MUST READ: What Google and Facebook know about you

An expert has investigated the data that two internet companies possess and warns others on extent of privacy intrusion.

A technical consultant probes data Facebook and Google have on him [Reuters]
A technical consultant probes data Facebook and Google have on him [Reuters]
Google and Facebook know almost everything a smartphone owner does online or offline and store the information even if the owner deletes the data on the device, a technical consultant and web developer has written on his Twitter account.

“Want to freak yourself out?,” wrote Dylan Curran. “I’m gonna show just how much of your information the likes of Facebook and Google store about you without you even realising it.”

Here is a selection of points from Curran’s list:

  • Google stores your location (if you have it turned on) every time you turn on your phone, and you can see a timeline from the first day you started using Google on your phone. https://www.google.com/maps/timeline
    [Courtesy of Dylan Curran]
  • Google stores search history across all your devices on a separate database, so even if you delete your search history and phone history, Google still stores everything until you go in and delete everything, and you have to do this on all devices. https://myactivity.google.com/myactivity
  • Google creates an advertisement profile based on your information, including your location, gender, age, hobbies, career, interests, relationship status, possible weight (need to lose 10lbs in one day?) and income. https://adssettings.google.com/authenticated
  • Google stores information on every app and extension you use, how often you use them, where you use them, and who you use them to interact with (who do you talk to on facebook, what countries are you speaking with, what time you go to sleep at). https://myaccount.google.com/permissions?pli=1
  • Google stores all of your YouTube history, so they know whether you’re going to be a parent soon, if you’re a conservative, if you’re a progressive, if you’re Jewish, Christian, or Muslim, if you’re feeling depressed or suicidal, if you’re anorexic. https://www.youtube.com/feed/history/search_history
  • Google offers an option to download all of the data it stores about you, “I’ve requested to download it and the file is 5.5GB big, which is roughly three million Word documents. 
  • Facebook offers a similar option to download all your information, mine was roughly 600mb, which is roughly 400,000 Word documents.
  • This includes every message you’ve ever sent or been sent, every file you’ve ever sent or been sent, all the contacts in your phone, and all the audio messages you’ve ever sent or been sent.
    [Courtesy of Dylan Curran]
  • Facebook also stores what it thinks you might be interested in based off the things you’ve liked and what you and your friends talk about.
  • Somewhat pointlessly, they also store all the stickers you’ve ever sent on Facebook.
  • They also store every time you log into Facebook, where you logged in from, what time, and from what device.
  • And they store all the applications you’ve ever had connected to your Facebook account, “so they can guess I’m interested in politics and web and graphic design, that I was single between X and Y period with the installation of Tinder, and I got a HTC phone in November”.
  • Side-note, if you have Windows 10 installed, this is a picture of just the privacy options with 16 different sub-menus, which have all of the options enabled by default when you install Windows 10.
  • This includes tracking where you are, what applications you have installed, when you use them, what you use them for, access to your webcam and microphone at any time, your contacts, your e-mails, your calendar, your call history, the messages you send and receive.
  • This includes tracking where you are, what applications you have installed, when you use them, what you use them for, access to your webcam and microphone at any time, your contacts, your e-mails, your calendar, your call history, the messages you send and receive.
  • The files you download, the games you play, your photos and videos, your music, your search history, your browsing history, even what radio stations you listen to.
  • This is one of the craziest things about the modern age, we would never let the government or a corporation put cameras/microphones in our homes or location trackers on us, but we just went ahead and did it ourselves because f**k it I want to watch cute dog videos.
  • Here’s the search history document, which has 90,000 different entries, even showing the images I downloaded and the websites I accessed (I showed ThePirateBay section to show much damage this information can do).
  • “Here’s my Google Calendar broken down, showing all the events I’ve ever added, whether I actually attended them, and what time I attended them at (this part is what I went for an interview for a Marketing job, and what time I arrived at).”
  • “This is my Google Drive, which includes files I explicitly deleted including my resume, my monthly budget, and all the code, files, and websites I’ve ever made, and even my PGP private key, which I deleted, which I use to encrypt e-mails.”
  • “This is my Google Fit, which shows all of the steps I’ve ever taken, any time I walked anywhere, and all the times I’ve recorded any meditation/yoga/workouts I’ve done (I deleted this information and revoked Google Fit’s permissions).”
    [Courtesy of Dylan Curran]
  • “This is all the photos ever taken with my phone, broken down by year, and includes metadata of when and where I took the photos.”
  • “And now my Google Activity, this has thousands of files, so I’ll just do a short summary of what they have.”
  • “Firstly every Google Ad I’ve ever viewed or clicked on, every app I’ve ever launched or used and when I did it, every website I’ve ever visited and what time I did it at, and every app I’ve ever installed or searched for”.
  • “Every image I’ve ever searched for and saved, every location I’ve ever searched for or clicked on, every news article I’ve ever searched for or read, and every single Google search I’ve made since 2009”.
  • “And then finally, every YouTube video I’ve ever searched for or viewed, since 2008”.
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Quebec passes controversial face veil ban

Quebec's face veil ban is the fist of its kind in North America [File: Shakil Adil/AP Photo]

Montreal, Canada – Quebec has passed a contentious law that would make it illegal for Muslim women, and other individuals, who cover their faces to receive public services, including riding public buses.

