I finally set my data with Google to self-destruct after every 3 months – the lowest amount possible. So my web and app activity will be automatically purged. I have cleaned by YouTube history post my recent digital detox and have set the future data to be auto-purged every 3 months. I do not allow Google to collect my location history and I would not till they allow me to do that.
Does that ensure that I am protected from the data hoarding habits of Google? I am not sure about that. But I want to make it as much difficult as am allowed.
My recent switch to Android has already made this very difficult. Google signs itself up for too many permissions and starts collecting data from me, irrespective of whether I want it to or not. The least I can do is to remove that data as soon as possible. I am sure Google must already extract as much information about me as possible. After all, it is not about the raw data, but about the aggregations.
So then do I have a problem with Google owning data about me or Google knowing me? In an ideal world I would avoid both. However, I do not think I can do the later (given my current usage pattern). I want to at least use the privacy controls that Google has made available to the fullest.
I believe anyone who has a Google account should do this. It does not matter how often you use any of the myriad of Google services. Keep checking your Google activity every so often and tweak those controls.
My sister recently bought a new iPhone – her first, switching over from Android – and was happily setting it up with all the apps she had been using. And many more new ones. I did observe one bothersome behavior while she was using her device. She was happily tapping around whenever iOS threw a permission prompt at her, without paying any attention to what the prompt said. “Sure, have all the access you need.”
And I do not think she is in minority here. I observe this behavior very often and every single time, I am left completely befuddled. Why would you not read what permission the app is asking for and why would you not question why it needs that?
For me, no app gets any permission the first time it asks for it. Everything is disabled by default. Especially the access to my location, microphone or camera. None. You need to convince me to the core at the right moment that you deserve this privilege. I prefer veering towards extreme stringency of access to my device.
As more and more connected, data-hungry devices surround us, it is becoming important to instill awareness amongst the populace of the fallouts minor negligence while using these devices can lead to. Not provoke moral panic, but train to be cognizant towards one’s privacy and security. If we ourselves don’t put price on our data, we have no right to expect the organizations to lend respect to something that is a primary and sole fuel to their profits.