F-Secure's Data Discovery Portal reveals what the big tech companies know about you
In an age where people want -- even expect -- everything for free, particularly online, the price we pay for using various services is our privacy. Social networks are obvious collectors of personal data, but it doesn't end there... and who really knows what information has been collected about them over the years?
This is what F-Secure hopes to cast a light on with its new Data Discovery Portal which aims to "expose the true cost of using some of the web's most popular free services". It covers Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Google, Snapchat and Twitter.
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F-Secure was compelled to develop the Data Discovery Portal to make it easier for people to keep an eye on their privacy. While all of the big technology companies let you see what data has been collected about you, they are far from well-advertised so you probably have no idea where to look. The Data Discovery is your one-stop shop for reviewing your shared data.
For each company and service, the portal provides a direct link to either the privacy policies that apply, or to the data that has been collected about you. For Google this means data that has been trawled from your Google account, from your Android device and from Google Home usage, while for Amazon, it includes recordings that have been made of your interactions with Alexa.
F-Secure says that it is offering the tool as part of the company's growing focus on identity protection that secures consumers before, during, and after data breaches. The company's Chief Information Security Officer Erka Koivunen says:
What you do with the data collection is entirely between you and the service. We don't see -- and don't want to see -- your settings or your data. Our only goal is to help you find out how much of your information is out there. You often hear, "if you're not paying, you're the product". But your data is an asset to any company, whether you're paying for a product or not. Data enables tech companies to sell billions in ads and products, building some of the biggest businesses in the history of money.
While consumers effectively volunteer this information, they should know the privacy and security implications of building accounts that hold more potential insight about our identities than we could possibly share with our family. All of that information could be available to a hacker through a breach or an account takeover.
Default privacy settings are typically quite loose, whether you're using a social network, apps, browsers or any service. Review your settings now, if you haven't already, and periodically afterwards. And no matter what you can do, nothing stops these companies from knowing what you’re doing when you're logged into their services.
Check out the Data Discovery Portal and take action if you're not happy with what you find.