How you told the internet everything about you without realising it


Updated

March 23, 2018 09:05:08

The Cambridge Analytica scandal has thrown the spotlight on how companies can harvest your personal data online from sites like Facebook and use it to manipulate your decisions.

The story has sparked a trend to #DeleteFacebook but chances are if you’re online or have a smartphone, the internet already knows a lot about you.

Some of this information is taken because you need to opt-out of tracking systems but other details people volunteer without realising the consequences.

Your cat is telling people where you live

The internet loves cats.

There are about 15 million pictures tagged with the word “cat” publicly available on image hosting sites such as Instagram and Flickr.

You can see most of them at the website I Know Where Your Cat Lives — an experiment set up to show how easy it is to access data and photos online.

The website’s map uses an image’s geolocation metadata to pinpoint where it was created and uploaded with an estimated accuracy of 7.8 metres.

A user’s data is not shared on the site but you can zoom in to your house to check if that cute picture of Fluffy is out there for everyone to see.

Removing an image from public view is as easy as increasing the privacy settings on your photos.

I Know Where Your Cat Lives is not the only website that exploits geolocation metadata.

Reverse image search websites such as TwiMap reveal where people are when they post to Twitter.

That includes posts that are done automatically through other apps such as Instagram.

Geolocation metadata can make it easier for someone to find out information about you like where you live, work and other places you spend your time during the day.

Apple knows where you were last summer

So you don’t save your home address in Google Maps but your iPhone can take an data-informed guess as to where you live.

Through a labyrinth of menus under Frequent Locations, your iPhone remembers where you’ve been and how long you spent there.

It can even narrow down to a street name and number.

Apple says this is so it can learn useful information about you.

If you want to opt-out, visit Settings > Privacy > Location Services > System Services > Significant locations >Frequent Locations and turn it off.

Voluntarily posting your location on apps such as Facebook and Swarm also carries security risks.

Checking-in to a location, especially when you’re on holiday, tells people you’re not home — helpful information for would-be robbers.

Others who want to find out where you’ve been like a lawyer, your boss or a vindictive ex-partner can also access this information.

In October 2016, a juror in the Gable Tostee murder trial almost caused a mistrial after posting photos of coffee on social media, which were location tagged to the Brisbane Supreme Court.

C is for cookie, that’s very good for ads

Ever wonder why when you looked up cheap flights you saw travel ads online for the next few weeks?

That’s a cookie and advertisers love them.

Online cookies work in a similar way to the real-life baked goods — every time you visit a website you take a cookie and crumbs of information follow you around the internet.

Cookies remember helpful things like your log-in details but also what you might like to buy.

There’s a number of ways you can opt-out of using cookies like clearing your history, using a web browser in incognito or privacy mode, or using an ad-blocker.

But limiting cookies can make web browsing more difficult (they remember your log-in details) and they are important to help companies improve their websites.

Even then, there are still so many other ways technology and the internet are spying on you.

Topics:

science-and-technology,

advertising-and-marketing,

advertising,

information-and-communication,

internet-culture,

social-media,

australia

First posted

March 23, 2018 06:04:42



Source link

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *