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Your information on Gmail is far from private. One Reddit user has uncovered clear evidence that emails on Gmail are scanned for purchases, recorded, and used to tailor Google’s ad suggestions.
Centralized technology firms are at it again with their surveillance (as if they ever stopped).
In the latest news to expose their prying eyes, one Reddit user has discovered that Google has been monitoring his purchases — despite not using Google Pay.
The Reddit user discovered that, by going to one’s purchases on Google, the entire history comes up. All purchases notified through email are recorded, even if you do not use Google Pay.
Deleting the purchase history is also a pain. Each purchase has to be deleted individually — so it is virtually impossible to get rid of unless you have a great deal of time and patience.
According to a followup by BleepingComputer, Google commented that the information collected from Gmail was done to “help users find their data.” It affirmed that nothing was stored nor was it used to serve ads.
That’s a bit suspicious, considering the data is still being collected. Most users never access Google’s history of purchases — nor even know it exists. Therefore, it may be reasonable to assume that Google is data-mining Gmail emails. Why else would it be interested in compiling this information?
Major technology firms have been mining our data without our knowledge for a long time now. Arguably, we shouldn’t be naive enough to expect them to stop. Instead, we need to start utilizing alternative, decentralized systems that compete with Google’s dominance.
Blockchain-based systems remain one of the foundational building blocks of a world without online surveillance by big technology companies. Without a single entity holding all the keys, data cannot be exploited to advertisers.
What Facebook, Google, and others are essentially doing is selling our privacy to the highest bidder. As long as their profit model rests on this practice, they cannot be trusted no matter how often they apologize.
Luckily, decentralized internet is possible — and perhaps not even a long ways away. With alternative incentive models than selling data to advertisers, blockchain-based networks promise privacy-centric solutions that put users’ data back in their hands.
How many more of these scandals do we need before the public at large realizes that these problems are becoming an impediment to the internet’s progress? Hopefully, we are close to a desperately-needed paradigm shift.
Do you believe that these massively centralized tech firms can ever be trusted to properly protect our privacy? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.
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