Search engine giant Google shares users’ personal data on a massive scale
The Irish Civil Liberties Council founded in 1976 and known for protecting human rights has estimated that user data, including location and browsing habits of EU and US citizens, is shared 178 trillion times per year, in its report. Reports also reveal that search engine giant Google shares a similar set of data 70 billion times a day. Apparently more than half of Google’s revenue for the March quarter of this year came from advertisements.
Reports point to big machines working behind the curtain to sell such user data. Reports suggest that a user’s phone habit is recorded every time a user opens their phone screen. The data collected in this way is getting bigger every day, as the user hops into the apps. This data is then shared with numerous companies and assigned to the advertiser with the highest bid price. Logging sensitive user data is an important part of major tech giants like Google and Facebook, which depend on these ads.
Categorization of user data
This data is also used to create user profiles which contain sensitive information regarding location, personal characteristics of users and data regarding telephone habits. These profiles are then separated into groups marked as a disorder, legal issues, etc.
There have been reports of advertising companies sharing data with local authorities. Reports reveal that in one such case, a news publication was able to track down a Grindr app user based on data they shared with an advertising network for a story. App Grindr said in a statement that while it’s unclear how the publication tracked its user, it hinted that its sharing of data with a third-party advertising agency was one of the reasons. In the United States, users are concerned about the misuse of user data in light of discussions on banning abortion.
Reportedly, it is still unclear why the search engine giant is sharing user data and for what purpose. Due to the messy and complex nature of such practices, it is even more difficult to establish the same. While we appreciate the services offered by electronic gadgets, it is also clear now that these devices record sensitive user data.
For what it’s worth, Google tends to release less personal data about people than other smaller ad networks, according to Jonny Ryan, a senior researcher at the council who oversaw the compilation of the latest data.
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