How My View On Privacy Changed

January 07, 2020

How my view on privacy changed

Privacy is almost dead but there are few people still battling the windmills. Invasion of privacy became one of the most valuable commodity alongside attention. In today’s world the data you hold on someone or a group of people will be used against them. Most known problem lately would be “Cambridge Analytica” ( Latest news ). Users behavior, location and every little bit of data is used against them. Its used to influence and change opinions. Its a scary powerful tool.

Intrusion of privacy became personal

But the issue of “Cambrige Analytica” is nowhere near big enough for me to change my view on privacy. Issue is more personal. I noticed how advertising was abusing my impulsiveness to generate unwise decisions. How my past activity was being used to generate better recommendations.

I used to be okay with managing social media, YouTube consumption and my spending habits. However that all changed. My previous activity on YouTube is used to generate tailored recommendations. Things that will me pull into the platform and make me stay there. I don’t want these things to be recorded, saved and used against me. Google was with my knowledge over the years able to generate a profile and abuse it. I don’t claim this was done on purpose but its personal. This can all be accredited to my unhealthy view on privacy.

Google - Don’t be evil?

Sometime during August of 2019 I’ve decided to look into privacy, look into what I am giving up and how it could be affecting my recently behavior changes in regard to social media and YouTube consumption. I was blown away by how much data I have given to Google over the years.

I had three Google Accounts and during last 8-10 years I’ve given Google things like:

  • all photos I ever took
  • all my search history
  • all my YouTube history
  • all my location ( I used to be proud that Google was tracking every step)
  • and much more…

I used Google Takeout to download all my data, Archive on a single account ended up being more than 80 GB’s. Only 33 GB’s of which are media. I am shocked.

Lets do some gross estimate that 40 GB’s are just text files with things like search history and other data. 1 GB Microsoft Word document has 64,782 pages, this would mean that history on one of my accounts is 2.591,280 pages long. That is 4,420 Moby Dick novels of my data.

What did I do?

There is not much I can do at this point regarding my past data, but I’ve decided to move away from Google. I’ve taken out all my photos and data and moved away to other services likesProton Mail, NextCloud, Libre Office and others.

I am planing on making a whole series on privacy, its issues, impacts and more. I now only own a single Google account but as soon as the opportunity arises I will get rid of it as well. You can’t use Android effectively without Google Account, but I am looking into Lineage OS.

Marko Korevec
software developer @ Martian&Machine

technology, photography, thoughts, bad jokes and a dash of cycling