Is Google Using Your Personal Health Info for Targeted Ads?

Your Health Privacy

Every day, our society is inventing new and incredible things with technology. From new programs to smart appliances, we have found a way to implement at least a little bit of technology into almost every aspect of our lives. In most cases, these advancements have been extremely beneficial to our development as human beings. In other situations, however, technology and developers have crossed a few lines. One company, in particular, who has crossed a few lines on several occasions is Google. Keep reading to find out how.

Has Google Crossed a Line of Privacy?

When’s the last time you paid attention to those pesky little ads on the various websites you’ve visited? These would be the advertisements that Google supplies to those who would like to monetize their sites. Have you ever noticed the content these ads often contain? Google Ads often contain content eerily similar to things you have recently searched. Why is this? To put it simply: Google is watching.

Google has gotten called out for this on several occasions. Canada even called the company out for breaking privacy laws and started a public investigation into the case. Although Google’s privacy policy states that the business will not use private information such as health, religion, age, or sexual orientation to target ad content, one Canadian man found ads for sleep apnea being targeting at him on unrelated websites after he had recently made a Google search on the subject prior.

How is Google Monitoring Us?

There are no questions regarding whether or not Google is using your information to provide you with targeted ads. One question does remain, however. How are they doing this? What information do they have access to? How is Google monitoring us? The number of platforms the company has access to for this purpose may surprise you.

Google has been monitoring your online activity through sources including its search engine, your email, Google+, Google Chrome, Firefox, Safari, Android, Youtube, Google Analytics, Google AdSense, Goole AdWords, Widgets, Google Street View, Google Maps, and Google Glass. Some of these platforms may seem like common sense. After all, Google does own most of them. On the other hand, platforms such as Firefox and Safari seem to have nothing to do with Google. How is the company monitoring those? These browsers use Google’s blacklist to check the safety and security of the website you visit, and that’s how Google gains access.

It may bring you comfort to know that you may be able to opt out of this monitoring. However, considering the amount of monitoring Google already does, it wouldn’t be surprising if those opt-out settings didn’t do a thing. In the end, don’t be surprised if you keep seeing ads that feel personally targeted at you and something you recently searched.

What Information is Google Using?

There’s no doubt that Google is using many forms of information to target ads. However, what information are they using? As mentioned previously, Google’s privacy policy indicates that they will not use personal information such as your age, health, religion, or sexual information to target ads. However, as the man in Canada found out, this isn’t necessarily the case.

Is Google using your personal health as a source for targeted ads? The answer is probably yes, but the answer should be no. Based on their privacy policy, the company should not be using your personal health information for ads. However, experience tells us that they probably are anyway. When it comes down to it, Google probably is using your personal health information for targeted ads.

In the end, Google will use any information they can to provide advertisements they feel you might most likely to want to see. This means that anything you type into a source that they have access to is fair game. If it makes Google money, you know they’ll be using it. The only way to prevent this from happening is to opt out in your personal settings and hope for the best.

What Does That Mean?

Google is a company whose purpose is to make money. They may provide technology and resources that make our lives easier, but their primary intent is not to help us. Business is business, and Google knows this. If they find a way to make money that doesn’t necessarily break the law (obviously, this wasn’t the case in Canada), they’re guaranteed to take advantage of it. This means that they’ll be using whatever information they can to provide you with advertistements you’re likely to click.

The advertising tactic isn’t necessarily that bad, in reality. It makes sense. Of course, it may feel a little creepy when you email your friend about going on vacation, and suddenly you start seeing advertisements for hotels in that area. Think of it as Google’s way of saying, “Hey, we’re watching!”

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