By JUSTIN SOBELMAN
What does privacy mean in a social media-infused world?
Not much, as it turns out. Most people are aware that big tech companies, like Google and Facebook, harbor a good chunk of data on its users, but the extent to which they do so might surprise and frighten some.
Dylan Curran, a web developer from Ireland, decided to reach out to these companies and ask them for all the information they had on him. What he saw prompted him to launch a firestorm of tweets this past Sunday, and it gets creepier the further you venture into it.
Want to freak yourself out? I'm gonna show just how much of your information the likes of Facebook and Google store about you without you even realising it
— Dylan Curran (@iamdylancurran) March 24, 2018
As one might imagine, this discovery proved to be quite the bombshell. Curran appeared on CBS News today to discuss.
Curran found that Facebook alone stores all information that comes from users of their service. Naturally, that makes sense, it’s their platform and they would want to collect data from their users.
The truly scary part comes when Curran says that Facebook stores your contacts, call records and text messages from your phone, not from the Facebook app. This means that even though they don’t have permission, this huge corporation has all your private information.
Google’s freakiest privacy breach is likely their location tracking. While it’s amazing to be able to drive somewhere you’ve never been before without using a map, you may not realize that when you use a service like Google Maps, your location stays on unless you manually turn it off.
According to Curran, every time you turn on your phone, Google receives your current location and the time you were there.
That’s just scratching the surface. Curran’s exposure of how these tech companies keep tabs on us is going viral. Facebook has already responded, saying that they will “update” their privacy settings “in the coming weeks”.
While that sounds nice, many critics have highlighted how Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg has made these types of promises before, only to back away from the situation after the controversy of the time dialed down.
Facebook says "It's Time to Make Our Privacy Tools Easier to Find." It's time?!? Here's Zuckerberg in 2010: "We have heard the feedback. There needs to be a simpler way to control your information. In the coming weeks, we will add privacy controls that are much simpler to use."? pic.twitter.com/hfbGWRXtWb
— zeynep tufekci (@zeynep) March 28, 2018
Here’s to hoping that this newest storm will actually create something better.