Your smartphone is listening to everything you are saying

You can stop your phone from listening to you by following these simple steps


Tech Desk January 15, 2020
PHOTO: AFP

Have you ever been in a situation where after discussing a certain product or service you find it on your Facebook in the form of sponsored posts?

This is no coincidence. According to one researcher, our device is actually listening to us.

In 2018, a reporter for Vice, conducted an experiment to test whether his smartphone was listening to his conversations.

For five days in a row and twice daily he uttered phrases to his phone and then monitored his Facebook feed to check for sponsored posts.

The results were shocking. His feed showed related ad content overnight, he used phrases such as  “going back to the university” and later saw ads for mid-semester university courses, and after that he uttered “I need some cheap shirts,” following which he saw ads for cheap clothing.

Yahoo says all 3 billion accounts hacked in 2013 data theft

Another research carried out by The Verge, was able to conclude that the apps installed on our smartphones have the ability to record the screen and everything being typed, including passwords and names.

Our smartphones listen to “wake” words such as “Hey Siri” and “Ok Google”, these words trigger recording. However,  manufacturers insist that our voice recordings are not sent anywhere.

Voice tracking is considered legal for marketing purposes, but you can stop your phone from listening to you by following these simple steps:

Disable “Hey Siri”
“Hey Siri” is a wake phrase that is always alert even when you have forgotten the fact that your iPhone can hear you if you turn this feature on this means that your iPhone mic is always listening waiting for the wake phrase.
Here’s the easiest way to turn off “Hey Siri:” go to your iOS device’s Settings >> General >> Siri, then toggle Allow “Hey Siri” to off.

Disable “Ok Google”

The search engine giant introduced “OK Google” which serves as a wake phrase you can turn off the going to Settings >> Google >> Search & Now >> Voice and turn “OK Google” detection off.

Disable “Hey Cortana”

Cortana is the voice-activated system from Microsoft, the feature is programmed to answer questions, do searches, set appointments, and open applications. The wake phrase is “Hey Cortana” you can simply turn it off by opening Cortana on your Windows computer, select the Notebook icon in the right column, click on Settings then toggle “Hey Cortana” to off.

Disable Facebook’s mic access

There has been evidence reported, suggesting that the social media giant is listening through our smartphone’s microphone for advertisement purposes. If you are an iPhone user, go to Settings >> Facebook >> Settings >> slide the Microphone switch to the left so it turns from green to white. That turns it off.

Hacker used $35 computer to steal NASA data

For Android users: Try Settings >> Applications >> Application Manager >> look for Facebook >> Permissions >> Turn off the mic.

Many users have shared their personal experience on social media platfroms to raise awareness of this privacy breach;

 


This article originally published on Komando.

COMMENTS

Replying to X

Comments are moderated and generally will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive.

For more information, please see our Comments FAQ

E-Publications

Most Read