The Facebook data scandal rocked the internet world, and many thought that Google was the next in line to be asked data privacy questions. Google may know much more about users than Facebook, making it a bigger security threat. ( Patricia De Melo Moreira | AFP/Getty Images )
The Facebook data scandal rocked the internet world due to the revelation on how much data the social network collects from its users, but Google may know much more about us than Facebook.
After the Facebook data controversy, there was speculation that it would only be a matter of time before Google started being asked the same questions. It was recently reported that the Google Play Store hosted more than 3,000 Android apps that improperly collected data from children, and it looks like that has opened the floodgates for inquiries into what Google knows about us.
Facebook Data Scandal: What About Google?
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg testified in front of 44 senators earlier this month as part of the social network’s apology for its shortcomings in preventing political consulting firm Cambridge Analytica from illegally collecting the data of 87 million users.
The Facebook data scandal revealed just how much information the social network knows of its users, leading to the birth of the #DeleteFacebook movement. Now, a report from The Wall Street Journal asks the question that may be at the back of most internet users’ minds: what about Google?
The Wall Street Journal brings up the concern that other companies aside from Facebook may be collecting the personal data of users without their knowledge or consent. Google, the report claims, would by far be a bigger security threat compared to Facebook.
Google tracks several data points for each user, including their search and internet browsing history, installed apps, and in-store purchases. In addition, it is believed that if Facebook collects data even from users who have not signed up to the social network, Google does the same thing.
How Much Does Google Know About You?
How much data does Google collects from its users? An interesting report from The Daily Mail answers this question visually. According to The Mail on Sunday, one of its reporters discovered that Google collects personal data “on a vast scale,” with harvested information including internet history even while using incognito mode in browsers, every trip made in the past few years, visited locations, and timestamps for various activities.
The reporter claimed that his internet history that Google stored over the past year was the equivalent of 569,555 pages of A4 paper, which, when printed and stacked, would be over 189 feet, taller than the Leaning Tower of Pisa. Over the past two weeks, the collected data was the equivalent of 23,731 pages, which was 7 feet and 9 inches when stacked.
While these numbers may look outrageous, the more important point is that users and media outlets are becoming more aware of the data privacy issue. Will Google soon also be in the hot seat for its data collection practices? We will just have to wait and see.
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