Facebook, Inc. (NASDAQ:FB) has spent the past month embroiled in a scandal over the access a company called Cambridge Analytica had to Facebook users’ personal data.
That personal data was then used for targeted advertising during the 2016 presidential election. The episode was sketchy, it put the social media site and its data sharing policies under the spotlight, reportedly delayed its smart speaker plans, and hammered Facebook stock.
But Facebook isn’t the only one that knows more about you than you might realize. Personal data can be mined and monetized. And there are a lot more websites and apps than Facebook collecting your data. Here are 10 of them.
10 Apps, Websites and Companies With More of Your Data Than You Realize: Amazon (AMZN)
Is there any website that knows more about you than Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ:AMZN) does?
From the moment you log onto its website, Amazon is tracking you. It knows products you’ve been searching for based on your browser’s search history, along with all your past purchases and uses that info to serve up product ads and recommendations.
In addition, think about what information is in your user account — personal and financial. Movies and TV shows you watch on Amazon Prime Video, including when, where and for how long.
The same for your streaming music taste if you subscribe to Amazon Music Unlimited. And there’s a decent chance you have an Amazon Echo smart speaker in your home, with Alexa taking your voice commands. Amazon definitely has your number.
10 Apps, Websites and Companies With More of Your Data Than You Realize: Uber
Ride-sharing app Uber is the face of the gig economy. But it has an awful lot of information about you, and a reputation for being sneaky about what data it collects.
As a passenger, it knows your personal info including your home address and all your destinations. At one point it collected info about your smartphone including the model and battery level. Last year, Uber was busted tracking passengers’ locations for five minutes after they’d left the Uber vehicle (the company promised to stop doing that). Privacy was clearly not a priority.
If you’re an Uber driver, add in GPS location tracking, personal data including your social security number, your income through Uber, and even driving habits — like speeding or hitting the brakes too hard.
10 Apps, Websites and Companies With More of Your Data Than You Realize: Fitbit (FIT)
When you buy a health and activity tracker from Fitbit Inc (NYSE:FIT), you have to assume the Fitbit app that collects the data from the tracker is going to have a lot of personal info.
And it does. That app can collect everything from the number of steps you take on a daily basis, to your heart rate levels at different points through the day.
Depending on which device you own and which other apps are synchronizing data with it, the Fitbit app may also know details including your GPS location, your friends, your sleep schedule and even exactly what you’ve been eating and when.
And for an extra layer of true crime creepiness, the data Fitbit collects has already been used as evidence in a murder investigation!
10 Apps, Websites and Companies With More of Your Data Than You Realize: Delta’s (DAL) SkyPro
It’s not a consumer-facing app, but SkyPro devices — used by Delta Airlines, Inc. (NYSE:DAL) staff — know a lot more about that airline’s flyers than they may realize.
Delta mines the data it has on its passengers, making it available to flight attendants for personalized service using SkyPro. That includes the app on the SkyPro mobile device instructing attendants to apologize to specific passengers for a recent flight delay, or to recognize flying milestones they may have achieved. It doesn’t stop there. The passenger’s reaction to the interaction is then recorded as well.
If that guy sitting beside you on a Delta flight gets a free drink, SkyPro may have pinged an attendant and told them to offer it based on the data it has about his travel with the airline.
10 Apps, Websites and Companies With More of Your Data Than You Realize: Google (GOOGL)
Alphabet Inc’s (NASDAQ:GOOGL) Google collects a mind-boggling amount of personal data from its many services and apps.
On the average smartphone, Android (owned by Google) is the operating system, and Google Search is the default option. And it’s likely to have apps like Google Maps, YouTube, Gmail and the Chrome web browser installed as well. Google Home smart speakers are the second most popular after Amazon’s Echo, and its Nest brand is heavily involved in smart home technology.
That means a massive amount of data is potentially collected: web browsing history, your location, recordings for your voice and voice commands, what other apps you use, your contacts and your photos, when you come and go from home and your preferred temperature.
If you use any Google services or products –and it’s hard to avoid them all- Google knows a lot about you.
10 Apps, Websites and Companies With More of Your Data Than You Realize: Spotify (SPOT)
The company apologized and noted users would have to give permission for this to happen.
10 Apps, Websites and Companies With More of Your Data Than You Realize: Twitter (TWTR)
Twitter Inc (NYSE:TWTR) knows a lot more about you than the personal information you entered to create your account — although, of course, it knows that.
The Twitter app also tracks the devices you were using while accessing Twitter, the location and time of your tweets, applications you’ve downloaded on your smartphone and your contacts. It creates a profile of your interests it can sell to advertisers.
The company also saves every tweet you ever sent!
10 Apps, Websites and Companies With More of Your Data Than You Realize: Tinder
If you are going to use a dating app, it’s pretty much a given that the app is going to be collecting personal data.
The sheer amount of data may surprise you.
A writer for The Guardian requested access to her personal data collected by the app in the nearly four years she’d been using it. She received 800 pages of data, covering everything from chats on the app to Facebook “Likes” and her education and employment info.
10 Apps, Websites and Companies With More of Your Data Than You Realize: Snapchat (SNAP)
Snap Inc’s (NYSE:SNAP) Snapchat was created with idea of making personal messaging and sharing of photos more secure and private.
Privacy doesn’t mean Snapchat doesn’t have access to that personal information, including the device you’re using, your location, contacts, photos and your device microphone.
Snapchat users got a wakeup call about that location data in particular when a 2017 update introduced Snap Map –broadcasting their exact location to friends if they hadn’t specifically opted out of the feature.
10 Apps, Websites and Companies With More of Your Data Than You Realize: Apple (AAPL)
Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL) is another of the tech industry titans that has its fingers seemingly everywhere.
Apple makes hardware and the operating system that powers the hardware: the iPhone, iPad, Mac, Apple TV, Apple Watch, HomePod and accessories including earbuds.
It operates a mobile payment service — Apple Pay– has the second biggest streaming music service in Apple Music, and streams video via iTunes. The company also has its own web browser (Safari) and Siri was one of the first personal digital assistants.
Even a few of these combinations would give Apple access to an enormous amount of your data. But since Apple fans tend to stick with the Apple ecosystem, chances are the company knows virtually everything about them.
On the plus side, Apple takes privacy seriously (just ask the FBI) and takes that to extremes like storing fingerprint scans locally on devices instead of uploading them to its servers.
As of this writing, Brad Moon did not hold a position in any of the aforementioned securities.