Has this ever happened to you? You and your friends are randomly chatting on about probably eating Pizza or something. Later when you open your phone and scroll through facebook you see an ad for Pizza, pushing your temptations further. Open Youtube, Instagram, google whatever, seems like the Pizza has caught up to you, like your phone is listening to you.
Coincidence? Probably not
Look through your apps on your phone. If you go through each of their settings, you will see many, many apps that have access to your microphone. Have you ever wondered why?Â Or ever questioned it? We know for a fact that our phones are listening to us proved by AI evil geniuses, Siri and Alexa, but we also need to know that this information is being stored as well. Appleâ€™s apology for its employees listening to private conversations of users with Siri is the biggest example of our phoneâ€™s listening to us.Â
Other than just our phone \’listening to you, there are many things happening unbeknownst to us, like our screens being recorded by popular apps and that information being sold to third parties, according to research conducted Northeastern University. A lot of this information is actually given out with our permission, itâ€™s just that we donâ€™t realise it. For example, if you have apps that you have given access to your photos or videos, they can absolutely get a hold of your photos and videos without your knowledge.
If you have watched the movie â€˜Snowdenâ€™ and are sitting there absolutely paranoid, donâ€™t worry. The chance of your phone recording everything that you say is highly unlikely. Itâ€™s all a play of AI and machine learning, just like Siri and Alexa. There are Algorithms that catch on to certain phrases or words that you say repeatedly and use them for targeted advertising, just like how Siri gets activated when you say â€˜Hey Siriâ€™.
Well if the question is this is legal, uhmâ€¦ Sure. Itâ€™s mostly our fault, treating the terms and conditions like it means nothing. Loopholes and our Ignorance probably cost our privacy, that is if we had privacy at all. On the other sides, companies are admitting to things like this, saying that it is harmless, just some targeted marketing thatâ€™s all. This is technology that is just developing, there needs to be major change in laws governing this kind of advertising
Maybe you need to think twice, Maybe thrice while linking your facebook with any other app.
So, What can you do for some peace of mind?
If this is making you uncomfortable, what you can do right now in your power is to limit your phone\’s listening power, by disabling your microphone. You may lose some key features by disabling your always on microphone and for some apps powerful apps like facebooks, they find other means to get to this information. You need to thoroughly research the app that you are using, go into its settings and firstly look into what all features they have access to. Ask the necessary questions. Why does my photo editor app need a microphone. Disable Siri, Disable Alexa, Do whatever helps you sleep a little better, with your phone under your pillow.