While it may sound like something from a tinfoil hat conspiracy theory website, the big corporations are, in fact, watching you. Google tracking doesn’t work like the popular meme, with everyone having their own FBI agent supervisor, but there is the AI.
Google’s artificial intelligence collects your name, pseudonyms, IP address, personal information, and much more. For most people using services like Gmail or Google Chrome, the Alphabet Corporation already has enough data to steal their identity in an instant.
But, unlike other companies, the chance that some third party will hack into Google is slim. People who can do that already work for the company. The biggest scare here is the corporation itself. What happens when you do something that is harming the corporation, or their shareholders?
Thankfully, there are ways to protect yourself. Using this ‘’Cyber October”, the month of cybersecurity in both the EU and the US, you should learn more about cyber hygiene, VPN options, and data security. VPN providers like Le VPN offer ways to encompass your cybersecurity and shield yourself from all malicious entities online, both artificial and biological.
Why Google Tracks You?
Short answer? Money.
But, Google is not like most services and some very popular social media giants. It doesn’t sell your data directly to marketing companies. Google uses that data internally.
Alphabet Inc, the parent company of Google, makes the most money from its program called ‘’Google Ads”. This is the current name of AdWords, and it publishes ads for those affiliated with the service on other websites.
Roughly 85% of Google’s revenue comes from ads, and the more ads are used and clicked on the more the company makes. This is why the company is very interested in what you are looking for any why.
While they will never sell the information they have on you, the amount alone is staggering. For those who don’t use a VPN or have other forms of protection, Google probably knows more about them than they know about themselves. It goes far beyond any IP address tracker that can be on a regular website.
The incognito mode in Chrome will not, by any means, prevent the company from collecting and processing your data. This feature is used to prevent other users from seeing your browsing history and making fun of your anime loli waifu and/or husbando.
From the program’s perspective, you have done nothing. All of the data previously sent will still be included, and connected to your IP address, real name, and email address.
The only thing the Incognito Mode will do is to create a separate channel and determine if the person browsing is someone else, a guest or a friend, or if it is you but after midnight.
By using this mode, you will be sending even more data to Google. This way they might find out your romantic or sexual inclinations. Google also follows you on adult websites such as PornHub for even more data.
Researchers from The New York Times have found out that Google tracking software can be found in 74% of all websites tested. Other leading tech giants in this field are also Facebook and Oracle.
How Does Google Tracking Works?
For most information, you have filled out the fields yourself and gave them express permission to use them. Even the scary things like the actual Google Map Timeline have been allowed by not reading the terms of service (ToS).
Even if you don’t have your location services enabled, but use your mobile data, Google will still track the locations you have traveled to. Premium providers like Le VPN have a VPN for Android devices, which is one of only a few ways to prevent Google from tracking your movement.
If you are using an iPhone this will not be the case. With this brand of smartphone, it will be Apple tracking your movement in the same way.
For all other data, Google collects it from the website you are accessing either via tracking cookies or software pushed on the website itself. This way they can know where you clicked, how long have you watched something, and how that falls into your life.
Everything will be done to sell you more of the products and services you need, and faster.
Types of Information Gathered
Most security experts would be unable to explain the amount and type of data accessed. It ranges from the basic to the intimate, to the downright frightening. Additionally, the algorithm will fill out the data it needs, based on patterns and know even the things you haven’t told it.
This is why you sometimes see ads about things mentioned only in conversation. Google is spying on you, but not via the microphone but with the cutting edge technology that predicts what you want and need.
Google will collect both your location data and location history, as well as the information which people were close to you most often. By using their data the AI will know if they are working with you, or if they are your friend or partner.
Google is tracking activity even when you use a VPN. The only difference is that in those cases the browsing is mashed with hundreds of others using the same server, as well as masked by the IP tunnel.
Risks of Seeding Your Info
The founding father of the USA, globally known for his face being on the $100 bill, Benjamin Franklin once said: ‘’Those who would give up essential Liberty, to purchase a little temporary Safety, deserve neither Liberty nor Safety.’’
Well, by seeding your personal information you get just that, neither liberty or safety!
Primarily, your private data is at risk, as well as all of the banking, communication, and travel information you might have on your devices. By slowly compiling the information you provide on websites and matching those with your IP address both companies and hackers can get your entire profile.
From identity theft to credit card misuse, all sorts of unwanted events may follow this trail of private information.
Next, there is your physical security, as well as the security of your home. If a hacker can follow and track you everywhere you go, they can sell that information to burglars and mark your home. Even worse, someone can be kidnapped this way relatively easily.
Finally, there is a risk to our civil liberty. It is not a question of ‘’if” but ‘’when” the corporations and the governments that serve them will misuse the power they have to silence, harass, or completely unperson, someone.
Google tracking is not the only type of privacy invasion out there. All kinds of companies, institutions, and even private groups try to track people’s movement. Google is just the best at doing that.
These trackers can follow your location, marking every place you go to, and how much you stay. Making a full timeline of where you’ve been and how you move, the AI will try (and succeed) in knowing where you will go next.
If you don’t know what is a proxy, this ‘’Cyber’’ October would be a good time to find out. Using both a proxy server and a proxy persona online is becoming a better idea by the day.
If you are living in a country that doesn’t really place civil liberty in high regard such as the People’s Republic of China, you will find yourself literally being watched wherever you go.
