Five Things You Didn’t Know Silicon Valley Was Tracking

A pictures shows binary code reflected from a computer screen in a woman's eye on October 22, 2012. AFP PHOTO / LEON NEAL (Photo credit should read LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images)
LEON NEAL/AFP/Getty Images

The following post is sponsored by Free Our Internet.

In recent weeks, Free Our Internet has been receiving a steady stream of comments from concerned supporters saying they should #DeleteFacebook. While this may seem like a quick fix to the rampant misuse of user data by Silicon Valley giants like Google and Facebook, getting completely off their radar is not as simple. In this case, you can run, but you can’t hide from Silicon Valley.

From the Google-owned driving app Waze to Facebook tools like Marketplace, data is being collected on a much larger scale than most users realize. Here are five ways you’re being tracked by Silicon Valley giants that will probably surprise you:

1. Google Knows What Your Kids Are Doing at School 

Google provides many free services to K-12 schools. It’s a great way to get students hooked early on their products, and an even greater opportunity to mine student data.  Google recently acknowledged using its Apps for Education service to collect data on students for commercial use; it even helps them up-sell products to educators.

2. Facebook Is Storing Info about Non-Users with Facial Recognition

Few people know that Facebook’s facial recognition software, DeepFace, is currently obtaining and saving people’s biometric info without their expressed permission. Not a Facebook user? Not a problem: Facebook can still collect the facial information of non-users with 97.25% accuracy if they’re featured in photos on the platform.

3. Waze, the GPS App, Provides Your Movement Data to Foreign Governments

Owned by Google, the driving app Waze admitted to giving driving data to officials in Rio de Janeiro through their “Connected Citizens Program.” While this information is intended for traffic planning, Waze has access to your entire driving record and can tell how fast you’re going at all times. Rio was just the start; more than 14 other government agencies around the world have followed suit.

4. Google May Have Access to Your DNA

Calico, a biotech firm whose parent company is Google’s Alphabet, reached a deal in 2013 for access to genetic information from In other words, if you or one of your family members has sent a tube off to Ancestry to find out more about your family tree, Google may have access to it. This information has the potential to be used to market pharmaceutical products to you and law enforcement can obtain it with a warrant.

5. You Can’t Hide from Google

Google collects data when users are not even using one of Google’s branded products, such as its Chrome browser or YouTube. Through Google’s vast digital advertising exchange, DoubleClick, Google collects data from the advertiser when a user clicks on an ad or visits the advertiser’s site. Users likely don’t even realize this activity is occurring, and Google’s DoubleClick enjoys more than 57 percent of the market.

Think Silicon Valley giants like Google and Facebook know too much about you? Go to to learn more about how you can put an end to their tyranny.


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