Large Internet based corporations are trading off our private data as if they were Pokémon cards.
Just a few days ago, a secret deal between Google and MasterCard was unveiled whereby Google were paying MasterCard to obtain retail data on their client’s transactions in the US. Google were then using this data to inform advertisers about whether users were buying their products in physical stores or online.
Google was quick to defend itself, and as expected, claimed “we do not have access to any personal information from our partners’ customers”. The company also commented that people could opt out of any Google led ad tracking from their Google account settings.
It’s not the first time that Google has played their “you can opt-out of this feature whenever you like… and we will not be held responsible for informing you that such a feature exists” card, nor will it be the last. As it happens in fact, just a few weeks ago, Google was forced to admit that Google Maps tracks our location, even if we explicitly ask it not to.
At the beginning of the year, the website “The Best of VPN” discovered that 26 of the most popular VPN services have been collecting data on their paying users, something which seems completely illogical if you think that VPN services were born out of the need to guarantee privacy and anonymity… not for collecting names, telephone numbers, email addresses, IP addresses…and selling this information off in data packages.
As users, our increasing paranoia surrounding this subject is more than justified. Fears about how the apps on our smartphone are listening to us have in fact become reality. In January, a report from the New York Times revealed how more than 250 popular mobile gaming apps used your phone’s microphone to listen to the adverts and programmes that users were watching on the TV. In June, a similar story from Vice was released informing about how other more generic apps are also listening to us without our permission.
Ultimately, the Internet has turned its users’ privacy into a commodity that can be exchanged for money. However, the biggest problem of all is the lack of transparency, and users are often treated like “fools”, assuming they will never realise what is really going on.
The situation forces users to take on responsibility for something that shouldn’t concern them and requires users to constantly be investigating whether the latest software they downloaded is going to auction off their private life or not. It’s both frustrating and unjust.
Thankfully, some companies do strive for transparency and make a point of expressing how they work to ensure the privacy of their customers. These guarantees not only provide a small oasis of security amidst the arid desert of paranoia, but also save us lots of time when it comes to searching for trustworthy programs.
One of the most recent examples of transparency is Avira and their PC Avira System Speedup tool, designed to clean up and optimise your PC. In August, we saw yet another well known clean-up tool join the long list of companies found guilty of playing around with user’s personal data, proving that we should also be wary of these types of programs. Avira, on the contrary, took the opportunity to clarify their good intentions surrounding this subject:
Travis Witteveen, CEO of Avira recently declared “it is our duty to protect users, not only against malware but also against the loss of online privacy. Users should be able to remain as anonymous as they like and we need to stop app and software companies from constantly stealing and using user’s personal information without their permission.”
Avira System Speedup works to pro-actively defend our security, keeping untrustworthy programs at bay. The clean-up and optimiser tool deletes all personal information that may have been stored by over 2500 apps, in addition to removing all traces of websites you have visited, or videos you may have watched… This way, offending companies are unable to use your data to make decisions on what adverts they show you, and hackers will not be able to gain access to your PC.
Avira System Speedup prioritises the user in every possible respect, not just when it comes to privacy. Upon opening the program, the interface clearly displays the current state of your computer and alerts you to any potential vulnerabilities (your hard-drive is about to explode!), and notifies you of any available solutions, such as cleaning up your hard-drive. The software includes a feature for speeding up gameplay, which is ideal for today’s gamers who can’t tolerate even the slightest of slowdown. You will also receive notifications, for example alerting you if the speed of your PC start-up can be improved. All of these services are available to users at just the click of a button.
If your PC is slow to start-up, if your hard-drive is full, if watching the match online becomes tedious due to slow buffering… we recommend Avira System Speedup. Not only is it efficient, but it’s also 100% secure and pro-user. Thanks to these types of programs, you can now protect yourself against other harmful companies who may try to spy on you and sell your private information.
If you’re still not convinced (and given the recent revelations about online security, it’s not surprising), we suggest your give the Avira System Speedup free trial a go, and see for yourself how your computer will be cleaned-up from unnecessary files and prying eyes. Click this link to request a free three-month trial.