of everything that person has done for the last ten years.

All credit for research, content and copy goes to Dylan Curran. We salute you!

A Google spokesperson said in a statement to CBS News that “in order to make the privacy choices that are right for them, it’s essential that people can understand and control their Google data. Over the years, we’ve developed tools like My Account expressly for this purpose, and we’d encourage everyone to review it regularly.”

Facebook users can also review information about their data and contacts via Facebook’s help section, here and here.

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