Hyderabad: The biggest internet companies (such as Google and Facebook) collect vast amounts of personal data when people use their services. Internet companies cash in on this through targeted advertisements.
Experts blame it on the ignorance of online users who are not cautious about protecting their data. They suggest that in most cases, with a little effort, one can secure one’s personal data by simply changing one’s default privacy and security controls.
Online adtech companies such as Google and Facebook harvest humongous volumes of data in the background every day. The Cambridge Analytica scandal how it harvest personal data for use in political targeting.
Based on the personal data that they are in possession of, firms will create highly personalised ad profiles to offer advertisers a highly targeted premium ad inventory which brings them billions of dollars worth of revenue. In addition, political parties, data analytics agencies, and state-sponsored agencies exploit social media users and data.
Recently, Facebook through a blog post stated, “As part of our ongoing review, we recently found that some apps retained access to group member information, like names and profile pictures in connection with group activity, from the Groups API, for longer than we intended. We have since removed their access.”
Mr Sai Krishna, chairman, Global Cyber Security Forum, said, “They store all our personal information like location tracking, every search item, phone details, YouTube history, calendars, websites visited, downloads, photos, contacts, relationships, posts, browser passwords, and go to the extent of listening to our microphone and watching our webcam.”
The key is to be extremely careful with what is shared on social networking service.
Mr Krishna said, “Most of us are ignorant about safety measures and secondly, these companies set data sharing rules by default as in ‘allowed’ during user registration and in the terms of acceptance. In addition, they keep them deep inside so that the user finds it difficult to navigate. In most cases, with a little effort, one can secure one’s personal data by changing the default privacy and security controls to ‘no storing and sharing’.”