September 28, 2023

In today’s digital era, technological advance is inevitable. With the ever-growing prevalence of devices such as the smartphone, a question worth considering is how “smart” these devices really are.

Lindsey Bruch, senior mechanical engineer major, said she has had many strange interactions with her smartphone.

She was looking for Disneyland tickets for her family’s trip to visit Southern California and later in the week a Google search showed a Disneyland ad in her search results.

“I was confused and concerned as to how much information Google tracks from my searches if they are finding ads they feel are ‘relevant suggestions’ to me,” Bruch said. Nerissa Ortiz, senior psychology major, said her phone knows more than she would like it to, as well.

“The other day I was scrolling through Snapchat stories and an advertisement popped up asking me if I would like to earn extra money as a notetaker in a California Baptist University classroom,” Ortiz said. “It freaked me out. I do not know how my phone even knew I attended CBU.”

One of the most invasive features of any smart phone is the location service.

Many applications use these services to improve the functions of their product, but what most users do not understand is that these programs keep track of where users are even when the app itself is not being used.

Google has the ability to keep tabs on your activity from multiple points of origin.

If you are logged into your Google account on one device, any activity on secondary devices logged into the same account will be synced to the original device.

According to the privacy section of Google’s website, when users are logged into their accounts, Google has the capability to collect data based on three factors: things people do, content they create and their personal information.

These experiences are not unique to students- faculty at CBU experience instances like these just the same.

Dr. Keith Hekman, associate professor of aerospace, industrial and mechanical engineering, said he too has odd experiences with ads that pop up based on previous searches.

“If you look up a product and click on the webpage, everywhere you go it will follow you. That’s what I’ve noticed more.”

iCloud technology is quite intrusive, as well, as it allows multiple devices to synchronize application activity, photos, music, Internet search history and location information. To turn o this program, users are required to go in and manually switch o the setting.

In the modern world, technology is a huge part of every- day life. With the frequency at which people use their smart phones it is important to understand exactly how much information these devices collect about their users.

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