Tuesday, January 25, 2022

Pussycat, pussycat, where have you been?

 Internet is working today so I best get a blog post done.

A week or so ago, I got an email from Google Maps Timeline as follows:

Allen, here's your 2021 Timeline update. You're receiving this email because you turned on Location History, a Google Account-level setting that saves where you go in your private Timeline. Location History data also helps give you personalized information on Google, including better restaurant recommendations, and suggestions for a faster commute. You can view, edit, and delete this data anytime in Timeline.

First time I ever got this information. I did turn on Location History, out of curiosity when I got my new phone in mid December. I had my new SIM card, phone number, and ISP in early August 2019 but do not recall having checked Location History on my old phone. They had it anyway and going back quite a few years to another SIM card, phone number, and ISP. I went back to 2017 and no further. Strangely enough it had nothing from Canada except my Grey St address.

It told me how many countries I had been to in 2021 (2), how many cities in those countries (5), how many places I went (43) shopping (12) and restaurants (4) with names and locations. It mapped the places I had been in Zhovti Vody. Most were actual places I could name but some were just locations. It told me how many km I had traveled in total, by public transport, by car and on foot. 

It told me how many countries I had been to that they had data for, how many cities and how many total places. Then it gave me the option to view, edit or delete Location History. As if that would get rid of it.

Tanya thought it was hilarious. Now I'll know when you go to visit your girlfriend. Did it tell you how often you went to the toilet?

Places I was tracked in Zhovti Vody in 2021

Where we stayed in Malaga in May, 2017

An example of the information on the places I visited
Clicking on one brought up a detailed map

Yesterday this article was in WaPo. 

Google deceived consumers about how it profits from their location data, attorneys general allege in lawsuits.

It describes in detail all the little tricks Google uses to get and keep for resale your locations. Google counters that users can opt out but they neglect to mention that you have to find ALL the opt out places or it doesn't count. Read it just for fun.

“Google’s misleading, ambiguous, and incomplete descriptions of these settings all but guarantee that consumers will not understand when their location is collected and retained by Google or for what purposes,” the D.C. lawsuit states. “And, in reality, regardless of the settings they select, consumers who use Google products have no option but to allow the Company to collect, store, and use their location.”

The D.C. lawsuit details how Google users must navigate a number of “conflicting” settings to control how Google collects and uses their location details. Even when a user changes the settings in their account or device to stop their location data from being saved or transmitted, the suits allege Google can still collect and store it through other Google services, WiFi and Bluetooth scans, or location data shared with Google by its marketing partners. 

 And finally this from The Hartmann Report: My Dishwasher Wants to Spy on Me!

“It’s a smart dishwasher,” she told me, handing me the instruction manual.  “Figure out how to hook it up to my cell phone so we can control it remotely.”

I dutifully read the manual and downloaded the app from the overseas company that made the dishwasher.  And that’s where it got weird. 

Even though the dishwasher is in my house, and would be on my in-house WiFi network along with her phone, the app required me to give them my Google or Facebook login information to access their network in another country which would, in turn, control my dishwasher. 

The thermostat in our house, for example, tells the California company that sells it all about our habits, including when we’re home or not. Our home temperature data could tell the company if somebody is having a medical problem from pernicious anemia or using beta blockers for hypertension (and so is keeping the house abnormally warm) to menopause (popping temperatures all over the place). It could tell a company selling insulation if we need some, or a potential burglar the best time to pop a window. 

 A 2014 Federal Trade Commission report found that even the simplest, most basic and easily purchased profiles on you and me typically include:

