Google sucks up consumer data in ways users might find surprising—such as when browsers are in “incognito” mode—according to an analysis of the company’s data collection by a researcher from Vanderbilt University.
The study, released Tuesday and commissioned by the trade org Digital Content Next, looks at how data is gathered from all Google products, including Android mobile devices, Chrome web browsers, YouTube and Photos. In addition to incognito data collection, the study looked at other “passive” means of collection, where “an application is instrumented to gather information while it’s running, possibly without the user’s knowledge,” the report says.
Many users assume that when they’re in the incognito setting, their online footprints are hidden. But Google could retroactively link the private browsing to specific consumers, the report points out.
As the reports puts it: “While such data is collected with user-anonymous identifiers, Google has the ability to connect this collected information with a user’s personal credentials stored in their Google Account.”
“While such information is typically collected without identifying a unique user,” the report says, “Google distinctively possesses the ability to utilize data collected from other sources to de-anonymize such a collection.”
Our Take by BrownieBytes
You knew they were doing it didn’t you? Of course. Instinctively we know they all do…. Google, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter… They all do it. Interesting article. Worth the read.