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Guide: Can Smartphone Apps Listen In on You?
You probably know exactly how this works – you mentioned buying a new one laptop yesterday, and now you see it laptop advertisements when you go online.
How is that possible? Is your phone secretly listen to you? Do you think it is possible that we are continuously recorded by our apps? In this article we will try to find out the truth.back to menu ↑
It is certainly possible
Before we get deeper into the topic, let’s state a simple fact: apps can absolutely listen to you.
Most apps require access to your microphone when you use them on your phone. If you give them permission, they can theoretically listen to you if they want to. This is especially true of apps such as Chrome, Facebook, Amazon, Snapchat, TikTok, and others.
They bombard you with ads all the time, and since these are the apps that people always use, it can feel like they are relentlessly trying to send targeted ads to you. So they have to listen to you all the time, right?
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But it is not very practical
Experts have done some research on this topic. In one study, Northeastern University in Boston tried to see if they could catch some smartphone apps in the act.
The survey covered more than 17,000 most popular Android apps, and the results showed that none of them found the phone’s microphone or data has been leaked.
Cybersecurity experts usually agree with this finding, adding that listening and recording from smartphone users is not the most practical way to gather information.
Especially since that process requires a lot of translation from audio to text and also requires enormous amounts of computing power.
These tactics are only applied when it is at a government level, and the goal is not just the everyday consumer.
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Why does it feel like they are listening?
Even with hard data showing that apps aren’t actually listening to you, some people may still not believe it. Sometimes the speed at which an ad appears up on your Instagram feed seems way too suspicious.
You just told your friend that you love a shoe brand, and here they are, reminding you to click on their page. Companies like Google and Facebook may not listen to you, but they certainly make it seem that way.
That’s because they have other, super efficient ways to learn everything they need about you. We’ve all given up the right to our privacy anyway, whether we want to acknowledge it or not.
These apps can access your personal information such as birthday, credit cards, and most also track your location. Facebook also regularly checks your browsing history and not just within Facebook.
They can keep track of what you put in your shopping cart and which websites you visit and how often. In the Northeastern University study, they found that thousands of Android apps secretly take screenshots and tend to show your activity on the phone.
In most cases, however, we make it easy for the apps to target us. As Silicon Valley has discovered and benefited from, people are much more predictable than they would like to think.
So your phone and apps already know everything you like and will keep spamming you with ads because that’s how they make a profit.
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How to Protect your privacy online
Even if you don’t have anything to hide, it’s still important to protect your privacy online as much as possible. If targeted ads make you feel uncomfortable, there are some things you can do to lessen that.
One of the ways to deal with it is to use a secure browser and an encrypted email provider. you can your laptop and phone camera if you’re concerned that your device and apps are trying to record you too.
If you’re worried about apps listening to you, turn off your microphone phone gives you peace of mind. You can use a more secure text messaging app and make sure you never share too much no matter who you are talking to.back to menu ↑
If they listen – what would you do?
The question of whether the apps you use are listening or not is a complicated one. It also has no answer on what to do if indeed it does.
Nobody likes the idea of such a massive invasion of their privacy, but if Google and Facebook come out tomorrow with a statement confirming this suspicion, what can anyone do?
Do you think apps listen to us? Let us know in the comments below.back to menu ↑
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