Is There A Way To Lessen User Tracking?
With every website these days have some form of tracking cookie, script or 3rd-party tracking service, seems like all of us Internet users have thrown personal privacy out of the window. With the growth of social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube, they started offering their login credentials as login credential for thousands of other website and web services as well. Before this, each web service or website requires its users to sign-up for an account individually. This means either Facebook, Twitter, and Youtube (owned by Google) is given more influence and power over users’ data for the sake of convenience.
Add to that social media platforms is entering the realm of Artificial Intelligence research, whether the user is a rocking an Android or iOS device, it comes with a voice assistant. That in itself is listening for “Hey Siri” or “Hi Google”, more privacy is surrendered by users to Tech giants. So the solution to remain private is totally stop using these services, right? Fortunately, that is not always the case. Google itself created a website that shows the actual data that the search giant and all its services under its umbrella.
The website that Google has provided all their users is google myactivity, a powerful tool in order to opt-out of Google tracking across its many services such as Gmail, Search, Youtube, and Android-related data if the Google account is synced with it. Facebook also offers users the capability to know all the data that the social media giant has collected from the user through the years since the account is created. Everyone can head to facebook.com/your_information for the details in order to know all the data that Facebook knows about you, there is also a feature to download the same data to your local computer for archiving purposes. This download option is very vital, especially if the user decides to quit the social media network, but wish to download an archive of their profile prior to the account deletion request.
Of course, for those who want to use the Google and Facebook services may opt to use a dummy account. However, since Facebook according to its terms of service demands that whoever signs-up to their service need to use their real-world names/identity, any suspicion from Facebook may make them ban your dummy account. Other users may also report you if they have reasonable suspicion that the account they are interacting with is just a dummy. Of course, all of these can be prevented by being under the radar. That means, stay-away from being critical of others, especially on topics that are highly heated, lessening the chances of getting reported.
Facebook has deployed a face-recognition technology that is sophisticated enough to determine if the account holder and the profile pictures they use are of the same person. This is through the AI technology that has deployed that compares the uploaded pictures of people within Facebook’s ecosystem. Any instances of impersonation sooner or later will get detected, this is for the social media giant to combat fake profiles.
Of course, we can choose to stay out of Facebook, Google, and whatever company’s ecosystems by choosing a similar 3rd party services. Social media is not new, Facebook just made it mainstream. Google is not even the first search engine around, it just made searching much friendlier and straight to the point. Youtube is not the only video sharing website on the Internet, many smaller competing services exist, but their community is also much smaller. The bottom line, the Internet is vast, we can find whatever web services we wish for, and there is a certain possibility that service already exists.
Kevin Jones951 Posts
Kevin Jones, Ph.D., is a research associate and a Cyber Security Author with experience in Penetration Testing, Vulnerability Assessments, Monitoring solutions, Surveillance and Offensive technologies etc. Currently, he is a freelance writer on latest security news and other happenings. He has authored numerous articles and exploits which can be found on popular sites like hackercombat.com and others.