The news on data invasion and privacy invasion had flooded us in recent times. Be it Google, facebook or other apps. and shocking truths have come out.Loss of privacy affects human being very seriously, kills happiness, curtails joy and seriously damages your happiness quotient.
Loss or invasion of privacy can result in many negative types of fallout. The obvious negatives are data theft, misuse of information, easier to manipulate the person, stalking, bullying, harassment and so on. But even more serious are psychological impacts of losing privacy. It can result in anxiety, nervousness, heightened insecurity, loss of self-esteem, feelings of helplessness, depression even violence. A private personal place is basic to human beings and with advent of technology specially web or internet this private place is not just a physical place but also a mental, emotional and cyber place.
In his research paper SOME PSYCHOLOGICAL ASPECTS OF PRIVACY Sidney M. Jourard says:
“The experience of psychotherapists and of students of personality growth has shown that people maintain themselves in physical health and in psychological and spiritual well-being when they have a “private place,” some locus that is inviolable by others except at the person’s express invitation. This “private place” may be a physical location, such as a room, a cabin, a “pad,” or a monastic cell. It may be a place for solitude, or it may be an ambience peopled by individuals who share the values and ideals held by the person in question. There, he can do or be as he likes and feels. He can utter, express, and act in ways that disclose his being-for-himself, and he does not need to fear external sanctions. Nor does he feel guilt for the discrepancy between the way he appears in public and the way he is in private. So long as his action is in conformity with the reasonable law of the land, the only limit upon his action and expression is the rights and wishes of others who may be present and his concern for his own physical well-being. As society becomes more fully urbanized and institutionalized there are fewer and fewer such private places where a person can simply be rather than be respectable. It appears that it is only the intoxicated or the crazy ones living in locked wards who can be without fear of unforgiving criticism:’ “They act that way because they are drunk, or mad.” But with the shrinkage of free space where a person can be “off stage,” the frequency of physical breakdown and withdrawal from social roles (mental illness) may be expected to increase. Or, as often happens, an entire nation can sustain its present mode of social organization only if all pent-up tension is transmuted into aggression directed to an external enemy, in organized warfare. More than one society has avoided collapse or revolution by virtue of a well-timed war. A society that would endure must draw a sharp distinction between public and private, if for no other reason than to make it a fit society within which people will gladly live-not just for material benefits but for the rich experience of existence that participation in the society affords. “
The news on data compromise and invasion of privacy by Google, facebook and other applications has made people pause and think about the real costs of using applications extensively. In fact I myself started wondering how much access I have inadvertently given regarding my photos, my locations, my programs, my correspondence, my routine and so on.
When I think now about the questions which pop above while using any app like , do you allow this app to take pictures, or use camera or access your contact list etc. I felt they were innocent, but not really. I blindly clicked yes foe each one of them but they were certainly not innocent questions. And I was too naïve and trusting like many others.
Now I decided to test it out for myself and this is what I found. It’s highly invasive, Google truth is shocking, it’s disturbing and it certainly spooked me!
Location: If you are using Google Maps or location all your movements are being stored I mean ALL. And it’s stored in a chronological fashion from the time you were using the app.
Which means every single place you have been to, the time of visit, how long you stayed and if friend’s location is turned on too then who you were with? I. fact it also tracks the route you took and breaks if any you took. And the cherry on top Google tracks your location even if THE GPS IS TURNED OFF, yes it does!! My location was tracked even when my GPS was off.
- Coming to Google Activity: if you happen to use this then remember all your search history is being stored for all the devices which are synched. And it gets even creepier that the information is stored in a separate database which means that even if you delete your history it is still stored by google. Implication is very clear you no longer have a say in deleting your search history. It can exist till eternity without your knowledge.
- When you go for the option SIGN IN WITH GOOGLE, it begins to store all your information regarding the apps. Like how often you use them, what kind of people you interact with, who are your friends, times of interactions, durations, the profile and nationality of your user groups and so on. Same happens when you sign in with Facebook, your history invasive data starts getting collected.
- How did I know all this? I used Google Takeout to get my data.And this is what I got. I got all my contacts, emails, google drive files, photos that I had taken using my phone, the sites I visited, products I bought. The Google calendar had all the events I attended, time of attending, all engagements like meetings personal or official, their location and time.
- My google drive data included obviously what was on the drive and what was EVER on google drive. But what really shocked me was that it contained files which I had DELETED long time back and these contained sensitive information like bank information etc.
- The information I received from Google Takeout also included photos taken by my phone along with location and date. All my email details were also there, all the mails I had sent or received, also I ones I had DELETED. Yes this was another shock.
- The records also had all image searches I had ever done, saved. Every site I ever visited every document I ever read or any video I ever watched. All the search keys I ever used, every place on the globe I searched for, every person I ever searched for, CRAZY. Similarly Google activity Data had all my info regarding what ads I click, what apps I download, or search for and when.
Give this a thought, Google and other apps are much more invasive than you would like to believe. It’s like giving a spy camera to them willingly and the worst part is you don’t even know what is happening with your information. Imagine the photos you click of yourself and your family are stored even after you delete them from an app. What happens with them? Are you unknowing guinea pigs?
It reminds me of an old adage “There is no free lunch” I think when they don’t charge you for a service or an app , it’s not really free , you are paying by giving access to your information. And it is much more costly, precious even.
So my advice is return to the old days of non-smart phones, keep a simple phone to talk and a separate camera to take pictures. Don’t link every app with Google or Facebook etc. just because it’ss easier.
Take care of your info as I am sure they don’t store it for your sake. NO I don’t believe they care for me at all!!
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