How Can You Protect Your Privacy When Using Google?
This article is primarily seeking to explain what options you have to control your privacy when using Google.
You can decide what types of activity you would like to have saved in your account. The various options relate to web and app activity, location history, device information, voice & audio activity, YouTube search history and YouTube watch history. You might be surprised to see that, for example, Google has a record that you said ‘hey Google, play radio 2 at 06.45’ 2 weeks ago.
In the Ad Settings you can manage your preferences about the ads which Google and their partner apps show you. You can amend your interests and choose whether you wish to have your personal data used to make ads more relevant to you. You are also able to turn certain advertising services on or off.
You are able to control what other people see about you across Google services.
You can also do a Google privacy check-up at https://myaccount.google.com/privacycheckup. Enjoy exploring what information Google is holding about you. It is interesting to note that there are over 2 million non-google websites and apps that partner with Google to show adverts.
The Chief Executive of Google, Sundar Pichai recently wrote an article, which was published in the New York Times (7 May 2019), saying that privacy should not be a luxury. He states that “people today are rightly concerned about how their information is used and shared, yet they all define privacy in their own ways. I’ve seen this first-hand as I talk to people in different parts of the world. To the families using the internet through a shared device, privacy might mean privacy from one another. To the small-business owner who wants to start accepting credit card payments, privacy means keeping customer data secure. To the teenager sharing selfies, privacy could mean the ability to delete that data in the future.” He goes on recognising that over the past 20 years billions of people have trusted Google with questions they wouldn’t have asked their closest friends, such as what is this weird rash on my arm? He concludes the article by saying that Google has a responsibility to lead in the area of privacy protection.
Google have reportedly recently announced that they will be rolling out a dashboard-like function in its Chrome browser to offer users more control in fending off privacy-invading tracking cookies. However, as reported in Time magazine, some critics say that Google’s privacy updates sidestep more substantial changes that could threaten its ad-driven business model. Jeremy Tillan, the president of Ghostery, an organisation which provides ad-blocking and anti-tracking software, says that the updates only offer marginal improvements: “[T]hey are not bad, but they almost seem like they’re designed to give the company a better messaging push instead of making wholesale improvements to user privacy.”
Google have announced that they will be opening a global hub for Google’s cross-product privacy engineering efforts in Munich, which is to be called the Google Safety Engineering Centre (‘GSEC’). They have stated that they will be doubling the number of privacy engineers to more than 200 by the end of this year.
If you have any queries about data protection compliance, please feel free to contact us – we love talking about privacy and data protection!