Monday, October 8, 2012

I guess I knew...but really I didn't

In the course of getting this blog up and running I really discovered just how much information apps have about us individually. Take for example Facebook. Did you know you can request an archive of all of your information. Just check out . It's almost scary haha.
And Google is the same, if not worse. As in knowing and having much more information about you.  I just signed up a few weeks ago to have Google email me a monthly "Activity Report".  Wow talk about some detailed breakdowns of exactly what and with who I did what through Google and all of its portals.  Basically Google wants to offer you these options:
  • Designed to offer you transparency and control
  • Summarizes the data associated with each product you use when signed in to your account
  • Provides links to control your personal settings

I really looked over mine, I was amazed and shocked.  I have nothing to worry about, but the records are there. I suppose it could offer and advantage as well as a disadvantage, if needed.  For example to the question: Was I really in Denver for 4 days a few weeks ago (the dates slip me right now).  Of course, here is data showing I logged in and where.... Using GPS.  

I guess when I answered the question "Google would like to use GPS data when determining your location, is that OK "  Answering yes means yes.  And think about it, My mobile phone runs Android, another Google product. So there is a ton of information regarding my phone.  The funny thing is there really isn't much information on my blog, as I only asked it to track my page views  just page views  Not where they came from, not who they are.  I didn't want to know this information as I felt having it in the back of my head might influence my topics.  Now If I promoted a product or used my Blog to provided some time of information backed with credentials (like a me being a doctor and talking about ointments for your rash  - well then I might want more information to make sure I am targeting the right demographic.
It's not just Facebook and its not just Google.  On a simpler side take my Last FM account . Here is metadata with every single song I have listened to (while last.fm scrobbler was active) since February 3, 2011. All 30681 plays, 800 and something likes, every tag used on every song (like EPIC,OMFG,EARGASM,MY FAV, etc)  
Maybe the 35 page TOS/EULA that Apple wants you to click agree on before the new version of iTunes loads really warrants a good read-thru? I can see why privacy is such a big concern.  Its not what is in the data, its the fact that its out there and it happens every day with many different apps and tools.  I think Southpark made an episode about this once...and it did have to do with the EULA.  That's end user license agreement in case you are not sure... What you have to allow the developer to do in order to use the product. Tons and tons and tons of data collected day in and day out.
It's almost like those online role-playing games, you play months and months developing your character, its not like you want all that data lost.  Or do you? Although I was surprised today by the depth of what I saw in regards to data about myself, I almost believe it has a worth.