I am loving this YouTube channel that I just stumbled on called The Hated One! This piece is about the manifold evils of Google. Below is a redacted transcript of the voiceover.
Google has been secretly developing a covert version of Google Search for the Chinese Communist Party in order to enter the vast Chinese market. At the request of the Chinese government, Google will link users’ mobile phone numbers to the search terms they’ve used. This is to help the government crack down on dissidents and activists and to become more efficient overall at censoring the Internet.
This revelation should have been unsurprising, as Google had essentially been doing this in the West for ages. Whenever you search for something, Google will create a server log that will remember your browser and OS configuration, IP address and a unique cookie planted on your device by Google. The link you click on from the results is logged and Google will keep a record of the websites you visit from there.
If you don’t delete this cookie, it will only expire in 30 years, essentially logging your entire digital presence. From there, it’s easy for Google to link your search history to your phone number, via any number of Google services for which you’ve signed up, like Gmail, YouTube, or Google Play, regardless of whether your phone is an Android.
If they can’t get your number from their services, Google has partnerships with Facebook, Twitter and other tech platforms to exchange that information with them. If that doesn’t work, Google turns to its 100,000s of third-party partners and data brokers like Acxiom to buy your phone number from offline databases.
Thanks to Ed Snowden, we know that all Google servers are tapped by intelligence agencies in the US and in the Five Eyes Alliance countries of the UK, Canada, Australia and New Zealand. The US National Security Agency has a copy of your search history tied back to your phone number forever in their data centers.
If you signed up for Gmail, you didn’t just give up your phone number, but some precious information unique to your biology. Ever since Gmail came to existence, Google has been actively scanning your emails for keywords to expose you to more ads in your inbox. But Google also used your private emails to study your writing style and the way you type. Similar to how you walk is unique to your person, the way you hit keys on your keyboard and your writing style also belongs to you only.
This allows Google to identify you across your whole Internet presence, even if you create pseudonymous accounts on public forums like Reddit. In 2017, Google promised to stop active scanning of Gmail messages, but it was revealed that Google continues to let third-party app developers that use Gmail to scan users private emails.
These third parties are even allowed to further share your emails to their partners, thus multiplying the amount of copies. If you ever deleted your email or even your entire Gmail account, Google visually fulfills your request, but residual copies are kept in their offline backup systems indefinitely and Google doesn’t go after the third-party developers to delete their copies of your emails. Your private emails thus remain copied and stored in data centers across the globe with unknown security and no oversight.
Google uses your browsing history not only to target you with ads, but to identify you as well. Google only needs snippets of your browsing record to be able to determine identities of users on the web. Google tracks your browsing history through AdSense, DoubleClick and various other advertising and tracking scripts that belong to the company.
Google+ share plugins on websites are used to track users, even if they logged off or never used Google+, similar to how Facebook tracks browsing history through like and share plugins. Where cookies don’t work, Google uses your unique ID number that is assigned to every Android device by default.
This ID is continuously followed and cross-referenced with the rest of your record to constantly keep it up to date across all platforms and devices. If these policies aren’t aggressive enough, Google purchases the remaining browsing records from data brokers, internet service providers, internet exchange points or content delivery networks.
Google really wants to know where you go. So much so, that it keeps tracking your location even if you tell it not to. The first time Google was caught tracking users location on their Android phones and tablets was through triangulation of nearby cell towers servicing users’ devices.
This information was collected even when users turned off location services, never inserted a SIM card in their phone, or even after factory reset. There was no way for users to opt out.
Google said this collection was put in place to improve message delivery, although it wasn’t really clear how that could work. Nonetheless, Google promised to turn this feature off and stop collecting location data for users who turn off location services. That was a lie.
Even with location history turned off, Google can use any app activity to keep a minute-by-minute record of your location but you wouldn’t have any visual way to find out about it.
To confuse users, Google hid the option to turn off this collection under “Web and App Activity” settings, where this kind of collection would not be expected by an average user.
This year is a big milestone for Google. 40% of global ad spending is expected to take place online, outspending TV advertising by $40 billion. Google achieved dominance in digital advertising thanks to their focus, commitment and sheer will – the will to know every single step you take.
Google is able to attract advertisers thanks to their ability to profile records of your entire activity on the web. By partnering with MasterCard and other credit card companies, Google to now has access to roughly 70% of credit and debit card transactions in the US and they’re able to track what you buy even in physical stores.
The search giant is able to retrospectively compare these profiles with the aggregated databases of offline purchases to identify individual purchasing histories. Google tracks offline purchases in order to prove advertisers when online ads make impressions that translate into physical transactions.
Digital profiles in Google’s databases contain very detailed information about users likes, preferences, interests and private thoughts. There might be numerous trade secrets, undisclosed agreements, and technologies developed by Google that are generally unknown to win the race to get inside people’s minds.