In today’s world the use of technology is becoming more widespread by the minute: there are 6.64 billion people worldwide in possession of smartphones, approximately 1 million new internet users per day, and over 10.98 Billion mobile connections worldwide. Though technology undoubtedly increases the quality of life of an average citizen (of a country where regular access to the Internet is the norm) by making online resources accessible and connecting family and friends, it also poses a threat to online security and privacy. What makes this particular issue especially threatening is the number of people who are unaware of its existence. Only a fraction of people using an internet device are aware of the extent of the information the device can collect. Some of the methods of data collection are just plain outrageous and even have the potential to be harmful to the user, but Google and many other web browsers continue to collect this data solely because they would financially benefit from it.
Google separates the data it collects into two categories: content the user creates and provides to it and how the user interacts with the browser. The former implies that Google can (and does) read the content of any emails received, including photos and videos saved, and documents created. Not only does Google collect this information but also sends them to third parties, meaning that the content of the users’ emails and the time sent is not only available to developers but also separate firms altogether.
Google claims that this is done to improve ad-targeting as by reading the content of the emails, it can assume the type of products the user may be interested in. Google can uncover sensitive details of their user’s life including passwords which were written in emails, confidential messages, and more just to send the users a personalized advertisement. The only party benefiting from this is Google and occasionally advertising firms.
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