Share your secrets with your friends, not search engines and advertisers
In an article from 2017 on the independent newsroom ProPublica, Julia Angwin reported that Google quietly dropped their ban on personally identifiable web tracking. Starting from that moment, Google has been correlating your personal information and your online habits with the ads that are displayed, on all Google channels (Gmail, YouTube, Google search, etc).
June 2017 the EU has fined Google for a sum of €2.42 billion for breaching antitrust rules. Google was found to have prioritised their shopping comparison services in their search results, and demoting their competitors. In other words, Google has abused their market dominance – 90% of search traffic in Europe – by consistently presenting biased results that benefited Google.
“…What Google has done is illegal… most importantly, it has denied European consumers the benefits of competition, genuine choice of services and innovation.” – This is how EU Commissioner Vestager states in this video
Centralisation of censorship and profit
Privacy advocates are campaigning against the tracking used by advertisers, and how a few global corporations has collected data enough about you, to persuade your decisions and control your news stream.
How Facebook controls your news stream was recently reviewed by ProPublica and sheds new light on the secret guidelines that Facebook use to tell hate speech from legitimate political expression. The documents reveal the rationale behind seemingly inconsistent decisions.
According to Dr. Robert Epstein Google is the worlds largest censor and Dr. Epstein claims that when Google’s employees or algorithms decide to block our access to information about a news item, political candidate or business, opinions and votes can shift, reputations can be ruined and businesses can crash and burn.
In 2016 two companies increased their advertising earnings and combined they earned $106.3bn, and have almost doubled the number over the last five years. Facebook and Google in 12016, accounted for 20% of global advertising worldwide . The two companies alone have accounted for almost two-thirds of global ad spend growth since 2012 according to the Zenith adspend report
Their success is based on their ability to collect personal data, and use that data to target advertising at consumers, 87% of Googles and an astonishing 98% of Facebook earnings comes from ads.
Financial profit isn’t the only reason why information shouldn’t be biased. It concerns who collects, owns and uses data.
Think about the recent elections and referendums. We will never know for sure whether the ranking algorithms or auto-complete was biased and influenced people’s decisions – but they could have. The potential outcomes from biased search algorithms is that search results can sway elections and referendums, perhaps even court cases and investigations, and they could be used to destroy a person’s reputation.
Sharing your secrets can result in algorithms begining to limit your life choices.
The major search engines, social networks and messenger services would like you to believe that behaviour tracking simplifies your life, by making it easier for us to find information on the internet. That is partly true: what they do not say is they achieve this by limiting the scope of information to what they believe you need to know and that they sell your deepest secrets to advertisers. The implications of this are obvious.
Sharing your secrets about you self mean that you stay within your own filter bubble, and risk not to experience other points of view.
Don’t share your secrets with search engines and advertisers – share them with your friends, in private.
Keep your secrets and preserve our freedom to search and decide
According to the Eurobarometer report on ePrivacy this is how Europeans already act to keep their secrets and actively considers how to activate privacy features.
- 60% respondents have already changed the privacy settings on their Internet browser
- 37% use software that protects them from seeing online adverts
- 27% use software that prevents their online activities from being monitored.
- 65% of respondents have taken at least one of these actions.
- 69% totally agree the default settings of their browser should stop their information from being shared.
- 65% totally agree they should be able to encrypt their messages and calls, so they are only read by the recipient.
Are you ready to activate your privacy
Alternatives to Google and Facebook are getting more and more attention from people like you, who want to keep their secrets.
For messaging, calls and video chat, Wire is a good alternative.
To keep you searches and browsing hidden from trackers, you can use Findx to give you a private online experience when searching for information on the internet.
When you install apps, ‘like’ a web page, or use Facebook to log into websites, you let them harvest your Facebook profile information. Take control of your online privacy and change these Facebook settings today.