Members of the provincial legislature voted 65-51 in favour of the legislation on religious neutrality, known as Bill 62, on Wednesday morning.

The law forces citizens to uncover their faces in order to receive or give public services in the French-speaking province.

It applies to provincial and municipal employees – including doctors, nurses, teachers and daycare workers – and public transit workers.

US Health secretary Tom Price under investigation over travel fees

One of President Donald Trump‘s senior officials is under investigation for spending hundreds of thousands of dollars in public money on flights around the US.

Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price took five flights in executive jets last week alone, instead of taking commercial flights.

tom-price

California to sue Trump administration over US-Mexico border wall plan

The US state of California has filed a lawsuit to block plans to build a wall along the US-Mexican border.

The wall was a central pillar of President Donald Trump’s presidential campaign.

But the proposal is unpopular in California and other states that have large immigrant populations.

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US colleges under the spectre of sexual assault

Betsy DeVos’ move to rescind Obama era Title IX guidelines raise concerns rape survivors will fall back into silence.

Victims of sexual violence and their supporters protest at George Mason University. Betsy DeVos announced plans to replace the way colleges and university handle investigations. 

New York, NY – Taylor Moore, a 20-year-old college student from Arkansas, wants to be able to attend class, stay in the dorms, or go to the school’s library without having to encounter the student who sexually assaulted her – rights US anti-gender discrimination laws, known as Title IX, are supposed to protect.

Schools receiving federal funds – this essentially includes all of the about 5,000 US colleges – must protect the rights of those who have been sexually assaulted or harassed. But what they need to do to adequately protect those students has long been a subject of debate.

Betsy DeVos, the US secretary of education, has vowed to overhaul guidelines introduced by the Obama administration in 2011. Survivors of sexual assault had hailed those guidelines for making it easier for those who had been sexually assaulted to come forward and get on-campus justice, which is unrelated to criminal prosecution. But others have derided the guidelines as trampling on the rights of accused students.

The effects of sexual assault are profound, Moore told Al Jazeera.

“[My attacker] saw me naked, he touched my naked body,” she said, adding, of the possibility of seeing her assailant, “it makes me feel small and very insecure and just violated all over again.”

The Obama administration guidelines were introduced after decades of surveys continually found that about one in five women is sexually assaulted while in college. They also accompanied a gradual shift in social awareness about what constitutes rape and sexual assault to include psychological coercion, exemplified by the FBI’s 2012 removal of the word “force” from its definition of rape.

US Senate backs resolution against white nationalists

Senators say Heather Heyer’s killing was a ‘domestic terrorist attack’, calling for measures against hate groups.

The resolution will go to the House, where identical language has been introduced [FIle: Getty Images/AFP]
The resolution will go to the House, where identical language has been introduced [FIle: Getty Images/AFP]

The US Senate has approved a resolution condemning white supremacists, neo-Nazis and other hate groups following a white-nationalist rally in Virginia that descended into deadly violence.

Describing Heather Heyer’s killing by a neo-Nazi driver in Charlottesville on August 12 as a “domestic terrorist attack”, the initiative went through on Monday night with unanimous support.

Rally in US city of Charlottesville turns deadly as car rams into counter-protesteThe resolution urges President Donald Trump and his administration to speak out against hate groups that espouse racism, extremism, xenophobia, anti-Semitism and white supremacy.

It also calls on the justice department and other federal agencies to “use all resources available” to improve data collection on hate crimes and “address the growing prevalence of those hate groups in the United States”.

Saudi embassy may have funded 9/11 ‘dry run’

New York Post reports FBI evidence in a lawsuit alleges Saudi Arabia’s US embassy may have funded test run for Sept 11.

Last year, Congress voted to override a veto and allow relatives of 9/11 victims to sue for damages [EPA]Last year, Congress voted to override a veto and allow relatives of 9/11 victims to sue for damages

New evidence in a 9/11 lawsuit against the government of Saudi Arabia alleges the kingdom’s embassy in Washington, DC may have funded a test run for the deadly attacks in 2001, according to a US newspaper report.

The evidence was submitted as part of a class action lawsuit against the government of Saudi Arabia, the New York Post reported on Saturday.

It alleges the embassy paid for two Saudi nationals to fly from Phoenix to Washington two years before planes hit the World Trade Center, the Pentagon, and slammed into a field in Pennsylvania as part of a “dry run” for the attacks.

Saudi Arabia has always denied any involvement in September 11, 2001 attacks that killed nearly 3,000 people.

The victims’ lawyers, however, have said the evidence suggests “a pattern of both financial and operational support” for the 9/11 conspiracy from official Saudi sources, according to the Post.

READ MORE: Saudi Arabia condemns passage of US 9/11 law

The evidence could further reinforce the claim that employees and agents of Saudi Arabia directed and supported the hijackers.