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Google Hears You, Sells Your Data, and Knows Your Dark Secrets

Are you an adult who frequently searches for nearby restaurants on Google? Are you a teenager who wants to know what to do on your first date? Are you an entrepreneur who wants to look at the latest trends? Are you a globetrotter who wants to plan for your next vacation? All you have to do is write the magic words on Google and enter a world of unlimited information consisting of websites, articles, and videos. 

Most people rely on Google searches to learn something they don’t know and might spend hours until they find what they are looking for. The best part about Google is you don’t have to pay for anything because you are already making them rich by sharing your private data. 

That’s right: Google makes money out of your private data. 

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You might have seen those ads lurking around in a corner of your screen to offer you a discounted dinner deal, an enticing travel coupon, or a romantic yet cheap gift for your dinner date. You see these regular ads because Google is selling out your data to the highest bidder, which can be an online retailer, a startup, Amazon, or any eCommerce website looking for customers. Heck, it may even be you.

For some people, the ads on Google may not bother them and they say, “Hey, Google is actually helping me out by telling me where to buy stuff from.” Generation Z or millennials are less concerned about their private data and more inclined towards getting what they want from Google. They’re okay with giving up some information to get the most interesting ads. And frankly, why does it matter? They’re okay with sharing highlights of their day on Instagram or Facebook and communicating with like-minded individuals, perhaps giving up some identifying information in the process. Phones are buzzing with Twitter notifications and Tinder requests to help Internet users stay connected to the world. They’ll take it. 

The thing is, that’s dangerous. Google doesn’t see you as a person behind a computer or mobile screen trying to figure out what he or she wants to buy, but it sees you as a commodity. Your data quite literally—and the data of hundreds of millions of other people—is the driving force to run hundreds of Internet ads and make trillions of dollars in a single year. But how does Google show specific ads to every single Internet user?                    

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Have you ever heard of the phrase “Despise the free lunch?” In case you wanted to understand this, it’s simple: what’s free is dangerous. This may sound rude but it still holds some adequate amount of value in a data-driven world. Google offers free access to the Internet but it does so by tricking you, in a way: Google takes away your online privacy by monitoring your digital life. Therefore, it can predict your behavior, buying patterns, do’s and don’ts, fear factors, likes, dislikes, and even your boundaries. 

We, the PureVengers, are the flag bearers of online privacy and are very much concerned about how Google uses our data and the impact it has on the life of every Internet user. Let us just give you an insight into how investors and companies use data to their advantage. 

The Trump administration spent up to $1 million dollars every single day to run ads and sway the decisions of American voters. They created the Project Alamo database with the help of Cambridge Analytica to target states and voters for the 2016 US Presidential Elections. Why are we raising politics here? Because your privacy is being invaded, and this data is helping make decisions for you.. 

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And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Google doesn’t have to fight for your data because you are practically gift-wrapping it to them. Internet users have become so careless that no one reads the privacy policy that sometimes clearly mentions how Google is going to use the data or any private information you feed into browsers. 

To make a long story short, you must have security in place to make sure Google is not entirely nagging into your private lives and can only access limited information about you. You can start by turning off Google Voice assistant, Off-Facebook activity, and uninstalling third-party apps that ask you permission to use your data. 

We are now sharing a few short guides to help you start your cyberhygiene journey. Below are some systematic step-by-step procedures that you can follow to ensure Google, Facebook, Amazon, or Tesla are not mishandling your data and making trillions of dollars. 

#1: Turn Off Google Voice on Your Phone

Follow the steps mentioned below: 

  1. Go to Settings. 
  2. Choose the General Tab. 
  3. Under the personal tab, click the language and input. 
  4. Tap the Settings button on Google Voice Typing. 
  5. Select the “OK Google” detection. 
  6. On the “From the Google app”, turn off the option. 

#2: Secure Your Gmail Account

Follow these steps: 

  1. Go to the Google 2-Step authentication option. 
  2. Choose the “Get Started” option. 
  3. Log in to your Gmail account. 
  4. Select and turn on the 2-step option.
  5. Use your phone number in the section when prompted.
  6. Select Send Code. 
  7. Enter the verification code.
  8. Click on the Trust this computer option. 
  9. Select Next and enter Confirm.  

#3: Disable Off-Facebook Activity Option

Follow these instructions:

  1. Log in to your Facebook account. 
  2. Go to the Settings option. 
  3. Choose “Off-Facebook activity” and clear your history.
  4. Click on More Options. 
  5. Choose Manage activity. 
  6. Turn off future Facebook activity. 

Are We Really Safe on the Internet?

The short answer is not really. But you can use online privacy tools like 2-step authentication or VPNs to make sure prying eyes or surveillance agencies are not penetrating into your private lives. This is the sole reason why we, the PureVengers, are on a mission to help Internet users stay safe and secure their digital lives as much as they can. 

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Sameed Ajax Sameed is a Digital Content Producer at PureVPN who covers cybersecurity, streaming, and weekly news. Besides that, he wastes time playing FIFA, eating pizza, and sending tweets.

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