They follow us: how gadgets, websites and applications record our every step

Mass chipping and total surveillance of everyone is perhaps the most popular motive for conspiracy theories in 2021. Authors of “yellow” news tell gullible readers how we are all being driven under a hood. At the same time, they forget to clarify that electronic devices and social networks that we use every day have been following us for a long time. Did you know about this? Details are in this article.

Since the early 2000s, modern electronic devices have been equipped with everything necessary to track the user – cameras, microphones, mobile communication transmitters, GPS receivers, and wireless modules. Talking about global conspiracies, people forget that their every step has long been tracked by gadgets, computers, and smart technology. So what is it really and to whom do the devices transmit about their owner?

Smartphones and tablets

Gadgets, without which we simply cannot imagine our life. Smartphones, as well as their “big brothers” tablets, are equipped with the Android or iOS operating system. Naturally, mega-corporations just need to know what users like or dislike. The applications used, data on the operation of the device, information from cameras and microphones, location and even your personal photo gallery are fully accessible from Google and Apple. You can turn off the storage of personal data in your account. However, device usage data will still be transmitted to companies’ servers.

Computers and Laptops

Microsoft began to actively collect data about users with the advent of Windows 10. At first, enterprising users of the new OS found unofficial ways to block data transfer. But with each new update, Microsoft has been fixing old loopholes. As a result, it is now impossible to completely block Windows telemetry. You can only reduce its amount.

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Windows 10, if the device has the appropriate sensors, transmits the same data as Android and iOS. However, even from a home PC that does not have a camera, microphone, or GPS receiver, the system sends data about device, application and file usage. The newest Windows 11 in this respect does not differ from the old “ten”. The only way to avoid being monitored on your PC is to use old Windows 7 or upgrade to Linux.

It is worth noting: MacOS on laptops and computers transfers data similarly to mobile iOS. Therefore, there is no escape from telemetry here either.

Smart devices

TVs, speaker stations, smart watches, washing machines, smart bulbs, robotic vacuum cleaners … The list of smart devices that require an Internet connection to work is huge. They use this connection to transfer data about the use of the device. The TV will broadcast what movies you searched and watched, the column – what music you listened to (as well as everything that you talked about next to it). A smart washing machine will tell the manufacturer which wash programs you have used, and so on. This information is needed, first of all, to improve such devices in the future. Everything you talk about and what you surround the device with, if it has cameras and microphones, goes to the developers’ servers. It is impossible to get rid of “surveillance” without disconnecting the device from the Internet.

Browsers and sites

Many programs also collect user data. The leaders in this area are, of course, web browsers. Google Chrome, Firefox, Opera, Safari … So, stop, Google and Apple again? Yes it is. These mega-corporations collect the most data from all kinds of devices – operating systems, browsers, and even search engines (in the case of Google). However, all other search engines collect data about your interaction with them. Anonymously, if there is no authorization, and if there is one, it is generally linked to your account.

As soon as you search the Internet for Samsung smartphones a couple of times, ads for these gadgets will soon be waiting for you at every step. This is the point of collecting data: to advertise to you what you are interested in. The same thing happens on individual sites, for example, those related to the search for films. Looking for some kind of comedy? Now in the selection you will be heavily offered just comedies. Targeted advertising, nothing personal.

Social networks

Social networks and instant messengers also “leak” your information to their developers. Your messages, records, search history and page visits within the network, likes and dislikes are transmitted to the creators of social networks. Here, not only information is transmitted with reference to the device, but also with reference to the person – to you. The networks will remember what kind of music and video you are interested in, and even all your preferences regarding posts and information will be “kept in mind.”

And, of course, let’s not forget about the keen eyes of Comrade Major. A significant part of network activity is monitored in one way or another by law enforcement agencies. There are two ways to get rid of this “tail”. Either you are building a triple wall of anonymizers and VPN, or you are leaving social networks.

Outcomes
As you can see, most of the information about you has long been available to manufacturers of devices and programs. Everything you like, everything you are interested in, your location and topics of conversation … There is a huge amount of data in the hands of global corporations. At the same time, no one will tell you in detail how and where this information is used. However, you should not fall into paranoia – something more than intrusive advertising, “surveillance” is unlikely to threaten.

If you still want to rid yourself of tracking completely, then there is only one way out – to stop using all electronic gadgets and go to live in a remote village. Although, most likely, the Internet and cellular communications will be there too