Google wants your phone number — why?

Google recently changed its privacy policy combing more than sixty policies into one. The updated policy also allows Google to more directly target ads to your specifications. The change only impacts users who log into one of the Google services, but it still sparked criticism. So, imagine the surprise of some users when Google began asking for phone numbers. Several companies ask for your mobile phone number for security purposes, but it’s the timing that may have some users thinking twice and asking what’s next?

Google tells users that a mobile phone number is one of the easiest and most reliable ways to make sure your account is safe. It also allows you access to your account if you forget your password or someone gets unauthorized action.

Google says it will send you a verification code so you can get in your account if you can’t get into the services. You’ll also be notified via text when your password is changed.

Last May, I wrote about Facebook’s request for your phone number.   Their “Login Approvals” process had the same intent of increasing security, but it worked a bit differently. With the Facebook system, if you opt in you get a code sent to your cell phone when you log in from an unregistered computer.

Several years ago, banks added security questions, pictures, and PINS. Which raises the question — why your cell phone. If a question or picture is enough for a bank, why isn’t enough for Google, Facebook, or other companies that request your cell phone?

Companies who request your phone number say that’s more secure than your email or a security question because  you physically carry your phone. Email accounts are constantly being hacked, and remember most banks already have your phone number. It’s usually required when you open an account. If your credit card shows unauthorized activity you’ll get a phone call not an email alerting you.

It seems we continually give up more personal information. Perhaps it’s just another sign of the times. Hackers keep finding ways around security and as a result we have to give up more information to try to protect our personal identities. We can only hope they hold our information in as secure a place as possible as security breaches are common.

Ultimately, it’s your decision if you give a company your cell phone. It’s not required with Google or Facebook. It all depends on how much personal information you want to give up and whether you feel that’s less important than the so-called added security.

3 thoughts on “Google wants your phone number — why?

  1. Pingback: » Keeping secrets from the Overlords

  2. So, no real answer given to the question in the title. Giving up personal information is also very naïvly stated as: “Perhaps […] another sign of the times.” ‘Investigative’ reporter?


    • Thanks for your comment. There is an answer to the “why?” It deals with security. As mentioned, many companies ask for your phone number so they can send you a temporary password if you get locked out of your account, forget your password, or there’s unauthorized use. That way the company is not sending an email to your email if it was compromised by someone. Companies say a phone number is a better way to contact you and verify you are who you say you are then pictures or security questions like other companies use. I hope this answers your question and concern. Thanks.


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