250+ Mobiles Games Are Using Your Smartphone Mic To Track What You’re Watching

The year 2017 witnessed the rise in the popularity of digital assistant-powered smart speakers. While some people found it useful, others called it creepy and labeled it as a privacy nightmare. But, what about your beloved smartphone? Can it be used to track you and your family’s activities?

As a shocking report by NYTimes, more than 250 mobile games on Google Play Store have the ability to keep track of your TV viewing habits, even when the game is not being played. Compared to Android, such apps on iOS platform are lesser in number.

These apps in question use a software from Alphonso; it’s a startup that collects the TV-viewing data and sells it to advertisers. Alphonso keeps tabs using your smartphone’s microphone. It also has the ability to match the audio signals on TV with the places you visit and movies you watch. The data which get sold is used to target the online advertisements more effectively.

It’s worth noting that a number of apps using this software are targeted towards children. As per Alphonso, it doesn’t record human speech–just the signals to figure out what’s running on TV.

The company further explains that everything is written in its privacy policy and users have the option to opt out of the audio recording permission while installing the app. Well, nobody cares to take a look at these options while installing an app and that’s where such companies make their move.

Whatever might be the ethical implications of this voice collection, you must be aware of what permissions you’re granting to an app. If an app is asking for camera and audio permission but the use of that data doesn’t seem evident, you need to look for alternatives.

What are your views on this kind of intrusive data collection? Share your views and become a part of the discussion.

Also Read: Chrome Extension With 100,000 Users Caught Cryptojacking Using Your CPU Power
Adarsh Verma

Adarsh Verma

Fossbytes co-founder and an aspiring entrepreneur who keeps a close eye on open source, tech giants, and security. Get in touch with him by sending an email — [email protected]
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