How Corporations Steal Your Data Through Your Phone

Have you looked up plane tickets to Florida,
and bam, you get bombarded with pop-up ads for sunscreen, swimsuits, and affordable ocean
side hotels? Or better yet, you talked about that new lotion
with your friends and immediately got an exclusive discount for it online? Creepy, right? Let’s try to find out how that happens and
if there’s a way to stop it. Your digital assistant isn’t the only one
listening to you Imagine this: you get into the comfort of
your own home and tell your smart device to order you some Chinese food, then ask it to
check if there are any tickets left for that Beyonce show you’ve been dying to see. And while this information isn’t really
secret or personal, you still wouldn’t want some random people overhearing conversations
and requests like that, right? Well, there’s a good chance they actually
are! It turns out certain companies hire people
to overhear the conversations you’re holding with your digital helper. Why? Well, you might believe your favors are fulfilled
by some digital magic, but they actually still need manual processing. And because millions of smart speakers are
purchased every year, there are thousands of people across the globe, in countries like
the US, Costa Rica, and Romania, to name a few, that go through these conversations. They work nine-hour shifts, processing around
1,000 audio clips a day. They transcribe, annotate, and then feed the
recordings back into the software to improve how the digital mind comprehends human speech,
according to the companies themselves. They claim to respect the security and privacy
of customers, and that it’s only done in random cases to improve the quality of their
product. Plus, employees don’t know the name or location
of the person they’re listening to, only the device’s serial number. If you still don’t like the idea of being
listened to, and later targeted for ads on the products and services you’ve inquired
about, there is a way out. You can opt out of the software improvement
program in the privacy settings on your device. However, even then your voice recordings might
be analyzed by hand as they get reviewed, so be careful about what you ask your smart
speaker! Some mobile apps know exactly when and where
you’re going Do you have an app that keeps track of your
jogging routes or tells you where the nearest gas station is? And if so, did you carefully read all the
terms and conditions it asked you to agree with as you installed it? Not really? Well then, you actually stand with millions
of others who granted the app the right to trace their location and, what’s more, pass
this information over to other companies to analyze industry trends. In fact, many users do understand there’s
gotta be a catch that comes with free apps, and the rewards they receive must somehow
be compensated for. In 2018, The New York Times found at least
75 companies that get information on the location of those who look at the weather or latest
news from their favorite apps. Their databases have information on up to
200 million gadgets in the US alone. They sell this information to advertisers
that later create location-targeted ads. The same research found that over 1,000 popular
apps offer to enable location services, and users often agree to do so without paying
any attention to it. The companies that buy this information claim
they only use it to analyze the general trends of customer behavior, but that still doesn’t
sound really comforting when you know someone is tracing your every step so they can later
sell you their goods or services. The same happens when you load your favorite
coffee shop or store loyalty app on your smartphone. You might get free drinks or other discounts
for that, but just remember it’s also a way of pulling data from your phone that you
voluntarily give away. So, if you don’t want anyone to track your
daily route and learn what store you shop at and what dentist you visit, be careful
about which apps you install and disable location services! There’s some information you voluntarily
give away without realizing it You use the Internet for lots of different
purposes and quite often you give it your data without realizing someone else might
be looking into it. It can happen at dating sites, which sell
the gender, age and zip codes of their users to other companies. When you get digital coupons, you save some
shopping money, but you also create a detailed profile that goes to someone’s databank. Music providers often let you create playlists
and listen to all of your favorite hits online, but at the same time, they also gather your
personal data and sell it to advertising agencies. Whenever you take part in a fun survey or
online test (we all love to find out who we were in our previous life, right?) and choose
one of your social networking accounts to sign in, you also grant access to your list
of friends and give away their personal information, as well. In fact, social networking websites are a
big catch all in all. They offer so many targeted ads, some people
suspect they actually spy on their users through their microphones and show you the new product
before you even type it in the search bar. And as you stay logged in and surf the web,
the URLs you visit get timestamped and can be paired with your personal information from
your profile. Cookies still help companies to analyze your
Internet habits The most popular way for corporations to learn
about you and cater their services to you is using Web cookies. In fact, there are companies whose main goal
is building your consumer portrait, including your age, gender, diet, job title, and income. If your relationship just ended and you’re
looking for help, be prepared to get tons of relationship counselling ads or inspirational
stories from those who’ve been there. And, it works like this in any field and situation. Companies who hunt for this data assign you
with an ID instead of using your real name. They’re pretty creative with the tools they
use, but the most common methods are seeding, canvas fingerprinting and cookie syncing. You already know how seeding works – using
your social networking account to get access to your friends’ data. Canvas fingerprinting is a way of drawing
an invisible picture on the websites you visit. It lets them analyze your OS, software, and
even browser history. And, cookie syncing speaks for itself: it
means sharing your information between linked websites using cookies. If you don’t mind your consumer behavior
being analyzed, remember it can actually be used against you, and not just privacy-wise. High-value shoppers, for example, are often
offered more expensive products, or even higher prices than other customers pay for the same
thing. And, some experts believe this spying on your
web activity could cost you a job. For example, you could be looking up some
medical condition out of curiosity, and your prospective employers could find out about
it and deny you. The good news is you can protect your data
if you change your individual cookie policy using a VPN, install special anti-tracking
extensions or disable Flash on your computer. Do you know of any other way to protect your
data? Let’s help make the Internet a safer place
together – mention them in the comment section below! Don’t forget to give this video a like, share
it with your friends and click “subscribe” to stay on the Bright Side of life!

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