But, even if you are living in ‘’free countries’’, you will not be able to hide from the all-seeing corporate eye. Companies will try to catch your face and match it with your credit card, your email, and finally your IP address.
Some companies and most governments are also not above actually hacking your phone camera and using that to spy on both you and your friends.
Even though stealing your financial information is not the worst thing that can happen to you, you will feel it the most.
Google and other tech giants will never take money from your account, but they will follow what you buy. Using online wallets and similar apps, or simply purchasing Google products will put you on the map and add your financial information to your profile.
But, if you leave your financial information with a shady retailer or some other service, there is a chance that it will fall into even worse hands. Data thieves and other criminals will have nothing against using your info to clone your card and pull out as much money from it as possible.
Not that many people are directly politically or socially active online. But, that doesn’t mean that you are not being censored. If you were ever to find a cause or a grievance, there is a chance that you will be caught on early by Google tracking and ‘’blacklisted’’.
In the US media, it seems like those placed on these lists usually lean to the right, but that is not at all the case. Most of the content dealing with minority issues as well as labor rights have been excluded from search lists and filters.
The worst thing is that this type of corporate censorship is not done for strictly political reasons. Most of the content is removed, demonetized, or censored simply for not being good enough for advertisement.
What would happen if a corporation claimed all of the data they have on you? What if they deny you from using your real name, credit card, or phone?
While ‘’unpersoning’’ never officially happened in the West, it is not like we would know if it did.
With the increasing number of our connections and communication done online, simply cutting someone off the grid would be equal to removing them from existence.
Advantages of Being in the Matrix
Most internet enthusiasts live in a smart house, with their smartphone, smart fridge, Internet of Things, and their AI assistant always online.
Most software developers live off the grid with the newest piece of tech being an old printer from 2004, and a gun next to it in case it makes a funny beep.
Now, there are some advantages to being connected to all of the modern services, and it is not exactly sane to live like a caveman in the age of information. But, some precautions should be made if you don’t want the AI to take over your life at some point.
If you are on the go, especially in a foreign land, it is not a bad idea to have your online map by your side. Using instant location services like Google Maps or iMaps is very useful.
But, you don’t need to be connected to that Google account with your real name and information. You should always use a VPN for your mobile phone and a puppet account for your location services.
It works the same for you, but it doesn’t give the information to the corporations.
Instant payment with your credit card is a huge advantage when it comes to buying things both online and IRL.
Yes, it is much more private paying in cash, but in that case, you can even go all-in paranoia and pay with gold Krugerrands.
There is a compromise on this issue, especially when paying online. You can always make an anonymous gift card for your online purchases. This way you can keep your data exposure to a minimum while still having all the advantages of using a card.
It is impossible to order something off Amazon or other online markets if you don’t give them the address where they need to deliver the goods. Here you will need to enter both your location and your financial data, but you will get that same day shipping.
It is also possible to be creative here and protect your information, but none of the solutions are foolproof. The best thing you can do is to have a communal drop-spot and a gift card, but that means cooperating with your neighbors in person.
Everyone should use this October, as the month of cybersecurity, to become aware of the risks that lurk online. While there are a lot of dangers on the web, there are also a lot of solutions.
Some solutions are easy and quite technical. Professional VPN providers like Le VPN offer both military-grade encryption and a free VPN server selection app where you can easily switch and mask your IP address and location.
Additionally, there are other technical solutions that you should use daily. Updating your operating system and installing an anti-malware tool is a great start.
Finally, some solutions require a bit more creativity and you should do them as much as you are comfortable. Practicing cyber hygiene and being careful where you leave your information is essential.
Using a VPN
There is a huge difference between using a shareware VPN or a free proxy server and using a premium service. Even the best free VPN will not be even remotely as secure, and can even present a risk on its own.
Premium providers guarantee your security and anonymity. Additionally, companies like Le VPN offer apps that work on all platforms, as well as innovative solutions like Open VPN.
Practicing Cyber Hygiene
Keeping clean is as important online as it is in real life. While a generally new concept, cyber hygiene is becoming increasingly more important. With all the financial information, personal data, and private content we carry on our phones, we need to be aware of what would happen if they get stolen.
This is why you should be diligent in cleaning your devices from any residue information. You should have an external hard drive that will keep all of that content in a safe place with the rest of your computer or phone staying clean.
Additionally, it would be good to change your passwords and clear your online information as often as possible. While you may not prevent Google tracking from accessing your Android device, you can at least disconnect that account from your real name and private information.
Make a Persona
You may hear how people who don’t use their real names online are just trolls that want to harass people. Those who say that are the exact same ones that would harass you both offline and in general.
Keeping an alias, and changing it often, is a good idea. You don’t need to overact and make a full D&D character, just a name, and location that are as far from your real home as possible. Island of Réunion sounds marvelous this time of the year.
If you have ever wondered if the giant corporations are tracking you, the answer is a resounding yes. Google tracking is so prevalent that there is probably not a single person online who isn’t being tracked in some way.
While you can’t prevent Google tracking you, you can feed it false data. Using a premium VPN from Le VPN to mask your IP and location, and a persona online to mask your real identity will confuse Google and protect your privacy.
During this October, take some time to learn everything you can about how you can improve your cybersecurity and have a better time online in general.
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