What are they collecting about me?


Artist: Davide Bonazzi

Illustration of data collection

Keaton Smith

Most find advertisements online to be quite annoying. This is, however, nowhere near as annoying as the platforms’ data collection.

According to The Federal Trade Commission back in 2019 Google and Youtube were fined 170 million dollars for violating children’s privacy! Of course this greedy business model isn’t limited to just Google. Every single platform on the internet and even apps on phones collect information to sell it.

A vast amount of data is collected on digital platforms to sell it to advertisers. Facebook, Instagram, Google, Youtube, and many more sell personal data to advertisers to make money. Doesn’t sound like such a free service now, right?

Let’s take a look at Google for example. They take a very concerning amount of information, most of the time without users even being aware of it. This can include: phone numbers, search history, location, home and work address, anything with google assistant, music preferences, gender, age, and much more. 

So how can someone stop this collection? Well the simplest solution is to limit or even eliminate social media usage. Unfortunately though in this day and age that’s extremely uncommon and can be quite restrictive. Another options is to try using DuckDuckGo which is a privacy oriented browser that claims to not collect information. Users can also modify settings in the privacy tab that lists all the permissions apps have and location tracking. On Google within a personal account, one can simply click on the profile picture and select “Manage your Google Account” that displays a variety of privacy settings that can be selected. Many recommend turning off location tracking for almost all apps (exception: maps) or change it to only use location while using the app.

Make sure to keep private information safe and secure on the internet. Not only is it creepy, but imagine if the data became public or was shared. Identity theft is no joke and it’s best to take action before it’s too late. It’s always a good idea to limit the information these platforms have access too.