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5 Ways Tech Giants Are Flouting Our Privacy


American tech giants such as Google, Facebook, Yahoo, and Apple have been alleged for shaking hands with the NSA and other government agencies time and again in order to snoop out personal information of its users. But surprisingly, none of the legal cases pressed on these invading stalwarts have ever led to a positive outcome. Here are five unimaginable ways by which these tech majors are making our lives more public than ever before.


1) Location Tracking

Who does it: Apple
 
Apple’s iOS is well known for its snoopy location tracking feature. This feature records the name of the place you checked-in at and the time you spent there even without your knowledge of the same. iOS versions 4.3.3 and lower were capable of automatically saving log files with location and time information which could be later accessed through iTunes on a PC. After taking flak for privacy violation, Apple brushed it off blaming it on malicious software.



2) Sign Up Information
Who does it: Facebook
 
You thought that filling in your personal details while signing up on Facebook was safe? Didn’t you? Yes, we all did. But shockingly, this is not true. In 2011, Facebook breached a pact with FTC (Federal Trade Commission) by circulating private information of its users to app developers and advertisers. The pact also asked Facebook to notify about privacy policy changes to the users, but all this was looked over. Instead of falling back, Facebook in 2012 declared that it is “Facebook’s right” to use user’s photos and personal information for generation of advertisements.



3) Scanning E-mails
Who does it: Gmail
 
Next time you write a mail, keep an eye on the side bar as it displays advertisements according to the mail you are penning down. What Google actually does is that it scans your e-mails for keywords in order to display suitable adverts. From time and again, Google has been accused of this trick, but every time it successfully reasons away by terming this practice as a regular business practice.


4) Finding Friends
Who does it: Twitter and Facebook
 
Ever wondered how Twitter and Facebook suggests you friends? Well, this is how: Just when you click on the “find friends” button, all your e-mail, iPhone, and other social networking contacts are uploaded on Twitter’s and Facebook’s server automatically, and that’s how friend suggestions appears. The uploaded contacts are saved in the servers for up to a year and a half and can be accessed by the company at any given point in time.



5) UDID Numbers
Who Does It: Apple
 
Every Apple product comes marked with a UDID number; it cannot be changed or modified and is distinct to every Apple product. Back in 2010 Apple was alleged that it was letting out UDID to application developers so that they can keep a track on what the users are interested in downloading.

By Shantanu Prasher


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