Ever Talk About Something Then See Ads For It Online? Your Devices Are Listening.

You’ve likely suffered it at least once — you talk with a pal, then start noticing ads on your telephone that coincidentally include key words from that exchange. Well, it’s probably not a coincidence.

Those little microphones on your phone? They aren’t simply used for establishing calls and affording commands to Siri. “Smartphones are small tracking machines, ” Michelle De Mooy, Acting Director of the Center for Democracy and Technology’s Privacy& Data Project, told Digital Trends. “We may not think of them like that because they’re very personal devices — they trip with us, they sleep next to us. But they are in fact collectors of a immense amount of information including audio information.” Such info, including actions and interests, could potentially be sold to third parties.

When you download apps onto your telephone, you’ll see that some entreaty microphone access. If awarded, it allows the apps to listen to what you’re doing, including picking up audio while they’re running in the background. The New York Times reported just last week that certain gaming apps — many of which are played by children — can keep track of users’ TV viewing habits and use that data to create targeted ads.

But smartphones aren’t the only devices listening in. The Amazon Echo was created for this very purpose, with the assurance that it won’t do anything with your voice until you say the “wake word, ” which for this machine is “Alexa.” Nonetheless, researchers have found vulnerabilities that hackers can work around to obtain speeches arising near the devices, an owner’s Amazon credentials and other sensitive information.

Back in October, Android Police tech blogger and founder Artem Russakovskii discovered a disturbing hardware shortcoming in the Google Home Mini, another smart loudspeaker. He said it was waking up thousands of times a day without the wake term “OK Google” and registering audio clips in his house, then sending them to Google without his knowledge. The difficulty stemmed from the touch pad, which Google has since permanently incapacitated via software update.

activity restraints page, where through the “manage activity” link, I personally find an audio clip recorded by my android phone of me watching “Dexter” on Netflix. I had no theory it was recorded until now. You can delete the specific activities by clicking on the three dots.

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