Google has sucked up consumer data in surprising ways, for example, when browsers are in "incognito" mode, according to a new report.
The study from Vanderbilt University and released Tuesday analyzed how data is collected from All Google products, including Android mobile devices, Chrome browsers, YouTube and Images. In addition to incognito data collection, the survey also studied how Google Photos generates consumer data, the depth of service placement tracking, and more.
Many users assume that when they are in the incognito setting, the online footsteps are hidden. But Google can retroactively link the private browser to specific consumers, says the report.
The reports state: "While such data is collected with user anonymous identifiers, Google has the ability to link this collected information with a user's personal credentials stored in their Google Account."
How it works: A person cares for a private browsing session in Chrome. On websites that run ads from Google's online advertising market, anonymous cookies will be deleted on the browsers associated with the user. If the same person leaves private browsing mode and logs in to a Google service like Gmail or YouTube, the action of logging into Google makes it possible to link the previous web activity to the now-identified user. (Unless cookies have expired or manually deleted by the user.)
"It is not well understood by consumers," said Douglas Schmidt, author of the study and computer science professor at Vanderbilt University. "However, if you read printing in" incognito "mode, there are many disclaimers."
Google did not respond immediately to report reports.
The study could not tell if Google takes the steps required to connect the anonymous data from private browsing to the anonymized data when the person logs in to their services.
"Google will collect all necessary information to make this connection," Schmidt said. "It would give them a relative benefit to anyone else who can not correlate."
"If a user is" incognito ", they think they are as private as possible and they do not realize they gave it all because they logged in," said Jason Kint, Managing Director of Digital Content Next, a trading group known for its opposition to the online dominance of the big internet companies and which helps to circulate the study. "It's reasonable to believe that the average user does not expect it to happen."
The study also says that Google gets a sense of a person location every time they log on to WiFi or the phone pings a cell tower, and that, in turn, can even help determine a person's mode of transportation.
"Google can greatly experience if a user is still , go, drive, ride a bike or drive on a train or car. "The report says." Achieving this is by tracing an Android mobile user's location coordinates with frequent time intervals in combination with data from embedded sensors [such as an accelerometer] on mobile phones r. "
Google Photos is another large reservoir of data thanks to image recognition, according to the report. By default, Google analyzes images and records landmarks, logos, animals, and other features, and even detects the emotional state of people's faces.
"Google's Face Detection features allow you to detect emotional conditions associated with faces in images." The report says.
The report was particularly concerned with the amount of "passive data" collected by Google, which refers to the most collected information without the consumer understanding it, for example through ads and third party web and app activity, not directly owned by Google. The report claims that two thirds of the data collected by Google will be considered "passive".
"While such information is usually collected without identifying a unique user," the report says, "Google obviously has the ability to exploit data collected from other sources to de-anonymize such a collection."
The study is just as legislators in Washington consider stricter privacy rules. The EU has already adopted its stricter general data protection regulation in May, and Facebook and Google are facing similar pressures in the US to explain how they track consumers online.
In April, Facebook's CEO Managing Director Mark Zuckerberg testifies to the Congress of Cambridge Analytica, Third Party Computer Operations, charged with abusing data of 87 million Facebook users to unfortunate influence in the United States and the United Kingdom
A major concern for some US legislators during these meetings focused on how Facebook tracks consumers who do not even use their services by collecting data through third party websites with Facebook "like" and "share" buttons.
The Vanderbilt report raises similar questions about Google. There are 1
An Associated Press report last week showed how the company can detect people's sites even when they turn off position tracking in their settings. Google may still log a person's location through phones and other devices when a person burns up Google Maps or seeks weather, reported AP.