Name •Previously Used Names •Address •Address History •Longitude and Latitude •Phone Numbers •Email Address •Social Security Number •Driver’s License Number •Birth Date •Birth Dates of Each Child in Household •Birth Date of Family Members in Household •Age •Height •Weight •Gender •Race and Ethnicity •Country of Origin •Religion (by Surname at the Household Level) •Language •Marital Status •Presence of Elderly Parent •Presence of Children in Household •Education Level •Occupation •Family Ties •Demographic Characteristics of Family Members in Household •Number of Surnames in Household •Veteran in Household •Grandparent in House •Spanish Speaker •Foreign Language Household (e.g., Russian, Hindi, Tagalog, Cantonese) •Households with a Householder Who Is Hispanic Origin or Latino •Employed—White Collar Occupation •Employed—Blue Collar Occupation •Work at Home •Length of Residence •Household Size •Congressional District •Single Parent with Children •Ethnic and Religious Affiliations •Court and Public Record Data •Bankruptcies •Criminal Offenses and Convictions •Judgments •Liens •Marriage Licenses •State Licenses and Registrations (e.g., Hunting, Fishing, Professional) •Voting Registration and Party •Electronics Purchases •Friend Connections •Internet Connection •Internet Provider •Level of Usage •Heavy Facebook User •Heavy Twitter User •Twitter User with 250+ Friends •Is a Member of over 5 Social Networks •Online Influence •Operating System •Software Purchases •Type of Media Posted •Uploaded Pictures •Use of Long Distance Calling Services •Presence of Computer Owner •Use of Mobile Devices •Social Media and Internet Accounts including: Digg, Facebook, Flickr, Flixster, Friendster, hi5, Hotmail, LinkedIn, Live Journal, MySpace, Twitter, Amazon, Bebo, CafeMom, DailyMotion, Match, myYearbook, NBA.com, Pandora, Photobucket, WordPress, and YahooHome and Neighborhood Data •Census Tract Data •Address Coded as Public/Government Housing •Dwelling Type •Heating and Cooling •Home Equity •Home Loan Amount and Interest Rate •Home Size •Lender Type •Length of Residence •Listing Price •Market Value •Move Date •Neighborhood Criminal, Demographic, and Business Data •Number of Baths •Number of Rooms •Number of Units •Presence of Fireplace •Presence of Garage •Presence of Home Pool •Rent Price •Type of Owner •Type of Roof •Year •Apparel Preferences •Attendance at Sporting Events •Charitable Giving •Gambling—Casinos •Gambling—State Lotteries •Thrifty Elders •Life Events (e.g., Retirement, Newlywed, Expectant Parent) •Magazine and Catalog Subscriptions •Media Channels Used •Participation in Outdoor Activities (e.g., Golf, Motorcycling, Skiing, Camping) •Participation in Sweepstakes or Contests •Pets •Political Leanings •Assimilation Code •Preferred Celebrities •Preferred Movie Genres •Preferred Music Genres •Reading and Listening Preferences •Donor (e.g., Religious, Political, Health Causes) •Financial Newsletter Subscriber •Upscale Retail Card Holder •Affluent Baby Boomer •Working-Class Moms •Working Woman •African-American Professional •Membership Clubs •Membership Clubs—Wines •Exercise—Sporty Living •Winter Activity Enthusiast •Participant—Motorcycling •Outdoor/Hunting and Shooting •Biker/Hell’s Angels •Santa Fe/Native American Lifestyle •New Age/Organic Lifestyle •Is a Member of over 5 Shopping Sites •Media Channel Usage—Daytime TV •Bible Lifestyle •Leans Left •Political Conservative •Political Liberal •Activism and Social Issues •Ability to Afford Products •Credit Card User •Presence of Gold or Platinum Card •Credit Worthiness •Recent Mortgage Borrower •Pennywise Mortgagee •Financially Challenged •Owns Stocks or Bonds •Investment Interests •Discretionary Income Level •Credit Active •Credit Relationship with Financial or Loan Company •Credit Relationship with Low-End Standalone Department Store •Number of Investment Properties Owned •Estimated Income •Life Insurance •Loans •Net Worth Indicator •Underbanked Indicator •Tax Return Transcripts •Type of Credit Cards •Vehicle Brand Preferences •Insurance Renewal •Make & Model •Vehicles Owned •Vehicle Identification Numbers •Vehicle Value Index •Propensity to Purchase a New or Used Vehicle •Propensity to Purchase a Particular Vehicle Type (e.g., SUV, Coupe, Sedan) •Motor Cycle Owner (e.g., Harley, Off-Road Trail Bike) •Motor Cycle Purchased 0–6 Months Ago •Boat Owner •Purchase Date •Purchase Information •Intend to Purchase—Vehicle •Read Books or Magazines About Travel •Travel Purchase—Highest Price Paid •Date of Last Travel Purchase •Air Services—Frequent Flyer •Vacation Property •Vacation Type (e.g., Casino, Time Share, Cruises, RV) •Cruises Booked •Preferred Vacation Destination •Preferred Airline •Amount Spent on Goods •Buying Activity •Method of Payment •Number of Orders •Buying Channel Preference (e.g., Internet, Mail, Phone) •Types of Purchases •Military Memorabilia/Weaponry •Shooting Games •Guns and Ammunition •Christian Religious Products •Jewish Holidays/Judaica Gifts •Kwanzaa/African-Americana Gifts •Type of Entertainment Purchased •Type of Food Purchased •Average Days Between Orders •Last Online Order Date •Last Offline Order Date •Online Orders $500–$999.99 Range •Offline Orders $1,000+ Range •Number of Orders—Low-Scale Catalogs •Number of Orders—High-Scale Catalogs •Retail Purchases—Most Frequent Category •Mail Order Responder—Insurance •Mailability Score •Apparel—Women’s Plus Sizes •Apparel—Men’s Big and Tall •Books—Mind and Body/Self-Help •Internet Shopper •Novelty Elvis •Ailment and Prescription Online Search Propensity •Propensity to Order Prescriptions by Mail •Smoker in Household •Tobacco Usage •Over the Counter Drug Purchases •Geriatric Supplies •Use of Corrective Lenses or Contacts •Allergy Sufferer •Have Individual Health Insurance Plan •Buy Disability Insurance •Buy Supplemental to Medicare/Medicaid Individual Insurance •Brand Name Medicine Preference •Magazines—Health •Weight Loss and Supplements •Purchase History or Reported Interest in Health Topics including: Allergies, Arthritis, Medicine Preferences, Cholesterol, Diabetes, Dieting, Body Shaping, Alternative Medicine, Beauty/Physical Enhancement, Disabilities, Homeopathic Remedies, Organic Focus, Orthopedics, and Senior Needs.

