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Accessibility & Technology

Be Aware of Privacy Settings

Aug 16, 2022

Be Aware of Privacy Settings

Privacy is a topic of increasing concern to everyone, and it should be. In the age of mobile technology we have developed the bad habit of accepting without understanding what we’ve agreed to. The default privacy settings in our mobile technology, are automatically set to allow tracking of our everyday activity while creating a digital profile of personal data, which is always used, and often sold to third parties without our knowledge or permission. We are told, the main reason for all this surveillance is to send us ads targeted at, what is presumed to be our preferences. And it may even sound like that’s a good thing, but it’s actually pretty creepy and very sneaky.

Be aware and don’t give up your personal data unknowingly. The language is not always clear and the default settings are not always in your favor. Take these steps to limit your exposure.

Graphic image symbolizes hidden identity
Graphic image symbolizes hidden identity

Apple iOS Privacy Settings

On iPhone, turn off ad tracking and stop all apps from sharing and selling personal data for the purpose of marketing products to you. Go to Privacy > Tracking > Allow Ads to Request to Track > Off. Next scroll down in Tracking to Apple Advertising and turn off Personalized Ads. In Privacy Settings also go to Analytics and Improvements to Share iPhone & Watch Analytics and turn it Off. 

Android and Google Settings

Update Privacy Settings at myaccount.google.com or on Android, go to Settings > Privacy > Activity Controls and select your primary Google account. Turn off Web & App Activity, turn off Location History, and turn off YouTube History. Go to Ad Settings and turn off Ad Personalizations.

Delete Voice Recordings Daily

Get into the habit of deleting your voice recordings from voice assistants and smart speakers on a daily basis. It’s as easy as saying, “Delete everything I’ve said today,” to Alexa or Google. To delete Siri recordings, go to Settings> Siri & Search> Siri & Dictation History, then Delete Siri & Dictation History.

All the assistants have technical support available by phone; they can help you better understand the policies and get the settings updated. Here are the support phone numbers.

Alexa Technical Support: 877-375-9365

Apple Accessibility Support: 877-204-3930

Google Home Support: 855-971-9121

A previous version of this article was published Mar 30, 2020, and updated Aug 16, 2022.

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About the Author: Dorrie Rush

Dorrie Rush is the Chief Content Officer and Visual Accessibility Expert at Ophthalmic Edge Patients (OE Patients), an online resource, presented by the Association for Macular Diseases, providing practical information and empowering advice for living a full and successful life with vision loss.

She is the former Director of the Grunwald Technology Center and Information Resource Service at Lighthouse International 2001 to 2016. Dorrie is known to have an eccentric view, which is particularly useful in compensating for her central vision loss from Stargardt Disease.

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