Google, Amazon, & Facebook know whether you’ve been Naughty or Nice I’m just going to post this article online, link to it on Facebook and Twitter, and hope for the best.

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Apr 9, 2018 No Comments ›› admin

By Lynn Woolley

The Big Three tech giants know just about everything about you – and, most likely so do Apple and Microsoft. The thing that amazes me the most is why we tell them stuff about our private lives.

It’s also amazing how much these companies can figure out about us just from our posts.

The fact is, these companies have profiles on you that far exceed what the U.S. Government knows or what you will disclose in the Census. Why do we give them this data, or allow them to obtain it? That’s because we like to have a pocket computer to take with us everywhere – even though it’s tracking our movements – and we like the rush that comes from getting lots of likes.

It’s a trade-off. 

Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg speaks during the annual Facebook F8 developers conference in San Jose, California April 18, 2017. Stephen Lam / Reuters file

We relinquish our privacy – and in return, we get the conveniences that come from technology. There is a growing backlash. And yes, there are things you can do to maintain your privacy.

Facebook under the microscope.

Even though Google is a bigger and more powerful all-seeing eye, it’s Facebook that’s facing scrutiny right now. CEO Mark Zuckerberg (who probably has enough on members on Congress to make them sweat) is seeing his company’s stock drop in the wake of public shaming and congressional hearings.

Wells Fargo and Equifax both dumped their CEO’s as their stock value fell following data breaches. At Facebook, it’s different. CEO Mark Zuckerberg IS Facebook and he’s worth billions and isn’t going anywhere. Congress may spit in his face, and he may seem meek and mild. But Wells Fargo and Equifax saw their stock rise again, and that will also happen with Facebook. So this will blow over unless one thing happens.

If the people decide they don’t want their data to be sold as a product, they will eschew the tech giants.

There is about as much chance of this as Rush Limbaugh retiring and me getting his job. In other words, zero. Young people cannot even imagine going to a concert and not taking a cell phone video and instantly posting it on social media. They live for likes.

Likes don’t pay any bills, but they sure are the currency of the internet. They are addictive and many people who are stuck on Facebook and its clones simply cannot quit. Their once-beloved privacy suddenly doesn’t seem to matter.

People (yes, including me) who wish to purchase obscure movies or TV shows know that Target and Walmart have stopped carrying large stocks of DVDs and Blu-rays. So if you want that stuff, you typically use Amazon to buy the disks or download. Retail stores are dropping like flies.

Once you buy your movies or TV shows, Amazon’s bots spend the next month trying to convince you to buy similar shows. Your privacy is gone. On the other hand, sometimes, we get a nice service and it’s worth telling Google where you are – like your phone’s GPS. Admit it, that is a great service. But it also lets Google know where you are 24 hours per day. (Husbands, love your wives. You’ve got no choice. You’ll get caught!)

So, what can you do other than stop using modern technology?

To start with, some 87 million Facebook users whose data was sold (remember, you are the product Facebook sells) to Cambridge Analytica will get a detailed message on their news feeds. All 2.2 billion (with a “b”) Facebook users will get a notice with a link to see what apps they use and what information they have shared with those apps. You can make decisions from that data after you receive it.

Dave Lieber, the Dallas Morning News Watchdog

Dave Lieber, the Dallas Morning News Watchdog, has suggestions on what you can do.

First, know that (according to Dave) if you’re one of the 71 million Americans that got “harvested,” your data probably went to Cambridge Analytica – and it’s too late to stop it. That company now knows what was on your mind and what you were thinking – and has extrapolated from that in order to make you a commodity.

How does it feel being sold, and you didn’t get the money?

Most of the rest of Lieber’s “Big 3” column is about how to find out what they know about you and what you can do to regain your privacy. Mostly, it’s go to “settings” and making changes if you can figure out how to do it. Dave provides a lot of links and advice on that. Essentially, at the least, you can find out what they know about you.

In the pantheon of the Big 3, Google is the biggest and baddest.

Dave Lieber says Google is worse, bigger than Facebook. Google knows more and is unstoppable. Google knows where you’ve been, every website you’ve visited, and picks ads for you to see based on what you’re likely to buy.

As for Echo and “eavesdropping” Alexa — they store your commands in yet another database. You can even access them as text or audio. But Dave has found a place of sanctuary —the shower. But, Dave, what about those waterproof Apple Watches?

What will happen to Facebook? What SHOULD happen to Facebook?

Maybe nothing.

After all, we trade our privacy for likes, and we seem to like that. In today’s society, most people seem to want the world to know what they’re doing, what they’re eating, and where they are. Some people practically demand it, as if their lives are not complete without this little virtual window.

The “Google Tower” in Austin. Left-wing Google leased more than 200,000 square feet of space in the building.

If you want privacy, then tell Facebook what you want them to know, post very little about your personal life, and understand that Facebook will sell whatever data it has on you. Or cancel it. “Like” it or don’t, but Facebook is not a necessity. Neither is Amazon, so long as it doesn’t run retail stores out of business.

Google is another matter. 

It’s everywhere and it’s virtually more powerful than the United States government, or any other world government. It may already be too powerful to break up. Google may someday run the planet and make most of our decisions for us. It may be evolving into the artificial intelligence that will replace humanity.

I don’t know, and Google searches don’t tell me.

So I’m just going to post this article online, link to it on Facebook and Twitter, and hope for the best.

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