How tech companies collect data on you, and what they do with it

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Big Brother is watching you. Or rather technology giants like Google, Apple, Amazon, Facebook and Yahoo are. The firms track their users relentlessly, and use that information to provide a tailored online experience (and maybe share it with government agencies).

Baynote, which provides personalized customer experience solutions for multi-channel retailers, has put together an interesting visual insight into what data the tech titans gather about you, how it’s collected, and what purposes it’s put to.

The type of data harvested by the firms we all use on a daily basis includes ad clicks, browser and device specific information, email addresses, face scans, IP addresses, OS details, phone numbers and search queries.

The data is sourced through cookies, profiles, third parties, search queries, and Double Click and AdSense, and used to provide location services, deliver notifications, personalize content, share info with third parties, and serve up targeted advertising.

The infographic below shows which of the data gathering, tracking and usage methods the top tech companies use, and also provides details on each firm’s market cap, estimated number of users, and privacy policy word count.

Fascinating stuff, although it’s disappointing Microsoft wasn’t included in the list.



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