Privacy is something no one should assume while surfing the Internet. EVERY SINGLE move you make on the Internet is recorded on numerous server logs around the world. The only expectation of anonymity comes from the fact that the sheer volume of data is so overwhelming that honing in on your data is unlikely.
Unless . . .
Unless you are on someone’s radar. Then following you is as easy as putting a “Follow me” sign on your back and having someone follow you.
Yet even knowing this I have been astonished lately. On February 1st my tablet – which doesn’t have a cellular service plan on it – notified me through Google that I had only walked four miles in January but eight in December. No, I don’t have a pedometer app installed. No I didn’t ask for Google to tell me this information. No I have no idea why they decided to tell me this. They did tell me that they collected this information through location information that Google uploads from time. But of course with no cell information I’m still baffled. I’m guessing that it tracks me until I drop off of wifi on my way to and from the car.
Over a month ago the facebook app on my tablet told me I needed to agree to new permissions for it to update itself. I looked at a few of the permissions and balked. Yesterday I tried to open FB and it informed me it wouldn’t work until I updated it.
Here are the permissions that I had to agree to for Facebook to update:
- Allow Facebook to read my text messages
- Add and modify calendar items – WITHOUT MY KNOWING about the changes
- Connect and disconnect from wifi
- Modify and delete items from USB media
- Record audio
- Get my location
- Take pictures and videos
- Add and remove accounts on my device, create accounts and set passwords
- Modify social media contacts, read my call log, read my contacts
- Download files without notification
Some of those are rather disturbing. Why on earth would Facebook want to change my calendar without me knowing? Why should Facebook delete files from USB media? I can see it now. I have my presentation all ready to deliver and Facebook decides it isn’t good enough and deletes it?
Why would Facebook need to control my camera? Are they going to surreptitiously take pictures and videos of me? I can’t wait to see the picture of me picking my nose posted for me.
I might even be willing to grant Facebook this access – they are a private company after all and they’ve promised to keep my information secure. But thanks to Edward Snowden we know that the government has access to pretty much all the data that large firms like Google and Facebook have access to. Which disturbs me. Does it disturb you?