Urgent warning from Google over search engine’s exact views of private and public data

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GOOGLE is watching you, but there are ways to limit their access to your information, according to tech experts.

From your online activity to your location history to your YouTube search and viewing history, the tech giant has proven there’s a lot to be learned from the “public” information people make available.

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Since 2019, Google has made several changes to the options provided to users to control how location data is collected.Credit: Getty

Since 2019, Google has made several changes to the options offered to users to control how location data is collected.

Google’s tracking services have even sparked lawsuits from numerous state attorneys general, amid allegations that the search engine misled users by making it “nearly impossible” for people to prevent tracking. their location.

The attorneys general of Indiana, Texas, Washington State and Washington, DC are all currently suing Google over its use of location data.

“Google falsely misled consumers into believing that changing their account and device settings would allow customers to protect their privacy and control what personal data the company could access,” noted Washington DC Attorney General Karl A. Racine.

“The truth is that contrary to Google’s portrayals, it continues to systematically monitor customers and profit from customer data.”

Fortunately, there are ways to access the data Google accumulates from its consumers, as well as strategies to remove some or all of the information.

Following a 2018 Associated Press investigation, Google has made it slightly easier to find and delete your data – users just need to know where to look.

Disabling and removing tracking is a multi-step process in your settings.

MANAGE YOUR PUBLIC INFORMATION

Google probably considers a lot of your “private information,” such as your name, date of birth, email address, or phone numbers, to be “public.”

To find out what the general public can see about you online, open a browser window and go to your Google account page.

Then type your Google username and sign in.

From the menu bar, choose “Personal Information” and review the available information. Thanks to this, you can modify or delete the data related to your account.

To see what information is publicly available, scroll down to “Personal Data” and select “Go to About Me”.

Each piece of personal information is labeled with one of three symbols – a person icon, meaning visible to everyone, an office building icon, meaning visible only to your organization, and a padlock icon, meaning visible only to you.

MANAGE YOUR ACTIVITY RECORD ONLINE

Tech experts recommend setting up automatic deletion of your data every three months, to maintain your privacy while maintaining personalized results on certain services.

First, log in to your google account and click on “Data and privacy” in the menu.

To see your saved activity on the search engine, scroll down to “History Settings” and select “Web & App Activity”.

Here you can disable it completely or choose to prevent Google from tracking your Chrome browser history and Google account activity by unchecking the first box.

In order to prevent Google Assistant audio recordings, uncheck the second box.

In order to automatically delete your collected data either never, every three months or every 18 months, select “Automatic deletion” and choose the period you want – Google will automatically delete all current data older than the period you choose a once you have confirmed your choice.

Next, select “Manage Activity,” which displays all of Google’s information about you, sorted by date.

Here you can delete specific days, view more specific details, delete individual items, or delete part or all of your history manually.

TURN OFF LOCATION TRACKING

If you want to completely disable location tracking, you will need to follow these steps.

open up Google.com on the browser of your smartphone or on your computer and log in

Select “Manage your Google Account” and go to the Privacy and Personalization box

Select “Manage your data and privacy,scroll down to Activity Controls and click “Manage Your Activity Controls”.

In the Web & App Activity area, turn off Commands.

DELETE OLD TRACKING DATA

In addition to disabling tracking, you will need to delete your past location data.

Click on “Manage your Google Account” and select “Manage your data and privacy”.

Scroll down to Activity Controls and click “Manage Your Activity Controls”.

Select “Manage History”, which will open a map and the corresponding timeline which you can delete by clicking the “Trash” button and confirm by pressing “Delete”.

The Sun has contacted Google for comment.

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