Google automatically scans all emails to and from Gmail to target adverts.
And the company, whose services include Docs, YouTube, Blogger, Plus and more, now combines all its services into a single profile of you.
Many Facebook apps have been shown to read and share your details with their authors.
Smartphone apps for Facebook, Twitter and others have been found reading text messages and address books.
iPhones were shown last year to be frequently reporting the user's geographical location.
NOT SO ANONYMOUS
In 2001, a researcher presented the governor of Massachusetts with his personal medical records 'reidentified' from anonymously released data.
AOL released an anonymous search dataset in 2006. New York Times journalists identified one individual through name and location clues, revealing her entire search history.
In 2008, NetFlix released its user rating history. Researchers were able to link individuals to their ratings, revealing their history of movie watching for the past three years."
We should be aware of the risks while enjoying the unprecedented convenience in inter-connectivity between social network sites. I happened to use Skype and was asked if I wish to connect to Facebook, with all the advantages like speaking to your FB friends while both of you or more are online in FB. The long list of rights which I have to agree to allow Skype or FB to have, really frightened me and I had to leave it for now. We should read more in order to understand how it would affect us, and the exchange of letters between Joss and Tom in The Guardian helps, but not really provide us with clear solutions, like everything else these days.
(Joss Wright is Fresnel research fellow at Oxford University, studying cryptography, privacy-enhancing technologies and anonymous communications.)
"...What concerns me most is that this tool brings with it risks that we simply haven't grasped. Social networks encourage us to share every aspect of our lives with our friends, but, by providing that service, those networks see everything that we share, and use that information to categorise, profile and predict us. These services aren't "free" – we pay for them with our personal data, and the profits are huge..."
(Tom Chatfield is a writer and commentator on digital culture. His latest book, How to Thrive in a Digital Age (Macmillan), is due out in May.)
"...I think you've hit the nail on the head when you write that, by sharing data, we are shaping the future of our society in ways that cannot be predicted. How, then, can we mitigate against the worst consequences of trends we can scarcely envisage?
If recent economic history suggests anything, it's that humans are poor at risk assessment. Can we hope to comprehend these risks until at least some of us have experienced them in their worst form? Quite possibly not – not least because of the intuition- defying divide between the daily delights of social networking and its potential repercussions in the form of snooping, stalking, identity theft, state surveillance and much else besides...."
Read their letters in full in the following link, for a better understanding...
Source: The Guardian: As Google acts, the question is: have we lost our privacy to the internet?