Most of us don't know for sure what many apps ae really doing. But what we do know is that some smartphone apps Listening to our conversation, and there may be doing even more than what you think. Have you ever had an ad pop up on your screen about something you were just discussing with friends or colleagues? How about suddenly seeing a sponsored Facebook posts about products and services you were just talking about?

Are these mere coincidences or a result of all the tracking algorithms that tend to follow us all around nowadays? Or are our devices listening to us?

The truth is that any equipment that has the capability of recording audio and video has the ability to record it even when you don't engage it in doing so.

Automated Content Recognition technology, can listen for certain signals in television ads to see what you are currently watching. Then, the data is sold for advertising and marketing purposes.By identifying audio signals in TV ads and shows, sometimes even matching that information with the places people visit and the movies they see, the information can then be used to target ads more precisely and to try to analyze things like which ads prompted a person to go to a car dealership. This technology is used by apps to access your phone's microphone even when the app it's installed on isn't open. The software is so sensitive it can reportedly manage this even when your phone is in your pocket.

you should assume that either through a glitch, or malware or by design, you will be listened to. You could have your picture taken. You could have your video taken. Any third party applications you have on your phone check for the settings!

Also, there are mobile applications that might not be listening in on what you say, they are watching every decision you make on a smartphone screen.

How to secure yourself from Stalking Apps

Revoke access to smartphone apps

You might not realize how much access you give your smartphone apps. Even if they are not actually tracking your information and conversations, you have an open microphone on each device. If one of your apps suddenly has an issue with security and a hacker can get access to your microphone, there is no need to say what they can do. Fortunately, there are things you can do to protect yourself.

The first step is to look at your settings. You should determine which smartphone apps you gave your microphone access to, and unless the app truly needs it to function, you should revoke that access;

when you download a new app that wants access to your mic, ask yourself the question: Why would this application need it?

Listen up, TVs

Smart TVs are also listening, even if you don't know it. There are brands on the market that have given their televisions the ability to listen in on their surroundings.

  • Samsung Browse to the Smart Hub. Click on Terms Policy and look for SyncPlus and Marketing. Choose the disable option.
  • LG Browse to Options. Choose LivePlus, and then click it to Off.

And while you're being proactive, install VPN to secure your online conversations by encrypting your data, especially when on free, unsecured public WiFi like in a cafe or airport.

After all, your private conversations are no one elses business.

Mute your devices

Mute the Apps used for interactive devices, when it isn't in use. There is a mute/unmute button. This turns the microphone off until you’re ready to use it. You can also erase old recordings: look for Manage my device in the app and then delete your history.

Review the recordings and disable

Try to access the recordings on file for each of the apps you use and request that they be removed.

Amazon, for example, allows you to access your Alexa recordings and delete them, as well as opt out of having recordings reviewed (though Amazon will still retain some types of data).

Same with google

Google provides a portal for you to view all your interactions with its services. This includes voice recordings of your interactions with Google Assistant. To review them:

  1. Head to the Google My Activity You'll see everything from YouTube videos you just watched to apps you've opened on your phone.
  2. Apply a filter to only show voice recordings. Click Filter by date product at the top under the search bar.
  3. Next, uncheck All products under Filter by Google product and check only Voice Audio.
  4. Click the Search button again.

You will then see a timeline of all the recordings Google has of your voice starting with the most recent. It bundles close events together click a bundle to expand it and then hit Play to listen to the recording.

How can you turn off Google Recording?

You can disable Google's voice recording in two different ways.

The first is to turn off the OK Google detection on your phone, which you can do by performing the following:

  1. Open Settings on your phone and enter the Google
  2. Select Search under Services.
  3. Next, tap Voice.
  4. You'll see a Voice Match entry; this may also be listed as OK Google detection. Tap that.
  5. Disable the Say Ok Google any time You may also want to disable While driving to prevent it in Google Maps and Android Auto, though it is convenient in those scenarios.
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