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Google collects more information on users than ever before

Google collects 39 data points per user, considerably more than other technology giants.

Google. — © AFP
Google. — © AFP

Data analysed by Atlas VPN reveals that Google collects the most information about its users compared with the five leading technology giants, namely: Google, Facebook, Twitter, Amazon, and Apple.

Effective data privacy management means the ability of a person to determine for themselves when, how, and to what extent personal information about them is shared with or communicated to others. This is seldom possible in relation to interactions with major technology firms.

The findings show that Google collects 39 data points per user, considerably more than other technology giants. However, Amazon sources data about its user credit history from credit bureaus.

According to Forbes, based on Google’s web browser: “Chrome is totally out of step with Safari, Edge and Firefox, shattering Google’s “privacy first web” claims.”

Of the five firms, Apple is the most privacy-conscious company, with only 12 data points collected per user. As things stand, all five companies are collecting data of value, either to use for analytics, to target advertising or to sell on to third parties. The degree to which this matters depends on individual perceptions of privacy, as well as the views of national governments seeking to introduce or strengthen data privacy arrangements.

While the technology firms are ‘open’ about the data they collect and the reasons for this, few user have the time or patience, and perhaps understanding, to plough through the policies tucked away on websites.

The primary data was collected and made public by the team, which read through the privacy policies and extracted the data points. Atlas VPN summed up the collected data points for each company and provided the output to Digital Journal.

In terms of the type of data collected, take Amazon as an example. For personal information, Amazon logs your name, username, password, phone number, payment information, shipping address, and email. Nothing out of the ordinary for the most part since it is an e-commerce website, but there is one caveat – they collect your social security number and driver’s license information.

Another interesting fact is that Amazon sources data about your credit history from credit bureaus.

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Written By

Dr. Tim Sandle is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for science news. Tim specializes in science, technology, environmental, business, and health journalism. He is additionally a practising microbiologist; and an author. He is also interested in history, politics and current affairs.

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