How Google, Yahoo, Apple, Facebook, and Amazon track You!

Americans are starting to perk up about privacy after the reveal of a government surveillance program called PRISM. But it’s important to know how tech companies generally track your data and what you’re agreeing to in those terms of service agreements.

Google, Facebook, and Yahoo all rely pretty heavily on advertising revenue for their business models. Amazon and Apple both sell products, but they collect plenty of that advertising data as well. On top of advertising clicks and your search queries, these companies also track things like your location, your IP address, the Internet service provider and browser type you use, your e-mail address and phone number, and even your face in some cases. And they do this through connecting your profile to different services, watching what advertisements you click on through cookies, and other means.

It’s often difficult for a user to determine just how their information is being used, however. This post itself will likely be somewhere around 200 words, and I doubt you’ll get all the way to the end of it. Facebook’s privacy policy, however is 3,112 words long, and Google’s is 2,250. And sometimes there are different privacy policies for different products within each company. Are you going to read all of that?

This infographic shows an overview of how some of these companies are using your data and the privacy policies you’ll encounter. Check it out:

[Source: Baynote]

Can Your Mobile Apps Be Trusted?

Mobile apps sure are handy little doodads, telling you what’s going on, where to go and who’s nearby. But can they be trusted with your privacy?

Facebook and Google aren’t the only connected services that should have your privacy antennae up. The mobile devices that travel with you nearly everywhere also gather plenty of dirt — and you might be surprised who else has access to that dirt.

What do you need to be aware of? According to the application security firm Veracode, there are four levels of risk to watch out for. Some apps with malicious code can access your data and device sensors. Other times, your information can be intercepted if you use mobile Wi-Fi. Jailbroken iPhone and Android apps can penetrate your operating system. And bad guys can use faulty firmware to gain administrative access to your device itself.

But people are beginning to become more aware of how and why to protect their privacy when it comes to mobile apps. In March, a class action lawsuit was filed against 18 companies including Facebook, Apple and Twitter for privacy negligence.

Why is mobile app privacy more important than ever? Simply put, apps are everywhere. In 2011, approximately 25 billion Android and iOS apps were downloaded and the mobile app market saw its millionth entry.

Veracode put together the infographic below to give a comprehensive rundown on mobile app security. Check it out, then share with us in the comments — How much attention do you give your mobile apps’ privacy settings?

Can Your Mobile Apps Be Trusted? [INFOGRAPHIC]

[Source: Can Your Mobile Apps Be Trusted? [INFOGRAPHIC]]