So many people out there think Facebook is listening to you on your phone. The theory is it listens so it can send you targeted ads. For example, if you talk about a new winter jacket, then you start seeing ads for winter jackets on your feed.
One couple even posted a video they claim proves Facebook is really listening. It is creepy and if it’s really true, many people will be upset for the invasion of privacy.
But there is a new report about other apps that listen in on you.
TV ad tracking with your phone
Over 250 apps in the Google Play store were found to be running Alphonso software, some of which were also in iTunes. The software uses the microphone on your smartphone to listen for signals in TV ads and shows you are watching.
This data is then used/sold for marketing and advertising purposes and in some cases can be used along with your location. The apps the software was installed on included games and some children’s apps.
The company said they are not listening to your conversations, just the signal embedded into some ads – so they claim.
What you can do
This is another reason why we all need to be aware of our apps’ amount of phone access. Even if it’s true that they are not tracking conversations, it’s still an open microphone on a device you own.
What if the app has a security issue and some hacker gets access to that microphone? Scary thought!
First, go into your app settings and make sure the microphone is only on for the apps that are absolutely necessary. When you install a new app, it should ask you if you want to allow it access to the mic, camera, etc.
You can always take an old set of earbuds that have a built-in mic on it and clip the cord. Then insert it into your phone to block the mic altogether.
The Federal Trade Commission has warned against software like this in the past and even fined one TV maker for doing something similar. If the makers don’t inform you that they are recording TV data it could be breaking the law.
The problem is, it would be in the very fine print so you are likely to miss it.
How to stop your smart TV from spying on you
The latest issue is your privacy. Certain TV models keep tabs on their owners in uncomfortable ways, and there’s really no good reason for this kind of shifty behavior. Our advice: Turn the feature off. Here’s how to do it.