I can’t say I was too surprised to see the extent of information Google and Facebook have about me. After a semester of learning about all of the information advertisers can get on individuals, as well as being cautioned for years that nothing you put on the internet will ever really go away, I was completely aware that all of this information about me was being stored somewhere in cyber space. However, seeing all of this information with my own eyes conglomerated in one space did serve as a reminder of the lack of privacy we have on the web.
The information Google had on me was not overly impressive. There were twenty categories under my interests, none of which were that specific. Categories such as News, Politics, Movies, Shopping and Music & Audio do not narrow me down much as a consumer. There were a few categories, such as Soccer, Running & Walking, and Resumes & Portfolios that were less broad, but also did not provide any outstanding insights. Google’s records of my interests based on my previous searchers and the webpages I have visited does not really concern me in terms of privacy and security. This information seems broad and impersonal enough that I do not feel like my privacy has been violated.
In contrast, the information Facebook has stored presents more privacy concerns. Facebook keeps track of years of messages. Any conservation I’ve ever had online is located in one place. I wasted a good half hour reading through ridiculous conversations I had junior year of high school. Although I can’t imagine anyone has anything to gain from reading through my Facebook messages, it does seem like a serious invasion of privacy that all of these messages are at the disposal of tech wizards, and therefore, potentially anyone else who desires to see them. I was talking to a friend about this, and she told me her mom’s friend who is a computer scientist told her he knew how to access anyone’s history on social media accounts, including personal messages.
The accessibility of all of my personal online data definitely serves as a reminder to be careful what I put on the Internet, even in a private message. It also opened my eyes to the tremendous power Facebook, Google, and the tech elite have over the lives of citizens. On another note, I thought how these technological advances, and in sense privacy invasions, are going to change the face of politics. There is going to come a day, and we’re fast approaching it, when every person running for office has years and years of personal data stored by websites like Facebook and Google.