The fall in technology stock prices this year notwithstanding, tech companies such as the so called FAANGS have changed our lives for the better in many ways bringing convenience in terms of access to goods and services and the resulting productivity gains. However, a lot of their ability to deliver more relevant content and services to us depends on personal information that we voluntarily or otherwise share with them. Whilst many of us have become more aware of data privacy issues, there are still ways these companies tap into our personal data without us being fully aware of it. This piece in the NYT helps us with some changes to the settings we can make on our accounts or devices from Apple, Google, Amazon, Meta (Facebook) and Microsoft.
“Apple, Google, Amazon, Meta and Microsoft generally want us to leave some default settings on, purportedly to train their algorithms and catch bugs, which then make their products easier for us to use. But unnecessary data sharing isn’t always in our best interest.
Consider how several whistle-blowers confessed in 2018 that they had listened in on Apple’s Siri recordings and Amazon’s Alexa activations that inadvertently recorded couples having sex. The recent reversal of Roe v. Wade also underscored the many ways that women can be tracked through their personal tech when seeking options to terminate pregnancies.
So with every tech product we use, it’s important to take time to peruse the many menus, buttons and switches to pare down the data we share.”

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