Are our phones really eavesdropping on our conversations?

May 25, 2021 | Mobile

It’s a common fear- are smartphones listening and using our private conversations to sell advertising? New research shows many believe this is true.

The study, from Tidio, asked over 1000 people (48.6% males, 49.8% females, and 1.6% declaring as non-binary) about their opinions and experiences, and the results are surprising.

While there’s been no concrete evidence, many Brits believe their phones routinely collect their voice data and use it for marketing purposes

Smartphones are equipped with an arsenal of monitoring equipment: multiple microphones and cameras are designed to absorb audio and video. While these tools may be useful for creating media, they are also a goldmine for advertisers.

Some key findings:

• About 73% of respondents have seen a product advertisement right after mentioning it during a casual conversation.
• More than 40% believe that phones had been recording their conversations.
• More than 29% of survey respondents believe that marketers are spying on them, but almost 25% believe that the government listens to their conversations.
• Nearly 57% of respondents think there will be a colossal data leakage of private conversation recordings within the next 5 years.

But what is the correct answer? Can our phones hear our conversations?

Although many respondents believe that it is the case, phones don’t spy on our conversations. If we allow it, they do use voice triggers but without sending unauthorized audio.

Smartphones do pick up audio in your environment, but it’s not the same as actively listening to your conversations unless you activate a voice assistant. Unless you start your sentences with “Hey, Siri,” “OK, Google,” or “Alexa,” there is no need to worry that your phone could be spying on specific conversations.

Read the full report here

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