June 7, 2018

Your Phone Is Listening and it’s Not Paranoia

(Vice.com) – A couple years ago, something strange happened. A friend and I were sitting at a bar, iPhones in pockets, discussing our recent trips in Japan and how we’d like to go back. The very next day, we both received pop-up ads on Facebook about cheap return flights to Tokyo. It seemed like just a spooky coincidence, but then everyone seems to have a story about their smartphone listening to them. So is this just paranoia, or are our smartphones actually listening?

According to Dr. Peter Hannay—The senior security consultant for cybersecurity firm Asterisk, and former lecturer and researcher at Edith Cowan University—the short answer is yes, but perhaps in a way that’s not as diabolical as it sounds.

For your smartphone to actually pay attention and record your conversation, there needs to be a trigger, such as when you say “hey Siri” or “okay Google.” In the absence of these triggers, any data you provide is only processed within your own phone. This might not seem a cause for alarm, but any third party applications you have on your phone—like Facebook for example—still have access to this “non-triggered” data. And whether or not they use this data is really up to them.

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One thought on “Your Phone Is Listening and it’s Not Paranoia

  1. That is why I got rid of my smartphone and returned to my old flip phone with paid minutes. Never used any of the social media stuff and even with the phone offline I can still use the apps I purchased and update them when needed by connecting to wifi. I have been working in IT for over 30 years and could never understand the got to have mentality or the lack of putting private information out there by the younger generations.

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