Cell phones, tablets and other gadgets are very popular worldwide because they have so many great uses to them. People are using these devices to do many things with them every single day. But did you ever stop to think if your cell phone is listening to your conversations? Recent researches have shown that in fact, many companies such as Facebook, and numerous apps, are listening to your private conversations. But just how is this possible and how can you stop them from doing so? We will examine these questions and other issues below.
Companies Keep Tabs On You
Let’s face it, we all use our cellular phones for just about everything now. The days of using cellular phones just to make calls are long gone. Now, most of us use our phones to shop, browse and connect with people all over the world. Because of that, companies and advertisers know this and are taking advantage of it. Sites like Facebook and search engines such as Google have a long history of tracking and profiling users. These companies, along with many others, keep a plethora of information about you which they have been gathering for years. Most people know this already and the majority really don’t seem to care. They voluntarily give out a lot of personal information via postings and sharing. In turn, these companies are performing loads of intelligence gathering. Just like the NSA, FBI or other government agencies, they keep a profile about you.
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Convenience With A Price
The convenience of being able to do all of these things from our gadgets comes with a price.; a price that some people may not be aware they are paying. Most are content with knowing that what they post online will be seen by their friends and family, or perhaps even everyone. But what if those companies where listening to your private conversations? That’s is exactly what Facebook and numerous other apps are doing. They are no longer content with just knowing and using what you type and post. Many companies now want to know what you are talking about to use it to advertise to you.
How They Do It
Whenever you download or agree to use an application on your device, it will ask you for permission. Some of these apps will ask you for permission to your phone’s microphone. Since you grant them permission to your phone’s internal microphone, every conversation that you have can be listened to. Not only that, but anything you say near or around your phone can also be picked up and heard. In a statement, Facebook has admitted that they do this. They have said “We use your microphone to identify the things you’re listening to or watching, based on the music and TV matches we’re able to identify.” However, many experts agree that this is just the tip of the iceberg. Facebook and other sites or apps, constantly listen to your private conversations and listen for certain buzz words. Once you use any of these words, they automatically trigger a response. The response can come via ads and newsfeed stories you will begin to see soon after saying these words.
Proof Is In The Ads
USF Professor Kelli Burns, while speaking to television station WFLA, spoke about a recent test she did with her phone. Professor Burns gave Facebook access to her microphone and began to talk. One of the conversations she spoke about was being interested in going on an African safari. She also mentioned how she would really enjoy it, if she went on one, while riding on a jeep. Kelli did all this while speaking out loud as she held her cellphone in her hand. Less than a minute later, the professor saw a post on her Facebook feed about a safari story. She also began to see ads about cars and jeeps on her profile as well. There have been similar stories which have happened to several other people as well. For those that want personal proof, it is all there already. Anytime you shop Online for anything, once you log on back to Facebook or other sites, you should immediately see similar ads about those items you’ve just looked at or purhased. Try it and see for yourself. Look out for the ads and you will see just how quickly you are targetted by these companies and applications.
How To Stop It
In the event that you do not want your phone, or companies, listening in on your private conversation, there are some things you can do to stop it. The first thing you need to do is go to your phone settings, then application manager and look for any particular app there. Once you find an app such as Facebook, click on it and scroll down to permissions. It is here that you will see exactly what permissions the app is requesting and you have granted it. Look for any that allow the app to use your microphone. Disable it or do not give it permission to do so and close out the app.
Keep This In Mind
Remember that each time you download an app, the permissions the app is requesting, will pop up asking you for access. Still, keep in mind that even if you remove the permission for an app to your microphone, when you update it, the app will ask for it again. If you click on yes, you will again have given the application permission to listen to you and anything you say around your phone or device.
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While it is true that cellular phones, tablets and other devices are very useful and help make our world easier, they can also be used as a tool to spy on you. Always be on the lookout for apps or sites which ask for too many permissions and access to your gadget or device.