As Joe Lewis said, "You can run but you can't hide." 


  1. Coincidentally we recently bought a dishwasher. Which has wifi included. I cannot even contemplate needing to turn the damn thing on in our absence.
    I am well aware that I am being tracked. I wish them joy of it. I lead a very dull life.

    1. Likely the cost of including WiFi in the dishwasher is very small and the benefits, if people use it are enough to cover it, so why not. But I agree why would you use it.
      Covid didn't change our lifestyle much. Drove to Dnipro in fall of 2019 for a vaccination. Never left town in 2020. Went to Turkey in 2021. That is it. And no one here will pay for any of that data, I am certain.

    2. Information You Put On The Internet Is Not Yours Anymore. yup for sure

  2. So how often DID you go to the toilet?

  3. I turn location services off on everything I own. Sadly, I know it actually doesn't matter that much, because anybody who carries a cellphone or any device that connects to the internet can be easily tracked. The only thing that makes me feel better about it is that my location data is completely worthless. I leave the house about every 2 weeks to go to the grocery store and (occasionally) the hardware store or doctor. Good luck selling that "valuable" data to anyone. ;-)

    1. I don't know how to value location data but even a nil reply is a reply so to speak. I used Runkeeper in times past to map the distance I walked the dogs but I use the same routes so often I know the distances by heart. Especially 2 km home from this point...1 km home from this point. Google maps is useful for finding my way around in a strange location which is so rare these days. I dunno. Maybe I should go through all the hoops and shut things down.

  4. I live a quite life. Google couldn't make much a profit in North Idaho.
    Coffee is on and stay safe

    1. I hear you. Some of us live pretty tame lives, that Covid did not much impact in many ways

  5. I got the same email...but mine asked if i was dead since i hadnt moved in 3 weeks.

  6. I found you through the Feb 21 LFAA. Very nice blog, wish I had found it sooner. I find the trend of adding WIFI to everything ridiculous. Dave Eggers has written two fiction novels on how humans have allowed social media and apps to take over their lives. I am reading the second one The Every. It is very chilling when you recognize the symptoms in people around you.

    1. Why does a fridge or stove or dishwasher need WiFi? Because they can, I guess. It is sure funny in a weird sort of way, not so much haha


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