Facebook has hit the headlines in recent weeks over its handling of your private data, and now the shocking extent of information held by Google has been revealed.

In a series of tweets, one IT expert has laid out exactly what the search giant knows about him, dating back to 2008, which he describes as ‘preposterous’.

It ranges from every place he visited in the past year to every website he clicked on, and even contained files deleted from his Google Drive cloud storage account.

The news comes in the wake of the Cambridge Analytica scandal, which saw a Trump-affiliated firm obtaining data on 50 million unsuspecting Facebook users.

This information was used to target voters in the US, based on psychological profiling, with political adverts spreading disinformation.

Web developer Dylan Curran, based in Waterford, Ireland, decided to download both his Facebook and Google archives on Saturday.

The data held by the world’s most popular social media site was fairly large, at around 600mb, equivalent to roughly 400,000 Word documents.

But this paled in comparison to Google’s data file, which was 5.5gb, almost ten times larger. This is around the same size as three million Word documents.

Sharing his findings on Twitter, in a post retweed more than 150,000 times, he said: ‘Want to freak yourself out? I’m gonna show just how much of your information the likes of Facebook and Google store about you without you even realising it.’

Mr Curran found that Google was constantly tracking his location in the background, including how long it took to travel between various points.

It also held details about his hobbies and interests, as well as guesses on his possible weight and income. 

Speaking to NBC News, he said: ‘It’s wrong to trust any entity that big with so much information.

‘They’re just trying to make money,’ and at some point, ‘someone is going to make a mistake.’  

If you have location tracking turned on via your smartphone, tablet or other connected device and they’re switched on, Google stores details of everywhere you’ve been.

For Mr Curran, this included his travels around Ireland over the previous 12 months, including journey times between towns and cities.

Post a Comment