Any smartphone can periodically monitor its owner and then offer advertisements based on conversation topics. How to check if your phone is listening to your conversations?
Many smartphone users have had this somewhat unsettling experience: you're talking to a colleague at work about a new car model, or chatting with a family member at the dinner table about vacation plans, and when you open your social media app a while later, you suddenly see an ad for cars. and all inclusive hotels. This makes it scary and it begins to seem that those who claim that corporations know everything about us are really right. The question you inevitably ask yourself is: Is my smartphone listening to my private conversations and transmitting data to big tech companies?
You just said something and immediately an ad appears
When asked about smartphones spying on their owners, many digital security experts answer positively. Often, without thinking and in the hustle and bustle, we give applications permission to access the functions of our smartphone, including the microphone. An independent German team of developers and cybersecurity experts set up an experiment: they created a test application that asked the user to grant permission to access the microphone through the operating system API. The developers came up with a good reason for this: since the application is a kind of social network through which people can communicate with each other, it should be possible to record voice, so the application must have access to a microphone. They had no difficulty in getting this app into the major app stores without any problems. When testing the application, smartphones showed a dot in the corner of the screen, indicating that audio was being recorded. Therefore, it is important to pay attention to this indicator, which is now available on the latest versions of Android and iOS.
The earning model of social networks is based on making advertising as targeted as possible, for which they can use many methods. Apps can collect data about our interests and needs even without access to our conversations. For example, with access to our geolocation, applications can calculate which stores or restaurants you visit, and so on. Artificial intelligence today is able to compose entire behavioral algorithms of users, which often coincide with reality. Meta, the owner of Facebook, Instagram and WhatsApp, like other popular applications and instant messengers, claims that he does not listen to user conversations through the microphone. But there's nothing stopping corporations from, for example, buying data about users from other apps or getting an idea of their lifestyle based on indirect data such as geolocation or interactions between devices.
How to check if my phone is listening my conversations?
Here are the main signs that your mobile device is spying on you:
- The Internet too often offers advertisements that coincide with the topics of your oral conversations;
- The smartphone in rest mode gets warm;
- You notice that sometimes the display on the smartphone lights up by itself, the indicator lights blink;
- Your device, which has been lying in your bag all day and not used, for some reason has lost half its battery charge.
How to stop your phone from listening to you?
There are several means by which you can minimize the possibility of spying and eavesdropping on you, but in doing so you will lose certain functions:
- When installing third-party programs, do not give them permission to access your microphone.
- Disable and do not use voice assistants such as Siri, Alice, OK Google, etc.
- Deactivate any wireless communication features such as Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, etc.