Facebook using people’s phones to listen in on what they’re saying, claims professor
Facebook says that it does use handsets' microphones, but only to help them out – and there’s an easy way of turning it off
Facebook is listening in on people’s conversations all of the time, an expert has claimed.
The app is using people’s phones to gather data on what they are talking about, it has been claimed.
Facebook says that its app does listen to what’s happening around it, but only as a way of seeing what people are listening to or watching and suggesting that they post about it.
The feature has been available for a couple of years, but recent warnings from Kelli Burns, mass communication professor at the University of South Florida, have drawn attention to it.
Professor Burns has said that the tool appears to be using the audio it gathers not simply to help out users, but to listen in to discussions and serve them with relevant advertising. She says that to test the feature, she discussed certain topics around the phone and then found that the site appeared to show relevant ads.
The claim chimes with anecdotal reports online that the site appears to show ads for things that people have mentioned in passing.
Facebook has not yet responded to a request for comment.
At the moment, the feature is only available in the US.
When it was first introduced, in 2014, Facebook responded to controversy by arguing that the phone isn’t “always listening” and that it never stores the “raw audio” when it is listening.
Facebook says explicitly on its help pages that it doesn’t record conversations, but that it does use the audio to identify what is happening around the phone. The site promotes the feature as an easy way of identifying what you are listening to or watching, to make it easier and quicker to post about whatever’s going on.
If people want to use the feature that way, then they can start writing a post in the normal way. If it’s turned on, then it will start identifying what is being listened to or watching – at which point a little face with some soundwaves next to it will appear.
If it identifies the sound successfully, then it will show a little “1” next to the face instead – users can then click that, select the thing they are watching or listening to, and then write the rest of the update.
“If your phone's microphone has trouble matching what you're listening to or watching, the room you're in may be loud or a commercial may be on,” according to Facebook’s help page. “If this happens, tap, drag and release your screen to try a new match.”
Turning off the microphone in a phone’s settings is relatively easy, and since it can be done at the level of the operating system, doing so will mean that Facebook can’t turn it on even if it wanted to. It’s done on an iPhone by heading to the app’s settings, clicking through to privacy and switching the slider for microphone; on Android phones, head to settings and then privacy, and change the permissions that the Facebook app is given.
The claims come after Belgian police warned citizens not to use Facebook's Reactions tool if they valued their privacy.
http://www.belfasttelegraph.co.uk/techn ... 61450.html
elfismiles » 01 Dec 2011 13:22 wrote:
...so riddle me this ... GPS data mining / colocating for cross-platform advertising? ...
This day before turkeyday I was at a relative's house. They had just gotten new hardwood floors. We talked about it a lot. I was there less than 24 hours. Next morning I am leaving and begin the drive to other relatives house. I am listening to Pandora in the car on my phone and an advert I've never heard before comes on.
It was for the same kind of hardwood flooring! And NO I'd not searched for the info on my phone or otherwise.
Karmamatterz » 08 Jun 2016 01:00 wrote:If you logged onto the wifi when you visited the relatives house years ago the IP address could have been cross referenced and stored with markers about purchase or browsing habits from that IP and geo. I've met and had lengthy discussions with more than one data mining company that is pretty good at this. Their holy grail is to link mobile and desktop in the same database about your habits, interests etc... Their holy grail has been achieved and is very active for brands to target you.
Jun 4 2018, 3:16am
Your Phone Is Listening and it's Not Paranoia by Sam Nichols
Here's how I got to bottom of the ads-coinciding-with-conversations mystery.
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 Henway—The senior security consultant for cybersecurity firm Asterix, 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.
Whispering some sweet nothings to my phone
“From time to time, snippets of audio do go back to [other apps like Facebook’s] servers but there’s no official understanding what the triggers for that are,” explains Peter. “Whether it’s timing or location-based or usage of certain functions, [apps] are certainly pulling those microphone permissions and using those periodically. All the internals of the applications send this data in encrypted form, so it’s very difficult to define the exact trigger.”
He goes on to explain that apps like Facebook or Instagram could have thousands of triggers. An ordinary conversation with a friend about needing a new pair of jeans could be enough to activate it. Although, the key word here is “could,” because although the technology is there, companies like Facebook vehemently deny listening to our conversations.
“Seeing Google are open about it, I would personally assume the other companies are doing the same.” Peter tells me. “Really, there’s no reason they wouldn’t be. It makes good sense from a marketing standpoint, and their end-use agreements and the law both allow it, so I would assume they’re doing it, but there’s no way to be sure.”
With this in mind, I decided to try an experiment. Twice a day for five days, I tried saying a bunch of phrases that could theoretically be used as triggers. Phrases like I’m thinking about going back to uni and I need some cheap shirts for work. Then I carefully monitored the sponsored posts on Facebook for any changes.
