One of the big technology stories of 2013 has been ‘PRISM gate’ — the revelation that the National Security Agency has been secretly accessing the private data of U.S. and international citizens who use web-based services from the likes of Google (GOOG), Yahoo (YHOO), Facebook (FB) and others. Even if tech companies aren’t directly making use of your personal information, they’re still collecting and storing it, leaving it vulnerable to hackers, rogue employees and government agencies.
The NSA has also been accused of spying on the tech companies themselves and intercepting data without their consent. According to one report, the NSA collected 181 million new records in January from Google and Yahoo alone. If you own a computer, smartphone, tablet or other connected device, there’s a good chance this surveillance has ensnared some of your information.
Apple (AAPL), Microsoft (MSFT) and other tech stocks have banded together to lobby Congress to enact reforms covering how the NSA goes about collecting this data. After all, having their names embroiled in this privacy mess is not only bad PR, it also threatens to cost them money — big money — as a result of lost business.
Here’s a list of five tech stocks that may know a lot more about you than you realize: some of the biggest technology companies on the planet, plus one company you’ve probably never heard of that puts the rest to shame when it comes to personal data collection.