AMERICANS have been warned that Google may be unintentionally “monitoring” on their YouTube history and tracking their movements using location settings.
The tech giant reportedly builds up a profile of viewers’ interests based on the videos Americans watch using a special algorithm.
YouTube is an extremely useful tool for education purposes but some videos such as political content may accidentally reveal how Americans vote at elections.
Users’ watch history can be viewed on the My Activity page on their Google account.
Sometimes Americans may not have selected the option that instructs Google to pause their watch history.
This stops the tech giant from keeping a log of the videos that you choose to watch, Wired reports.
Alternatively, users can select the option where their search history is deleted automatically every three months, 18 or 36 months.
There are options to delete your YouTube history on the video platform itself.
All Americans have to do is tap the three dots on the right-hand side of a video to remove a video from their watch history.
You can also manually remove past searches on the YouTube website.
On Google’s advertising settings page, users can select the option that turns off “Ad personalization”.
This will stop adverts appearing that are based on your interests and past searches.
YouTube may recommend potential video suggestions based on where Americans are in the country or the world.
To stop this from happening, users must switch off their location services on their mobile devices.
If you are using a laptop or computer at home, the tech giant may send suggestions through your IP address. Pausing location tracking is a good way to prevent this.
The Sun has approached Google for comment.
‘NOT SO PRIVATE’
For those wanting an extra layer of security, Americans can watch YouTube using an incognito web browser.
But, the browser may expose more information than users think.
Websites won’t appear in your search history but anyone on your Wi-Fi network might be able to view what you’ve been browsing using a special form of spy software.
And, your employer at work may be able to see what sites you have been accessing.
The websites will be able to track that you’re online and keep information if you log in for any reason.
Google users have received a series of potential security concerns in recent weeks.
Expert Zak Doffman said iPhone users should consider getting rid of Google Photos from their devices.
In a Forbes article, he explained that using the app gives the platform full access to your photos, citing privacy concerns.
He said the app doesn’t accept Apple’s new privacy function that limits the photo any apps can access.
And, Chrome has reportedly fallen behind rival web browsers in protecting users from tracking and data harvesting.
Web tracking has resulted in an erosion of trust of major tech companies, where 72 percent of people feel that almost all of what they do online is tracked by advertisers or companies, according to Pew Research Center data.
Experts told Forbes that Apple is a much safer option when it comes to privacy.
A Google spokesperson told The Sun at the time that the tech giant is committed to addressing privacy concerns and privacy and security have “always been the core benefits of the Chrome browser”.
We pay for your stories!
Do you have a story for The US Sun team?