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Curran writes: "The harvesting of our personal details goes far beyond what many of us could imagine. So I braced myself and had a look."

The recent revelation that the voter profiling company Cambridge Analytica harvested data from 50 million Facebook users has raised an uproar over the digital business model of consumers giving up their data for free services. (photo: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)
The recent revelation that the voter profiling company Cambridge Analytica harvested data from 50 million Facebook users has raised an uproar over the digital business model of consumers giving up their data for free services. (photo: Josh Edelson/AFP/Getty Images)

Are You Ready? This Is All the Data Facebook and Google Have on You

By Dylan Curran, Guardian UK

28 March 18

The harvesting of our personal details goes far beyond what many of us could imagine. So I braced myself and had a look

ant to freak yourself out? I’m going to show just how much of your information the likes of Facebook and Google store about you without you even realising it.

Google knows where you’ve been

Google stores your location (if you have location tracking turned on) every time you turn on your phone. You can see a timeline of where you’ve been from the very first day you started using Google on your phone.

Click on this link to see your own data:…

Here is every place I have been in the last 12 months in Ireland. You can see the time of day that I was in the location and how long it took me to get to that location from my previous one.


Google knows everything you’ve ever searched – and deleted

Google stores search history across all your devices. That can mean that, even if you delete your search history and phone history on one device, it may still have data saved from other devices.

Click on this link to see your own data:

Google has an advertisement profile of you

Google creates an advertisement profile based on your information, including your location, gender, age, hobbies, career, interests, relationship status, possible weight (need to lose 10lb in one day?) and income.

Click on this link to see your own data:

Google knows all the apps you use

Google stores information on every app and extension you use. They know how often you use them, where you use them, and who you use them to interact with. That means they know who you talk to on Facebook, what countries are you speaking with, what time you go to sleep.

Click on this link to see your own data:…

Google has all of your YouTube history

Google stores all of your YouTube history, so they probably know whether you’re going to be a parent soon, if you’re a conservative, if you’re a progressive, if you’re Jewish, Christian, or Muslim, if you’re feeling depressed or suicidal, if you’re anorexic …

Click on this link to see your own data:…

The data Google has on you can fill millions of Word documents

Google offers an option to download all of the data it stores about you. I’ve requested to download it and the file is 5.5GB big, which is roughly 3m Word documents.

This link includes your bookmarks, emails, contacts, your Google Drive files, all of the above information, your YouTube videos, the photos you’ve taken on your phone, the businesses you’ve bought from, the products you’ve bought through Google …

They also have data from your calendar, your Google hangout sessions, your location history, the music you listen to, the Google books you’ve purchased, the Google groups you’re in, the websites you’ve created, the phones you’ve owned, the pages you’ve shared, how many steps you walk in a day …

Click on this link to see your own data:

Facebook has reams and reams of data on you, too

Facebook offers a similar option to download all your information. Mine was roughly 600MB, which is roughly 400,000 Word documents.

This includes every message you’ve ever sent or been sent, every file you’ve ever sent or been sent, all the contacts in your phone, and all the audio messages you’ve ever sent or been sent.

Click here to see your data:

Facebook stores everything from your stickers to your login location

Facebook also stores what it thinks you might be interested in based off the things you’ve liked and what you and your friends talk about (I apparently like the topic “girl”).

Somewhat pointlessly, they also store all the stickers you’ve ever sent on Facebook (I have no idea why they do this. It’s just a joke at this stage).

They also store every time you log in to Facebook, where you logged in from, what time, and from what device.

And they store all the applications you’ve ever had connected to your Facebook account, so they can guess I’m interested in politics and web and graphic design, that I was single between X and Y period with the installation of Tinder, and I got a HTC phone in November.

(Side note, if you have Windows 10 installed, this is a picture of just the privacy options with 16 different sub-menus, which have all of the options enabled by default when you install Windows 10)


They can access your webcam and microphone

The data they collect includes tracking where you are, what applications you have installed, when you use them, what you use them for, access to your webcam and microphone at any time, your contacts, your emails, your calendar, your call history, the messages you send and receive, the files you download, the games you play, your photos and videos, your music, your search history, your browsing history, even what radio stations you listen to.

Here are some of the different ways Google gets your data

I got the Google Takeout document with all my information, and this is a breakdown of all the different ways they get your information.


Here’s the search history document, which has 90,000 different entries, even showing the images I downloaded and the websites I accessed (I showed the Pirate Bay section to show how much damage this information can do).


Google knows which events you attended, and when

Here’s my Google Calendar broken down, showing all the events I’ve ever added, whether I actually attended them, and what time I attended them at (this part is when I went for an interview for a marketing job, and what time I arrived).


And Google has information you deleted

This is my Google Drive, which includes files I explicitly deleted including my résumé, my monthly budget, and all the code, files and websites I’ve ever made, and even my PGP private key, which I deleted, that I use to encrypt emails.


