How Your Phone Spies on You

Technology vector created by macrovector – www.freepik.com

Have you ever had a conversation with a friend about the latest iPhone, only to see adverts, on the web later?

How could your phone know what you were talking about earlier? It feels creepy, like you’re being spied on.

The truth, is that you are giving so much data to Facebook and Google by using your phone, that your phone doesn’t need to listen to what you say.

They have so much data, they can predict what you like to buy or search for.

How Facebook and Google Stalk You

Facebook and Google have access to you all over the web.

In 2017 Google had trackers on 75% of the top million websites in the world, Facebook had 25%. Both those numbers have increased since then.

When I talk about trackers I am referring to Tracking Pixels or Spy Pixels. As the name suggests they stalk you.

Tracking Pixels are invisible pieces of code in emails or web-pages you visit. You won’t even know they’re there.

These Tracking Pixels follow you to other websites, reporting back to their parent company, which sites you visited, what you did, how long you were there, what device you were using, where in the world you were… The list creeps on and on.

Google and Facebook’s services are free to use, because you are the product. They sell your data to companies who want to sell you things or change your worldview.

Your data can be sold to anyone who wants to use it.

This is an invasion of your privacy and an attack on your human right own your data.

Over the course of this series of posts I will explain in depth, why.

From marketing products to using your data to manipulate you.

How To Stop Tracking Pixels

DuckDuckGo’s plug-in for your browser (Chrome or Safari etc) blocks trackers. Their mobile app blocks Spy Pixels when you browse the web too.

Using a VPN can also help hide your location and what you are looking at on the web. This link also explains the benefits of VPNs. I will write more about these at a later date.

Why “I’ve got nothing to hide” is a Bad Argument Against Data Privacy

Big Tech is always watching
Photo by Scott Webb on Unsplash

Do you shower with the door open?

Do you tell everyone your salary?

Do you openly discuss your doctor’s visits?

If you answered “no” to any of the above, you care about privacy. So you should care about digital privacy.

You might think that it’s okay if big companies want your data, because you’re “too boring” for them to bother with you.

Google and Facebook don’t think you’re boring. Big Tech are now the most valuable companies in the world and they run on your data.

If you want to see an in-depth, terrifying account of how our data can be used against us, you must watch the Great Hack on Netflix. It explains the ways your data can be used against you by these companies, using Cambridge Analytica as an example.

Facebook has more users than any single sovereign country and has founds ways to get people to volunteer their most personal information, only to use it against them or sell it to people who will.

Facebook can stalk you around the web even when you aren’t using the app and sell that information to other companies. So even if you trusted Facebook (why would you?) then you need to make sure you trust all the companies they sell to as well.

Google knows where you go (maps), what you want to know (search) and pretty much anything else that can be turned into data.

Don’t Hide, Protect

Privacy is not about hiding, it’s about protecting your information. You have a right to keep your information to yourself.

The law has not been able to keep up with technology, so while you do have a right to privacy, Big Tech doesn’t have a legal obligation to care yet.

Start Simple with DuckDuckGo

One simple way to protect your privacy is to add the DuckDuckGo plugin to your Chrome browser or use the DuckDuckGo app instead of Google, to find things out on your phone.

A quick look through their website will show you how they can protect your privacy and most of my ideas for this post came from one of their own blog posts.

I plan to write more about data privacy, why you should care and how to protect yourself in my upcoming posts.

I am not affiliated with DuckDuckGo or being paid by them for recommendations, my opinions are my own.