The technology that powers your phone and email is tracking your every move, everything from your purchase history to the videos you watch on your phone.
Anything you delete can still be traced.
“I can’t believe this,” said Memphis resident Ellen Balentine. She said her phone is her lifeline.
As a business owner, she uses it to order products for her stores, track trends, and keep an eye on operations.
The Local I-Team knows all of this, not because she told us, but because we learned it from Google.
“Do they have permission to do that?” questioned Balentine.
The reason? When you sign up to use Google’s free products like Gmail, Google maps, and YouTube, you – in a way – trade off your privacy.
Ellen logged into her account, and we showed her where to find her personal profile full of data that Google collected from her.
Ellen’s Google profile tracked her family’s many trips to places she visited, how she got there, her business expansion plans, when she paid her bills, even her intimate Google searches.
Chances are, if you use a Google product on your computer, iPhone or Android device, you have a profile, just like Balentine.
The Local I-Team also met Denes Bardos, a Germantown retiree. In five minutes, we were able to find out the places he visited, including local businesses to run errands, trips he had taken to Budapest, even track his flight plans and shopping habits.
“I don’t believe this,” said Bardos.
This information is not something that anyone can just look up unless they have your email address and password.
So why does Google keep such detailed data about us?
It’s how they make their money selling ads.
“Google can say, this is someone who’s interested in this program or been to these sites or been to this restaurant, so they can get more targeted advertising,” said Dr. James McGuffee, Dean of Computer Science at Christian Brothers University.
With so much of your private data available, which Google maintains is protected, the big question is should you be worried?
“It is invasive,” said McGuffee. “I’m not concerned as much that it’s for advertising. What I am concerned with is that the data might be used for something else?”
“We need to hold these companies to their policy, and hold these companies accountable to how they are using their data,” said McGuffee.
With no real federal oversight, the only thing you can do is limit what Google and all apps, for that matter, record about you.
“Google knows all your business. big brother is watching,” said Balentine.
Tuesday night, the Local I-Team will show you how to delete your Google profile, and give you step-by-step instructions on how to stop Google from storing your every move.