So much about you is collected, compiled, and sold to the highest bidder. Shady people finder and data broker sites make it their business to know as much about you as possible. Tap or click here for three sites you should check for your info and steps to remove it.
This data collection happens in the background, and there’s a lot you give away freely. For instance, everything you type into Google, YouTube, Gmail, Google Drive and all the rest. Tap or click to see everything Google knows about you with one quick search.
I know it’s super convenient, but I bet you made a big mistake with your data.
The data sharing two-way street
Let’s say a website makes you sign in to read an article. You’re presented with the option to create an account so you have access to the article. That takes time, but alas, you see it!
You can just sign in using your Facebook or Google account. No new account is needed – what a happy day.
You may not realize that the very moment when you signed in using your Facebook or Google account, you divulged more data tracking points. Everything you probably do at the site is sent back to Facebook or Google. That website may get data back from Facebook or Google too.
That’s why if you read an article about fine Italian wines, you immediately start seeing wine ads afterward.
Stop Facebook tracking you off Facebook
Facebook is notorious for collecting a ton of data. Its Privacy Center is transparent – if you know how to navigate it. Tap or click here to see everything Facebook collects on you.
To see the third-party apps and services you connected to Facebook over the years, follow these steps. It shouldn’t take longer than 30 seconds to find the complete list and kick out anything you choose.
On your computer:
• Log in, then click the downward arrow in the top right corner.
• Click Settings & Privacy > Select Settings.
• Click Apps and Websites in the left side menu. If you don’t see it, choose Security and Login, then Apps and Websites.
On an iPhone:
• Open the Facebook app and tap the three-line menu in the lower right corner.
• Select Settings & Privacy > Settings.
• Scroll down to the Permissions section, then tap Apps and Websites.
On an Android device:
• Open the Facebook app, then tap the three-line menu.
• Select Settings & Privacy > Settings.
• Scroll down to Security, then tap Apps and Websites.
• Select Logged in with Facebook.
Once you see the apps and websites connected to Facebook, you can start cutting them off one by one. Remove anything you don’t want to have your data and track you.
LISTEN UP: If you have a half-hour and a pair of headphones, check out this episode of my podcast, Kim Komando Today. I break down the way companies and government agencies buy your data. No, federal agencies can’t seize your personal data without a warrant or your permission, but they can buy it from data brokers.
Getting out of Google’s grasp
Next, let’s head to Google and track down the connected services. You may find that a site you haven’t used in years is still getting updates on you.
• To start, visit the Linked accounts page while signed in to your Google Account. Here you will see any accounts you signed up for using your Google account.
• If you want to remove access, tap or click Unlink.
Are some of the apps refusing to unlink? That’s not a fluke. Some third-party apps won’t let you disconnect from Google. You have to open the app itself and look through its settings. Look for a section that says Linked accounts, Connected accounts, or something similar.
The app you’re using should then allow you to disconnect. Just follow the on-screen instructions.
Next, check which apps and services have access to at least some part of your Google account. This may include your calendar, email inbox, accounts, or basic account information.
To check and remove access:
• Go to myaccount.google.com/security.
• Under Third-party apps with account access, select Manage third-party access.
• Click an app or service to see what it can access. Click Remove Access if you so choose.
Securing your online self can feel like a never-ending task. Check out these handy guides for more ways to protect your private data:
• 8 hidden maps and trackers you need to switch off
• Think Big Tech knows a lot? Your ISP is just as bad
• New trick to know when your phone’s camera or mic is being used
• Your email is being tracked – Learn the secret advertisers don’t want you to know
• Smartphone privacy: 3 types of apps collecting more data than you realize
Bonus Tip: Stop Facebook tracking, secret camera trick and why you see ads when you stream
In this podcast, I help three callers who are in tough spots. One wants to protect her son from malicious gamers. Another wants expensive cameras for cheap prices. I’m sharing a few tech tricks you can use to save money and protect your privacy. I’ve also got the scoop on a secret Facebook setting that stops tracking.
Check out my podcast “Kim Komando Today” on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast player.
Listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just search for my last name, “Komando.”
Learn about all the latest technology on the Kim Komando Show, the nation’s largest weekend radio talk show. Kim takes calls and dispenses advice on today’s digital lifestyle, from smartphones and tablets to online privacy and data hacks. For her daily tips, free newsletters and more, visit her website at Komando.com.
The views and opinions expressed in this column are the author’s and do not necessarily reflect those of USA TODAY.