Friday, January 27, 2012

Personal Data Websites Collects Online

Google recently released its new Privacy Policy which explains what information it collects and its use in simple terms. It is important for each cybercitizen to fully understand the extent of  personal information that can be collected either because they voluntarily subscribed to a service or from the use of a particular service. This information could be aggregated to provide a 360 degree view of a cybercitizens online activity.

I have summarised relevant parts of Google’s privacy policy which provide a generic view of information either in part or whole, which may be available to websites that we interact with online. This information can be used by the webfirm, its partners, by law enforcement and by courts.

Information can be collected in two ways. Firstly, when we sign up for an online account, we normally provide personal information such as our name, email address, telephone number, photo or credit card number, and secondly when we visit a website and interact with ads and content.
During our online interactions with website, various types of personal information as outlined below can be collected:
    • Device information such as your hardware model, operating system version, unique device identifiers and mobile network information, including phone number.
    • Log information when services are used or content viewed information may be automatically collected and stored. This may include:  
      • details of how you used our service, such as your search queries.
      • telephony log information, such as your phone number, calling-party number, forwarding numbers, time and date of calls, duration of calls, SMS routing information and types of calls.
      • Internet protocol address
      • device event information, such as crashes, system activity, hardware settings, browser type, browser language, the date and time of your request and referral URL.
      • cookies that may uniquely identify your browser or your Account.
    • Location information Services which  may collect and process information about your actual location, such as GPS signals sent by a mobile device
    • Local storage  where personal information may be stored locally on user devices
    • Cookies and anonymous identifiers are used  to collect and store information when services are used or for services that websites offer partners such as advertising

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