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smartphone surveillance concerns
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Security & privacy

Think your phone is always listening? You’re not alone

Is your phone secretly listening to you? Over the last decade, the notion has become a part of American culture. But how legitimate is this belief? Weirdly specific ads, smart assistant surveillance and plain old paranoia may all influence your relationship with technology.

Should you be worried about your phone listening in on your entire life? It depends. Read on to discover why many are concerned about surveillance and some steps to increase privacy.

Why Americans worry about smartphone surveillance

Your phone, computer and other devices like smart speakers might all be keeping a close eye on you…or, rather, a listening ear.

According to Digital Third Coast, four out of five Americans claim that digital surveillance makes them viscerally anxious daily, even when they know they’re not saying or doing anything wrong.

Why exactly do innocent people feel this sense of fear? The breakdown is as follows:

  • 60% of those surveyed believe their smartphones listen to their conversations.
  • 74% believe their smart speakers and other smart devices do the same.
  • 60% think the government is the driving force behind surveillance of this nature.

Some believe that only Boomers feel the stress associated with an increasingly surveilled world. Although this demographic has been dealing with the issue for the shortest time, Generation Z is on-par with them by the numbers with the highest stress rates, at 84%.

Nearly 13% of participants have purchased or considered purchasing “dumb” devices like flip phones to escape the feeling of being watched or listened to. Is the payoff worth it?

Smart assistant wake-words rely on passive voice transcription to ensure a timely response, even in unfavorable or muffled conditions. This could mean unexpected or unnecessary snippets of your private conversations trigger the smart assistant that might not otherwise appear on its radar.

Smartphone privacy tips

Whether it’s Alexa, app tracking, corporate spies or government surveillance on your mind, you’ll be able to minimize your exposure to prying eyes and listening ears by following these tips:

  • Focus on app security settings limiting how and when each can utilize your device’s microphone. Tap or click here for app permissions to change ASAP.
  • Avoid fishy, shady or suspicious apps, which may compromise your phone’s security and privacy.
  • Try a VPN or antivirus software. These will help keep malicious programs off your devices and stop spying eyes and ears in their tracks.
  • Keep your device and apps updated at all times.

Keep reading

The clever trick to know when your phone’s camera or mic is being used

Here’s how to catch anyone spying on your text messages

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