Applications may be listening to the voice around you using microphone of your smartphone

Published on December 31, 2017

The thought of your smartphone recording and listening to everything you say about it is surely creepy. A few years ago, if you had made such an admission in public, you would be considered as paranoid or someone who overthinks.

But these days, it has become a common practice carried out by hackers. Do you remember the option that appears right after an app is downloaded on your smartphone, asking for your permission to use your device’s microphone? Have you wondered what this particular functionality has to do with the app that you have downloaded? Exactly, none.

According to a recent report published by BGR, citing information gathered by the New York Times, a start-up called Alphonso apparently collects TV-viewing data for advertisers by “identifying audio signals in TV ads and shows.” The worrisome part about this is that the software is being used by hundreds of app developers. The information collected over time sometimes ends up matching the data with the places users visit or the movies that they view. This kind of information is considered as important for advertisers, as they can use it to target advertisements more appropriately for individual users.

To be honest, this news article doesn’t come across as a surprise. However, just how pervasive the software can get is a little alarming. Not only is the software designed to listen in for advertisements and shows, but it can also go on to detect sounds if the application is still running in the background.

In other words, even if the users feel that they are done with the application and have exited it, the app is still running in the background and will continue to listen to whatever information is thrown up during the process. “The consumer is opting in knowingly and can opt out anytime,” said Alphonso CEO Ashish Chordia, while defending the application.

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Applications may be listening to the voice around you using microphone of your smartphone
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