Do you remember when you didn’t have to worry about your privacy while browsing online? This was before the days of online targeted advertising and GPS-enabled apps. While there are numerous benefits to transparency online, the average internet user might not be aware of how little privacy they have when usingmajor search engines.
Before Google’s latest privacy change announcement this past summer, the search engine giant promised its users that it would prioritize their online privacy and keep their personal information safe from browsing data collected by Gmail and other sources. Despite this assurance, on June 28, Google changed its privacy stance and is now requesting account owners choose to share more personal data.
“Before we launched this update, we tested it around the world with the goal of understanding how to provide users with clear choice and transparency,” Google explained. “As a result, it is 100% optional – if users do not opt-in to these changes, their Google experience will remain unchanged. Equally important: we provided prominent user notifications about this change in easy-to-understand language as well as simple tools that let users control or delete their data.”
Google purchased the online advertising network DoubleClickin 2007 and assured its supporters that it would not share their personal information to create new advertising products and material. Withthe new privacy change, Google can now let its ads know who you are, wherever you go across multiple devices. Essentially, targeted ads will follow you wherever you browse or shop online, according to Endgaget. DoubleClickwill evolve based on information users type into Gmail, and Google can also build up a more robust profile, such as your search attempts or browsing habits, to provide more information for DoubleClick to use.
“Google is actually quite late to this game. By now, most of the websites you visit are already sharing your activity with a wide network of third parties who share, collaborate, link and de-link personal information in order to target ads,” Jules Polonetsky from Future of Privacy Forum said to The Guardian. “Some users may appreciate relevant advertising, many others may not. What’s critical is that there are easy ways for those who want to avoid the more robust types of data targeting to be able to take easy steps to do so.”
If you are concerned about having your personal information so easily available online, The Guardian reported that you can go to the activity controls section of your Google account page and “untick” the box that says, “Include Chrome browsing history and activity from websites and apps that use Google services”.
We know that it can be alarming to hear about threats to your privacy and data breaches that could compromise your identity. Sometimes it can seem that you have to change everything about the way you live your life just to be more secure. But we at Identity Guard understand that your unique habits are what make you, you. That’s why we made Privacy Now, a personalized approach to protecting your identity and managing your risk. Check out how we can help you protect what’s yours.