Google can know your workout routine

This is my Google Fit, which shows all of the steps I’ve ever taken, any time I walked anywhere, and all the times I’ve recorded any meditation/yoga/workouts I’ve done (I deleted this information and revoked Google Fit’s permissions).


And they have years’ worth of photos

This is all the photos ever taken with my phone, broken down by year, and includes metadata of when and where I took the photos


Google has every email you ever sent

Every email I’ve ever sent, that’s been sent to me, including the ones I deleted or were categorised as spam.


And there is more

I’ll just do a short summary of what’s in the thousands of files I received under my Google Activity.

First, every Google Ad I’ve ever viewed or clicked on, every app I’ve ever launched or used and when I did it, every website I’ve ever visited and what time I did it at, and every app I’ve ever installed or searched for.


They also have every image I’ve ever searched for and saved, every location I’ve ever searched for or clicked on, every news article I’ve ever searched for or read, and every single Google search I’ve made since 2009. And then finally, every YouTube video I’ve ever searched for or viewed, since 2008.

This information has millions of nefarious uses. You say you’re not a terrorist. Then how come you were googling Isis? Work at Google and you’re suspicious of your wife? Perfect, just look up her location and search history for the last 10 years. Manage to gain access to someone’s Google account? Perfect, you have a chronological diary of everything that person has done for the last 10 years.

This is one of the craziest things about the modern age. We would never let the government or a corporation put cameras/microphones in our homes or location trackers on us. But we just went ahead and did it ourselves because – to hell with it! – I want to watch cute dog videos. your social media marketing partner


A note of caution regarding our comment sections:

For months a stream of media reports have warned of coordinated propaganda efforts targeting political websites based in the U.S., particularly in the run-up to the 2016 presidential election.

We too were alarmed at the patterns we were, and still are, seeing. It is clear that the provocateurs are far more savvy, disciplined, and purposeful than anything we have ever experienced before.

It is also clear that we still have elements of the same activity in our article discussion forums at this time.

We have hosted and encouraged reader expression since the turn of the century. The comments of our readers are the most vibrant, best-used interactive feature at Reader Supported News. Accordingly, we are strongly resistant to interrupting those services.

It is, however, important to note that in all likelihood hardened operatives are attempting to shape the dialog our community seeks to engage in.

Adapt and overcome.

Marc Ash
Founder, Reader Supported News

+28 # farbie 2018-03-28 13:22
Good God! BIG BROTHER IS HERE, and he is Google and Facebook (and the NSA?)
+1 # mim 2018-03-31 05:47
Who needs telescreens?
+26 # moreover 2018-03-28 14:03
Stunning and depressing.
And yet, most Americans submit to Corporate Big Brother without a whimper, but are outraged at the thought of a national ID card (as used most everywhere else) which would confer instant voting rights.
-3 # Robbee 2018-03-28 15:49
Quoting moreover 2018-03-28 14:03:
And yet, most Americans are outraged at the thought of a national ID card (as used most everywhere else) which would confer instant voting rights.

- speak for repuke Americans? who demand to suppress votes?

"selective service" and social security admin ID me and everyone else born here!

in case of draft "selective service" tracks where each of us born here lives, it was always so!

a national ID card bothers who but repukes?
+8 # chapdrum 2018-03-28 14:59
But it's okay, because convenience means more than privacy, especially when you have nothing (you hope) to hide.
+7 # tedrey 2018-03-28 15:24
Nothing but your cash, your reputation, your security (and that of everyone else that communicates with you)...
0 # mim 2018-03-31 06:34
Open your wallet or purse, look at your cash and smile. It's the key to whatever privacy you have left.
+19 # wrknight 2018-03-28 15:46
No, it's not OK, even if I don't have anything to hide. The first step to controlling you is gathering information about you.
+4 # Texas Aggie 2018-03-29 10:29
Having nothing to hide is in the eye of the beholder. If the person who has your data doesn't want you doing something that should be no problem - have a D&C, open a second bank account, send money to the ACLU, support Real Madrid - then it isn't something that you want available.
+4 # LionMousePudding 2018-03-28 15:13
When did we give Google permission to look through our webcams? I know Zuckerman keeps his taped and so should we, but why can't we turn it off? Is it recording when the machine is asleep? Off? What I find worst is the visual theft of our personal moments when the computer is facing that way. When did we give permission for this?

I will get an iphone asap. I use Yahoo, not Gmail, so hopefully Google does not keep my email.

