Although you do not interact with Google on purpose, the odds are that the advertising giant has built a digital profile of you, according to a report from the media industry Digital Content Next.
Google, a part of the alphabet, has settled claims against privacy violations before and faces new now, in the wake of an Associated Press survey of Google Local Trace. Earlier this month, Google tweaked some of the language it uses to describe its placement tracking in response to the AP survey.
The report, conducted by computer scientist Douglas Schmidt at Vanderbilt University with the support of Digital Content Next-Commodity that regularly criticizes Google, noted that Google collected twice as much "passive" data as active data.
Passive data refers to information collected in the background while some use Google's or a Google app, such as Maps, or browser a webpage that is dependent on Google-owned tools. Active data will contain the contents of a search sent via Google.com, for example.
Schmidt resets Android and iOS mobile phones and sets them up with a new Google Account to record typical tracking code on a whole new user. He found that the Android operating system sent placement information 340 times in the first 24 hours, even though the test user did not touch the phone. The iOS operating system sent no "noticeable" data if the user did not interact with the phone.
When the test user started a regular day, such as dropping the kids off to school and going to work, the iOS device sent Google about half as much information as did the Android device. Website publishers and advertisers gathered most of this information through tools like Google Analytics and AdWords.
Schmidt also wrote in the report that Google can connect to activity from so-called anonymous browser modes with logged in activity. He did not accuse it of doing so, and in a statement given to The Washington Post Google refused to associate anonymous activity with identifiable advertising cookies.