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Google collects more information on users than ever before

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Google collects more information on users than ever before

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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 Security.org 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.

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

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Interest in leaving Twitter grows as Musk’s grip tightens

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Twitter is changing under new owner Elon Musk

Twitter is changing under new owner Elon Musk – Copyright AFP/File Ben STANSALL

Analysis of Google Trends data reveals that web search trends for ‘Delete Twitter Account’ in the U.S. grew 335 percent on 1st week of November, 2022, around the same day when Elon Musk officially bought Twitter for $44 billion. Atypical for a takeover on this scale, the process was played out in public.

Many of the concerns are connected with the apparent right-wing shift in terms of the social media platform’s ethos that is being constructed as the result of Musk’s acquisition.

This finding came from a business-to-business networking site called SeeBiz. The company also saw a major increase in Google web search trends for other variations like “deactivate twitter”, “delete twitter”, “how to deactivate twitter”, “deactivate twitter account” etc. All the search term variations related to delete twitter are following same increasing trend as per the Google.

Elon Musk dubbed himself ‘Chief Twit’ in his Twitter profile and listed his location as the company’s San Francisco headquarters, as the deadline nears for him to complete his buyout. – Copyright AFP Hector RETAMAL

According to Richard Seymour writing in The Guardian, Musk has not purchased Twitter as the outcome of sound business analysis. Instead, this is part of political project and the consequences are unlikely to be positive. Seymour writes that Musk: “Notoriously rules by fear, breaking the law, busting unions and firing employees who criticise him. He appears to want to establish the same pattern at Twitter, based on his apparently unassailable conviction that he knows best.”

The chaos surrounding Elon Musk and his Twitter takeover seems to have upset a lot of the social media platform’s user base. Similar increase in trend these terms was also seen in the last week of April 2022, when Twitter initially announced that it had come to an agreement with Elon Musk.

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Analysis was also performed on the same trend in Google search volume as well:

Keywords and phrases Jul-22 Aug-22 Sep-22 Oct-22 Increase %
delete twitter account 60,500 60,500 49,500 110,000 94%
deactivate twitter 4,400 4,400 3,600 8,100 96%
delete twitter 5,400 5,400 4,400 12,100 139%
how to delete twitter 6,600 6,600 3,600 6,600 18%
how to deactivate twitter 3,600 2,900 2,900 5,400 72%
deactivate twitter account 1,600 1,600 1,300 2,900 93%
how to delete your twitter account 2,400 2,400 1,900 3,600 61%
how to delete twitter account permanently 1,000 1,000 1,000 1,900 90%
how to delete my twitter account 1,600 1,300 1,300 3,600 157%
how do I delete my twitter account 1,900 1,900 1,600 8,100 350%

In the U.S., the reaction to the buyout has been split along partisan lines, with praise for Musk’s planned reforms and vision for the company, particularly his calls for greater free speech coming from those of a conservative leaning. In contrast, Musk has received harsh criticism over fears of a potential rise in misinformation, disinformation, harassment, and hate speech on the platform, from those of a liberal or social democratic persuasion.

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