Did we really give permission for all of this, to Facebook?
+3 # Robbee 2018-03-28 15:34
Are You Ready? This Is All the Data Facebook and Google Have on You, 28 March 18

- i "don't have a face!" - to others i always advise against participating on facebook - not here, where, until now, that i noticed the subject never came up?

when bernie or elizabeth or anybody else i care about invites me to screen their events on facebook, meaning, i suppose, i have to sign up? i never participate, sorry!

for me, it's not exactly privacy - as, from time-to-time, i say here anyone who wants my voice or keystrokes bad enough to afford hackers, can hack my every word and keystroke - however, albeit i am the most dangerous comment here on rsn, if only because i advocate the only way assured to overthrow our bmillionaire masters, THE constitutional amendment that publicly funds, only, all federal, state and local elections, i figure i'm simply not dangerous enough to be worth it for any to hack me - nobody who can carry it out, bernie or reich? fully advocates my mission? - they both dance around public funding?

does it ever occur to others here to wonder WHY 70 to 90% of an american public can agree to change something, yet congress never gets it done? - BECAUSE WE DON'T HAVE PUBLIC FUNDING! - politicians answer to donors, not to voters!

public finding automatically REFORMS the dem party and the repuke party - TOTALLY REMAKES each!

what if congress suddenly paid no attention to bmillionaires? no more than to anyone else with a good idea? - I M A G I N E !
+7 # tedrey 2018-03-28 23:32
You do realize that you have merely added one more idea that 70-90% of the American pulbic can agree to . . . without the slighest suggestion as to how we can get THAT done without first getting it done. (;-})
+5 # RLF 2018-03-29 08:04
Congress and the senate ARE almost all millionaires! They answer to e oligarchy!
+5 # Kootenay Coyote 2018-03-28 15:49
Peeping Tom Google...& of course, all the others....
+2 # ddd-rrr 2018-03-28 16:11


I've threatened my computer with a one-way trip to the deepest part of
a nearby lake (450') -- and, perhaps now, it is time to carry out that threat!

I don't own a cell 'phone -- and my guess now is that I never will...!
+4 # pstamler 2018-03-28 18:51
All this assumes (1) that you have a smartphone, and (2) that you use Google and Facebook for things like keeping track of appointments. If neither of those is true, the main thing you have to worry about is that your search history is retained and sold. That's bad enough, but if you choose not to have your whole life on Google or your smartphone you're fairly okay.
+1 # Rodion Raskolnikov 2018-03-29 07:50
It is important to remember the relations Google has with the CIA. It is used by the CIA all over the world for spying. "All over" includes the US. Google was thrown out of China because of its CIA spying. Google ruthlessly censors the material it publishes in different countries.

Read this --

How the CIA made Google
Inside the secret network behind mass surveillance, endless war, and Skynet—

Nafeez Ahmed

The CIA is the headquarters of the Deep State. The CIA was created by Wall Street lawyers and bankers for the corporations they serve. It is still run by these people. Philip Agee, the best CIA whistleblower, often joked that CIA stands for "Capitalism's Invisible Army." Google is the front line in the CIA's information warfare.

Google should be either shut down or converted into a non-profit public utility run by a public board of regulators.
0 # draypoker 2018-03-31 07:16
The CIA is the equivalent of the former KGB and its current successor. Most people in Britain believe that the Russian spy machine tried to kill two Russians in Wiltshire three weeks ago.
+3 # mashiguo 2018-03-29 13:37
I presume this article is news to precisely no one.

However - not a word about the global surveillance measures passed in the latest funding bill?

Now the whole world gets to own you - and they can share it with US, bypassing any vestige of4th amendment protections.
-4 # ishmael 2018-03-30 01:08
What rock does somebody have to have been living under for years not to have already known all this already?

Is this actually surprising to some people?
+3 # elkingo 2018-03-30 12:59
"Liberty begins with being left alone." Justice Louis D. Brandeis. "If I had my way in this wicked world, I would tear this ol' buildin' down." (Old Southern Black Blues or Gospel)
+2 # mim 2018-03-31 05:45
Google knows all the buttons and links you tapped by mistake. What Google may not know or care about is that you tapped them by mistake.
+1 # mim 2018-03-31 06:59
"You say you’re not a terrorist. Then how come you were googling Isis?"

And what if you were Googling the Egyptian goddess, or your old acquaintance Isis?

Or what if you want to know what people are saying about Daesh, or how Daesh figures in world politics?

As someone said during the post-WWII Red scare, you're better off if you don't know what Russia is and you have no desire to know.

All this data collection is a blow to a good healthy curiosity. I don't mean snooping on other people's lives, as the data buyers and hackers do, but the kind of curiosity on which a free society depends.

After three decades, I suppose anyone can prove anything about me based on what I've searched or followed links to for curiosity's sake.
0 # draypoker 2018-03-31 07:11
I am glad I have never opened any Facebook file or even looked at the website. I have never understood the alleged purpose of Facebook. I don't need it. No doubt others are keeping tabs on me.
+2 # NAVYVET 2018-03-31 19:35
Use a landline or a simple cell phone without frills. They can tap these but it takes more work than it would be worth for most people.

Instead of googling when you search the web, use DuckDuckGo. At least it claims that it doesn't keep user trails. I hope so.

Privacy Badger will help you know who's trying to track you, while blocking the aggressive ones. They don't cost money either.

Rather than Gmail (Google), use almost ANY other email provider. Gmail locked me out about 10 years ago--maybe for my political messages.

The best home page is The Guardian--real news and lots of it from a non-USian, therefore more trustworthy, progressive source.

Keep US news sources like RSN alive by sending them money!

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