I'd never seen this ad for "quality clothing" until I told my phone I needed shirts
The changes came literally overnight. Suddenly I was being told mid-semester courses at various universities, and how certain brands were offering cheap clothing. A private conversation with a friend about how I’d run out of data led to an ad about cheap 20 GB data plans. And although they were all good deals, the whole thing was eye-opening and utterly terrifying.
Peter told me that although no data is guaranteed to be safe for perpetuity, he assured me that in 2018 no company is selling their data directly to advertisers. But as we all know, advertisers don’t need our data for us to see their ads.
“Rather than saying here’s a list of people who followed your demographic, they say Why don’t you give me some money, and I’ll make that demographic or those who are interested in this will see it. If they let that information out into the wild, they’ll lose that exclusive access to it, so they’re going to try to keep it as secret as possible.
Peter went on to say that just because tech companies value our data, it doesn’t keep it safe from governmental agencies. As most tech companies are based in the US, the NSA or perhaps the CIA can potentially have your information disclosed to them, whether it’s legal in your home country or not.
So yes, our phones are listening to us and anything we say around our phones could potentially be used against us. But, according to Peter at least, it’s not something most people should be scared of.
Because unless you’re a journalist, a lawyer, or have some kind of role with sensitive information, the access of your data is only really going to advertisers. If you’re like everyone else, living a really normal life, and talking to your friends about flying to Japan, then it’s really not that different to advertisers looking at your browsing history.
“It’s just an extension from what advertising used to be on television,” says Peter. Only instead of prime time audiences, they’re now tracking web-browsing habits. It’s not ideal, but I don’t think it poses an immediate threat to most people.”
Follow Sam on Twitter
Still freaked out about all this? Check out our series Internet Hygiene for information on protecting yourself online.
This article originally appeared on VICE AU.
https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/wjbz ... t-paranoia
One ring to rule them all, one ring to find them, One ring to bring them all and in the darkness bind them!
Apple Struggles to Reassure Feds: Our iPhones Are Not Spying on People
By Phil Baker August 22, 2018
The Energy and Commerce Committee in Congress sent letters in July to Tim Cook, Apple's CEO, and Larry Page, CEO of Google's parent company Alphabet, asking whether their smartphones listen to their users and collect data. In its response, Apple said that they do not listen to what users say and that third-party apps cannot access the audio data without permission.
Timothy Powderly, Apple's director of federal government affairs, claimed in a letter obtained by CNN, "The iPhone doesn't listen to consumers except to recognize the clear, unambiguous audio trigger 'Hey Siri.’ The customer is not our product, and our business model does not depend on collecting vast amounts of personally identifiable information to enrich targeted profiles marketed to advertisers."
"We believe privacy is a fundamental human right and purposely design our products and services to minimize our collection of customer data," Powderly added.
[ Facebook Brazenly Asks Banks for Customer Bank Balances, Credit Card Numbers
https://pjmedia.com/trending/facebook-b ... d-numbers/ ]
There’s been no word yet if Google has responded.
The questions were raised by lawmakers in response to rumors that some companies, including Amazon, Facebook, and others collect data from our conversations.
Apple explained that an iPhone will display a visual alert when Siri is listening to a user’s request. Apple also requires third-party apps to display an indicator when they're capturing data using the microphone, and users must first grant access to the app to access the mic. This ostensibly refers to apps that are used to make recordings and use voice search.
This latest news comes on the heels of a new report that accuses Google of tracking a user’s locations without permission. The Associated Press discovered that Google captures and saves your location history even if you’ve disabled location tracking on your phone.
What's becoming evident is that many high-tech companies, particularly those dependent on advertising, have few ethical boundaries in their efforts to capture more and more of our personal information. Consider that these companies have thousands of engineers being paid to come up with new ideas to make their companies' product more effective and to grow the revenue.
Imagine a Google engineer who has access to your location and your microphone. He or she could decide to develop the capability to listen to you every time you visit your doctor to learn about your health and sell it to insurance companies. This is hypothetical and there's no indication it's being done, but all the tools are there right on your phone to do so.
What's really needed is a code of conduct that defines their limits, whether it's something developed internally or by a government agency. So far few companies have provided any signs of doing this on their own. Apple may be the exception because their business model is built around the profits from their hardware, not from advertising revenue.
https://pjmedia.com/trending/apple-stru ... on-people/
coffin_dodger » Wed Jun 08, 2016 3:30 am wrote:All this amazing technology... to deliver... adverts.
RI username ---> email address registered at RI to that username ---> email address real life name and address registered at ISP ---> real name search at mobile phone provider ---> android or ios enabled listening post 'always on'
what you do know might come back to haunt you
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