Internet Privacy: How Much Data Does the Net Hold on You?
In light of Edward Snowden’s NSA leaks, privacy on the internet has become one of the biggest concerns of social network users today. If the government can request your personal information from social sites like Facebook and Google, how can you trust that the networks themselves aren’t storing your information for no good? And just how much do these services know about you?
It’s common knowledge that Facebook and Google track and store your personal information in order to provide demographic data to marketers. This is how they offer their services for free, after all. Yet 58% of people are unaware of how data is gathered and shared online by advertisers. Even if you’re wise to the ways your information is being used online, it may be difficult to fathom just how much information about you is stored on the Web. For example, Facebook collects over 500 terabytes of data from its users each day according to WhoIsHostingThis; that’s enough data to fill over 32,000 iPhone 5’s. What’s more, this data is available not only to marketers in an anonymous format but also in an identifiable way to any Facebook user who searches. With so many ways to access your information, just what are marketers and other Facebook users doing with the information they find about you?
Facebook isn’t the only service, however, that knows too much about you. Mobile apps follow your every move; 50% of iOS apps track your location and free apps are more than four times more likely than paid apps to have access to your contact lists. Even more frightening is that 87% of US adults can be tracked via their mobile device – that’s almost everyone you know!
It’s time to face the facts and uncover how much of your information is stored online. Though it may be too late to erase what’s already stored on the Web, you can change your surfing habits to create a more private environment for your future.