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Thread: Hands off my data!

  1. #1
    Must...have...caffeine One Bad Pig's Avatar
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    Hands off my data!

    Source: Geoffrey A. Fowler

    On the internet, the devil's in the defaults.
    You're not reading all those updated data policies flooding your inbox. You probably haven't even looked for your privacy settings. And that's exactly what Facebook, Google and other tech giants are counting on.

    They tout we're "in control" of our personal data, but know most of us won't change the settings that let them grab it like cash in a game show wind machine. Call it the Rule of Defaults: 95 percent of people are too busy, or too confused, to change a darn thing.

    Give me 15 minutes, and I can help you join the 5 percent who are actually in control. I dug through the privacy settings for the five biggest consumer tech companies and picked a few of the most egregious defaults you should consider changing. Facebook, Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Apple offer links that allow you to tap, click and toggle your settings.

    Some of their defaults are just bonkers. Google has been saving a map of everywhere you go, if you turned on its Assistant when you set up an Android phone. Amazon makes your wish list public - and keeps recordings of all your conversations with Alexa. Facebook exposes to the public your friends list and all the pages you follow, and it lets marketers use your name in their Facebook ads. By default, Microsoft's Cortana in Windows 10 gobbles up . . . pretty much your entire digital life.

    My inspiration for poring over the fine print was the European General Data Protection Act, or GDPR, that recently went into effect and prompted all those privacy policy emails. I asked the largest tech companies what they'd changed - other than their legalese - about default settings or the amount of data they collect on us. The shocking answer: almost nothing. (Facebook is also rolling out new privacy controls, but not actually changing your options . . . or even taking away many clicks.)

    My suggestions are small acts of resistance - there are further settings, privacy-minded apps and web browser add-ons that could take you on a deeper dive. (I'd love to hear what else has worked well for you.) Changing the defaults I list here mean you'll get less personalization from some services, and might see some repeated ads. But these changes can curtail some of the creepy advertising fueled by your data, and, in some cases, stop these giant companies from collecting so much data about you in the first place. And that's a good place to start.

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    Too bad I hadn't seen this before visiting Sparko - I could've ordered him a 10 pound bucket of sea salt.
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  2. #2
    Professor and Chaplain Littlejoe's Avatar
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    MeWe seems more and more to be a better option...
    "What has the Church gained if it is popular, but there is no conviction, no repentance, no power?" - A.W. Tozer

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  3. #3
    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    A lot of the stuff mentioned I don't mind. Yeah google tracks me every where I go, but I can use that data to remember where I went on a specific day, and to find my phone if it gets lost.

  4. #4
    tWebber
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sparko View Post
    A lot of the stuff mentioned I don't mind. Yeah google tracks me every where I go, but I can use that data to remember where I went on a specific day, and to find my phone if it gets lost.
    I use wheresmycellphone.com

    This only lets you ring your phone though.

  5. #5
    Troll Magnet Sparko's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mikewhitney View Post
    I use wheresmycellphone.com

    This only lets you ring your phone though.
    But if someone steals your phone you can track where it is and send a link to the po-po to go get it for you.

  6. #6
    tWebber Faber's Avatar
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    A few minutes ago I logged onto Amazon to purchase a gift card for somebody. I was flooded with advertisements for books and videos of subjects which I had been discussing with others on Facebook.

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