The bold ability of Google to collect data makes it almost impossible to escape the tech giant during normal online activities, according to a survey published Tuesday.
The 55 page's study, led by Douglas C. Schmidt, professor at the faculty of Vanderbilt University, said that a non-active smartphone with the Android operating system from Google with the open Chrome browser data communication as many as 14 send to Google's servers once per hour. And while the use of Google's devices or services restricts data collection, the dominance of Google's advertising network makes it very difficult to prevent Google from collecting certain data, the study also emphasizes.
It provides a broad overview of the various aspects of Google's data collection techniques, both through its services such as Maps, Hangouts chat and YouTube and through its DoubleClick Ad Network. The study was paid for by Digital Content Next, a lobby group representing the digital publishing industry – The Washington Post is a member – and a frequent critic of Google. The group has previously criticized Google for the lack of moderation on YouTube and the dominance of the company, with Facebook, of the online advertising industry.
"These products can collect user data through a variety of techniques that can not be easily understood by a general user," Schmidt wrote in the paper's conclusion. "A large part of Google's data collection takes place while a user is not directly involved in any of its products."
Google questioned the credibility of the study in a statement.
"This report was commissioned by a professional DC lobbyist group and written by a witness for Oracle in their ongoing litigation with Google about copyright, so it's no surprise that it contains incredibly misleading information," the company said.
The report is because Google is more frequently informed about how it collects location data after an investigation by Associated Press showing that disabling the & # 39; Location History & # 39; did not stop all data collection of locations. Two men in California filed lawsuits after the report, reported Ars Technica, referring to the fact that Google had misled them about the extent of their tracking.
Schmidt discovered that two thirds of the data that Google collected from a smartphone during a 24-hour "day in the life" period was through passive means, meaning it was not offered by a person. He also said that he has found evidence that Google can link anonymous data to information from Google's Google accounts while they are logged out of their Google accounts or use a private browsing mode – & # 39; incognito mode & # 39; named – in Google's Chrome browser. The study also states that Google may link anonymized data collected by advertising cookies to people's Google accounts. Google gets the bulk of its money from advertising, which represented 86 percent of its revenue in the second quarter earnings report.
When asked for specific points that were misleading, Google sent the Post to its descriptions of how incognito mode and the Chrome browser record and track information, and say that the anonymous activity does not link to Google's accounts when they sign in . In the case of private browsing, information is deleted when someone disables the mode.
Google also said that it does not link anonymous data collected from advertising cookies with user accounts.