security

Urgent warning Google tracks you and collects your personal data – here’s how to stop it… – The Sun


GOOGLE collects an alarming amount of personal data from users – but there are ways to protect yourself.

The tech giant announced in 2020 that its accounts will automatically delete private data for you after 18 months.

Cyber security experts have offered many tips for bolstering protection from Google's tracking and data collection practices

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Cyber security experts have offered many tips for bolstering protection from Google’s tracking and data collection practicesCredit: SOPA Images/LightRocket via Gett

But cyber security experts have offered many tips for bolstering protection from Google’s tracking and data collection practices.

Top tips include modifying account settings to limit the data Google collects on your account and using third-party apps to keep your details locked down.

The most important advice experts have for users is to understand what kind of information – and how much – Google is tracking for them.

Keeping a close eye on personal data collected by Google has become even more crucial in recent weeks.

Last month, the company issued an urgent warning about a security flaw in the Chrome app which could put users at risk of “surveillance, manipulation and abuse” by hackers.

It was revealed just weeks after Google admitted it “accidentally” allowed the secret tracking of millions of users, according to Forbes.

While Google has maintained that it is working hard to protect users’ security, cyber experts urged them to take matters into their own hands.

Journalist Dale Smith provided a list of “best practices” for Google users in an article for CNET, which is summarized below.

WHAT IS GOOGLE COLLECTING?

Smith instructed users to start the protection process by reviewing the information it is currently collecting on them – and then change their settings to limit it.

To do so, Google users can go the Data & Personalization section of the navigation bar.

From there, scroll to Activity Controls and select Web & App Activity to see the bevy of information being stored – from searches to viewing history to voice commands.

Users can either turn tracking off entirely, or select specific activities to allow or prohibit individually.

‘PRIVATE’ vs. ‘PUBLIC’

Smith also suggested checking out which details on your account are considered “public” or “private” by Google.

He warned that many of the details deemed “public” may come as a surprise – including phone number, birthday and other email addresses.

To see what Google is sharing from your account, click Personal Info on the menu bar and scroll down to About Me.

AUTO-DELETE

By default, Google clears personal information from storage after 18 months.

However, users can go into settings and pick a shorter timeframe for different areas, including Location History, Google Assistant commands and YouTube viewing history.

OUTSIDE HELP

Google has long been accused of shady data collection practices that could be affecting you without your knowledge.

For extra protection, CNET cultivated a list of eight apps that can help obscure your information.

The apps include virtual private networks, encryption tools and browsers geared toward keeping your details safe.

Google knows where you are 24/7 – Here’s how to change hidden default setting

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