Monday, February 11, 2019

22 Things Big Tech Companies Know About You Right Now

You'd be surprised just how much big tech companies like Google, Facebook, Apple, Twitter and Amazon know about you.
They're collecting information about you and your habits right now.
This information is being used to market specifically to your preferences.
Wondering just how much they know about you?
Here are 22 things they're collecting data on.

1. Personal Information

First of all is basic information like your name, gender, birthday, contact information, etc.
If you're on social media in any capacity, these are easy enough to dig up unless you're using a fake name.

2. Location and Address

Most tech services make use of location tracking on smartphones.
That means where you live and your usual routes can be tracked.
This is especially useful for local businesses looking to market to customers in the area.

3. Relationship Status

Whether you're single or married affects what's marketed to you.
For instance, if you just got engaged, you may get ads related to weddings.
If you just got married, you may start seeing furniture and baby product ads.

4. Work Status and Income Level

Businesses want to market to people with employment or other sources of income.
Your income level will dictate the ads you see.

5. Educational Background

College graduates are more likely to have higher employment, which typically correlates to higher income -- accordingly, companies are tracking your education level.

6. Ethnicity

Big tech companies track your race/ethnicity.

7. Religious and Political Beliefs

They also want to know people's religious beliefs and political leanings.

8. Facial Recognition Data

Face ID is becoming more ubiquitous as a biometric security solution, mostly thanks to Apple.
Casinos, for example, have databases of facial recognition data to track everyone going in and out.
China is also tapping into the technology for their sophisticated public surveillance systems.

9. Financial and Banking Information

This is information you have to be really careful with since it involves your money.
There are people out there who can do bad things if your financial information is dug up.
But people do tend to enter their credit card numbers in online stores, so companies get them all the time.

10. IP Address

If you're using a device connected to the Internet, it will be assigned a unique IP address.
As long as your IP address is known, your online activities can be tracked.
Even your device can be hacked into if you're unlucky or not careful enough.
That's why you have to be very careful about people knowing your IP address.

11. Communications

When you send a message or make a call online, they're most likely archived in some way.
Instant messengers like Facebook Messenger stores your chat history.
Meanwhile, applications like Skype can store your call history as well.

12. Calendar Events

If you use a calendar app like Google Calendar, the data regarding those events is kept even after they're over.
Companies use it to learn how you spend your time, how organized you are, and how busy you are.

13. Search History

Every time you search something on Google or other search engines, the query gets stored.
Your search history can say a lot about what things you're interested in.

14. Media Consumed

Whatever you tend to watch on YouTube says a lot about you and your interests.
It's especially true now since are videos on just about everything on the Internet these days.
It's not just videos they're tracking -- they keep track of the games you play, music you listen to, books you read, etc.

15. Web Browsing History

Even if you delete your browser history, Google will still remember what websites you visited.
Not only do they know where you've been, but they also know how long you've stuck around.
They may also know where you go at what usual times, so they get your browsing habits.

16. Social Media Behavior

It's natural nowadays for everything you do on social media to be recorded.
Whatever you like and comment in, the pages and profiles you follow, the people you block, and so on are all kept in your account's history.

17. Purchase History

Naturally, online stores keep records of what you buy from them.
It lets you track whatever you've bought before so you know how much you've spent.
The data can also be used to advertise products you gravitate to.

18. Fitness and Health Data

Fitness trackers are everywhere now, and that fitness and health data sometimes get uploaded.
They can say much about your exercise habits, how health conscious you are, and how consistent you are with your fitness regimen.

19. Clicked Ads

Companies want to know if their ads are being clicked on.
They're tracking those clicks, as well as the ad copy and format that caused the clicks.

20. Posts Hidden from Facebook Newsfeed

Social media platforms are interested in what posts on your feed irk you.
If a certain page tends to post content that gets blocked or hidden by a lot of people, that's a cause for concern.

21. Devices Used

Companies are also interested in the devices you use to access the Internet.
This influences how they shape their media formats -- for example, the widespread use of mobile devices has caused companies to make content and ads more mobile-friendly.

22. Voice Data

More people are now using devices like Amazon Alexa or Google home to access information and buy things.
You better believe there's a record of your voice data, too.
This infographic from Visual Capitalist shows exactly what tech companies like Google, Facebook, Apple, Twitter, Amazon and Microsoft have admitted to collecting about you.