Control who can see your personal information

Date: Oct 2, 2019

Control who can see your personal information


Who is really spying on you?

In the past a lot of people were paranoid that they were being spied on, either in public via CCTV or if you were the tin foil hat brigade then you would be paranoid about it being the government or powers that be.

These days people share far too much information in social media, it has become a data modellers paradise which is how the likes of Google and Facebook make their money, through analysing the data that people voluntarily share publicly and then targeting them with advertising.

One of the problems with over sharing personal information is that you can be targeted by people that can exploit information that they can gather about you. Even if you don’t post specifics like sharing when you birthday is, it can be fairly easy for others to find out just by seeing pictures in your social media feed, if you are wearing a badge that says “its my birthday” in the pictures or are photographed blowing out candles on a cake, it doesn’t take a genius to work out when your birthday is. Likewise if you post pictures of where you like, that inadvertently shows your house number, it can be pretty easy to start to build a profile about your life which can then be used to exploit you. Identity theft can be a costly business for the person that has been exploited.

A lot of people are now becoming more social media savvy but it isn’t just social media. For example, smart speakers like Google Home or Amazon Echo constantly listen to conversations all the time and they have been found to send information back to the service provider even though the manufacturers say they don’t do this.

Likewise, your browser, mobile phone and applications on all devices try to harvest as much information as they can about you so what can you do in an ever-connected world to protect yourself?

All services should offer privacy setting so you can control who can see your personal information however these settings are often hard to find and also often get reset when an application, device or service is upgraded. It is in the interest of these companies to get as much information about you as possible because it is how they make their money so perhaps the easiest solution is for people to stop sharing so much with the world and go back to being more private.


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