Some Apps Are Using Smartphone Mics To Track TV Viewing Habits

Some Apps Are Using Smartphone Mics To Track TV Viewing Habits

Some Apps Are Using Smartphone Mics To Track TV Viewing Habits

Recently, it's been revealed that quite a few games on Android are secretly using your microphone to listen to your surroundings for more personalized ads within the game.

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The latest smartphones may have just gone up a notch in "smartness"! Alphonso, a company that collects TV-viewing data for advertisers, has its software included in hundreds of apps and games on the Play Store. But if that happened, chances are Alphonso wouldn't have much of a user base anymore as who would opt to enable use of a microphone to listen to what you are watching? Using code from a company called Alphonso, the apps would listen for audio from television shows or ads to more precisely target advertisements after displaying a warning message. The app did disclose that it was tracking "TV viewership details" in order to "show you TV-related content and ads", but only if you went into the game's settings.

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The report mentions a company named Alphonso, which is allegedly using this type of spying tool/software. An encircled number on the first app's icon shows you how many are grouped together, and you can drag the whole batch at once. As Alphonso chief executive Ashish Chordia told The Times, the microphone permissions required for this behavior are presented in the privacy policy, and apps which use this data-mining feature require permission with a dialog box that explicitly notes the microphone usage is for advertising purposes. The game designed by Imobile Game Studios, which when downloaded, apparently asks for location and microphone access, which is unusual for a game to do so. And while most of these apps appeared to be on the Android platform, the report also mentions that that some similar apps are seen Apple's App Store as well. One such app was Imobile Game Studios' Endless 9*9 puzzle. Both Apple and Google require apps to request microphone access - so users do have to grant permission before an app can start listening - but it isn't always clear beforehand that the app will still work even without that authority.

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Conspiracy theories about apps functioning in such a creepy manner have always been discussed about. Users also need to learn why their data is being collected.

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