Since the General Data Protection Regulations went into effect in early 2018, internet privacy rights pertaining to the consumer have been codified.
The European Union, which spearheaded the regulations, has paid particular attention to what Google knows about the citizens of its member states.
Money expert Clark Howard says the tech giants are getting so much scrutiny because they control the privacy information of so many people.
“Google has a big bull’s eye target on its back in Europe,” Clark says.
The regulations are also the reason Google, Facebook, Twitter and the like sent mass alerts to users about privacy settings.
Here’s How to Control Your Privacy on Google
To find out what kind of information Google has been collecting on you, here are some simple steps:
1. Log into your Google account.
2. Go to the upper right-hand corner, where it has your profile pic, your name or the first letter of your Google sign-in. Click on Manage your Google Account. A shortcut is myaccount.google.com.
That’s where you can see what Google is collecting on you and it gives you the option to change the privacy setting. You may see a number of options like:
- Privacy and Personalization
- Security Issues Found
- Account Storage
- Privacy Checkup
On this page you’ll be able to manage which apps have your information as well as your Google activity, ad settings, content and more. Let’s explain what each item contains:
Privacy & Personalization: This is where you’ll be able to manage your data, including whether to turn ad personalization on or off.
Security Issues Found: This is where you’ll be able to secure your account. See any data breaches from the devices you use and manage third-party access to your account.
Account Storage: You’ll be able to see how much storage you’re using across your account including in Google Photos, Drive and Gmail.
Take the Privacy Checkup: This step-by-step guide will show you the status of a number of privacy settings such as Web & App activity, Location History, Device Information, Voice & Audio Activity.
You can also change your settings and decide what data gets associated with your account. Here’s a screenshot of how that looks:
Going under the hood and adjusting your privacy settings doesn’t have to be easy and Google has made strides to simplify the process.
Clark praises Google for the way they’ve written their instructions.
“What’s so unusual is it’s so clear,” Clark says. “Everything is written at a level where a middle-schooler can read the policy and understand it.”
The most important thing it does, Clark says, is allow consumers to decide for themselves how much control they want over what these companies share about them.
“You will, depending on the website, have the ability to restrict those practices and if a site tells you ‘We’re doing this that and the other,’ and you don’t want them doing it, you’re then left with the choice: Do I still want to do business with these people, do I still want to use their stuff or do I want to dump them?” Clark says.