It has become impossible to avoid report after report of ways tech companies are violating the privacy of consumers and abusing our data. Google, which controls the most popular search engine, email service, and web browser, is at the top of the list.
Google uses its “free services” like Gmail, Chrome and Google Maps to collect valuable information of users and sells it to the highest bidder. As a result, consumers are forced to give up personal information to access Google’s “free” services. A study by Vanderbilt University found that Android helps Google collect personal user information (name, mobile phone number, birthdate, zip code, and at times credit card number). It also sent Google information on a user’s activity on the mobile phone such as apps used, websites visited and location coordinates.
Our personal data is valuable information that should not be spread fast and loose throughout the internet. Consumers should have the right to choose where their data ends up but unfortunately that is not the case. Much of this information is taken without consent, and it’s often unclear where it will be used.
Our private lives and the data we create living those lives is a commodity with clear value to tech companies. It is time that our government intervenes to protect consumers. Attorney General Josh Stein should fully investigate tech companies and these serious allegations to protect the data and privacy of North Carolina residents.