17.2 C
Friday, June 2, 2023

Yes, smartphones are spying on us. Here’s how to disable eavesdropping

Must read

Smartphones know a lot about us and regularly collect data about their users. In addition, they may listen to us when we speak in their presence. We suggest how to consciously deal with this.

More and more often, the ads we see are surprisingly relevant. Just a few days ago, we talked about, for example, drills, refrigerators, dryers or scented candles, and our applications are already throwing us banners with promotions for these products.

The feeling that we are being “peeped by brands” is very unpleasant, because it begins to seem to us that we are constantly being tapped. And often we.

My phone listens to me – how apps collect data about us

Nothing is free on the Internet, and even free apps make money from their users. This is most often done by showing them ads or further collecting and selling data. This information is also often used for profiling and providing us with more relevant banners or videos.

Google remembers exactly what we were looking for in the company’s browser, so we can drown in ads for a product we wanted to know a little more about. Mapping applications collect data about our location in order to advertise nearby businesses to us. Facebook keeps track of which links we click while browsing the site, what we post about and what interests us.

The fact is that we are not tracked by the smartphone itself. Data about us is collected by each application separately. Moreover – we probably agreed to this by accepting the terms of service and privacy policy of this company.

Unfortunately, there is little we can do in this aspect, although we can try. There are two ways. First of all – a complete rejection of applications (which is often not an option). Facebook can’t track us if we don’t have an account on it.

Second, many apps already allow you to turn off ad matching. In the settings of this program, we can specify that we do not want ads to match us. This will not change the number of videos displayed, but they may be related to products and services that we are not interested in at all. Of course, it doesn’t work the same everywhere.

Listening to the phone – how to turn off the microphone?

Most users are already accustomed to the aforementioned spying, but the new frontier is actually eavesdropping on users’ conversations using a microphone.

The main “culprits” of this data collection are voice assistant applications. Google Assistant, Huawei Assistant, Samsung Bixby, and other similar services are often voice-activated. This means that the phone must physically always have the microphone on, recording and waiting for activation phrases.

This feature is convenient because we can use the phone without contact. However, we pay for convenience with listening. The companies claim that the app only listens and waits for the activation phrase, but in practice it also launches when it hears similar-sounding words.

However, almost every assistant offers the option to opt out of “standby” or “voice activation”. You can turn them off in the settings. This means that we can still enjoy the benefits of assistants, but we will have to manually go to the application, press the button, and only then the program will listen to our command.

Another instance of microphone data collection is applications that request access to this feature. Sometimes this is necessary for correct operation – a program that supports phone calls must send our data to the network. But the calculator, which “occupied” our microphone, should already cause us doubts.

However, each phone has a privacy center where we can monitor and block access to permissions for certain applications. Do we use voice calls in Messenger? NO? Turn off access to the microphone, the ability to make calls, text messages or call history.

We can also change the permissions so that the app can’t use them in the background, but only when it’s being actively used. Then, at least, we will know when the program can listen to us. Newer phones also actively display the icon when the device’s camera or microphone is in use.

Designed by: Krzysztof Sobepan
Source: WPROST.pl

Source: Wprost

More articles


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Latest article