Here's why you should stop using Google photos on your iPhone, iPad or Mac
This stark new data harvesting revelation should come as a shock for millions of users...
Analyzing all those photos, all that metadata, is of course just more raw information to feed the all-important, all-encompassing algorithms. That analysis fuels the targeted ads, drives influenced clicks, builds up the profile, and enables Google and others to analyze you among millions of others, categorizing you with AI, to infer what it can assume about your likely behaviors and the likely behaviors of others.
Applewarnsthat “some services process photos in the cloud, which gives them access to your photos. But we designed Photos to process your images directly on your Mac, iPhone and iPad. In fact, the Apple Neural Engine with the A13 and A14 Bionic chips performs over 100 billion operations per photo to recognize faces and places without ever leaving your device. And when apps request access to your photos, you can share just the images you want—not your entire library.”
That last point in another swipe at Google, leading to the second critical consideration for any iPhone user with Google Photos on their phone. When Apple released iOS 14 last year,it gave users the option to share only selected photos and videos with apps headtopics.com
, rather than their entire collection. Why should an app have access to years of memories, when all you want to do is edit a few photos or videos?Well, Google doesn’t buy into this limitation when it comes to iPhone users. When you install Google Photos you will receive a message telling you that “Google Photos needs access to all your photos.” It says this is to view, share or use its optional backups. But from a privacy perspective the message is much clearer. All or nothing, and you’re shifting all that data out of Apple’s privacy-first enclave to someplace else.
New installation messageGoogle Photos / iOSAlways have that data collection and analysis philosophy in mind—which brings me to the third consideration. When you use Google photos, then many of your images will contain hidden data, embedded into the files, that discloses the time and exact location the photo was taken, the device you were using, even the camera settings. Google admits it pulls this so-called EXIF data into its analytics machine.
“We do use EXIF location data to improve users’ experience in the app,” I was told by a company spokesperson, “for example we might use EXIF information to surface a trip in our Memories feature or suggest a photo book from a recent trip.”That last point is advertising, in case that’s not obvious. Facebook has admitted the same to me in the past. Even if you tell your phone not to share your location with Facebook, even if you go into your Facebook’s settings and disable location sharing, then the company will still “collect and process” your EXIF location data.
It’s remarkably simple if you “follow the money” to work out the transactional relationships you’re entering into, in return for all the “free” services you use. If you’re not paying for the product, then you clearly are the product. it really is that simple. And so, when Facebook seems to suggest it may charge users for its apps where they block tracking on their Apple devices, you are being put in your place. headtopics.com
And so, while Google Photos has more features than Apple’s alternatives, make sure you understand the trade-offs. Above all, though, bear in mind that if we don’t opt for apps and platforms that genuinely put privacy first, then we send a message to big tech that we won’t really change our ways, that they can harvest at will.
This year is proving to be a pivotal one for privacy—I’m not sure your data is any safer or your privacy is any better protected in general, at least not yet, but at least you now have the information you need to make informed choices. Now it’s over to you.
Zak is a widely recognized expert on surveillance and cyber, as well as the security and privacy risks associated with big tech, social media, IoT and smartphone… Read MoreZak is a widely recognized expert on surveillance and cyber, as well as the security and privacy risks associated with big tech, social media, IoT and smartphone platforms. He is frequently cited in the international media and is a regular commentator on broadcast news, with appearances on BBC, Sky, NPR, NBC, Channel 4, TF1, ITV and Fox, as well as various cybersecurity and surveillance documentaries.
Zak has twenty years experience in real-world cybersecurity and surveillance, most recently as the Founder/CEO of Digital Barriers, which develops advanced surveillance technologies for frontline security and defence agencies as well as commercial organizations in the US, Europe and Asia. The company is at the forefront of AI-based surveillance and works closely with flagship government agencies around the world on the appropriate and proportionate use of such technologies. headtopics.com
Zak can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Read more: Forbes »
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UKZak Thank you for this article. Do the privacy issues you discuss apply to paid Workspace accounts? Is there any difference? Next step: switch to Internxt Thanks for info. Concise article.
Why You Should Stop Using Google Photos On Your iPhone, iPad Or MacThis stark new data harvesting revelation should come as a shock for millions of users... 1/8 Solar & Wind are 0 emissions? Each 1 MW of solar farm power requires between 35 to 45 tons of steel, + you need to dig for cadmium, gallium, germanium, etc Make silicon Silicon metal is made from the reaction of silica (SiO2) -
Why You Should Stop Using Google Photos On Your iPhone, iPad Or MacThis stark new data harvesting revelation should come as a shock for millions of users... Stop with the bullshit scare articles. Google offers a free phot storage service, and it's fantastic. As it's free, it may use parts of your data for marketing or training of it's tools. You can easily turn off or control what Google can use in your privacy settings.
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