Can my phone eavesdrop on me? How do we detect and prevent it?

Many people are convinced that smartphones are secretly eavesdropping on them, although there is often no evidence to prove this.

Can my phone eavesdrop on me?

Can my phone eavesdrop on me?

There is a common conspiracy theory whose promoters claim that phones are listening to what we say secretly in order to target us with ads, and many people are convinced of this theory, because we sometimes see ads showing things we talked about a short time ago, so how true is this theory? Are phones really eavesdropping on us?

The absence of evidence to prove this is true

To verify this, a group of technology experts at Northeastern University conducted an experiment in 2018 that included testing more than 17,000 applications, which are among the most used applications on the Android system. the user.

The researchers found no evidence of an app unauthorizedly turning on the microphone or sending audio without the user's permission. Based on this experience and result, we can say that the conspiracy theory claiming that phones are eavesdropping on us is incorrect and baseless.

However, the experts who conducted the experiment did not say that phones do not listen but rather said that they did not find evidence to prove this.

Of the 17,000 apps, more than 9,000 had access to the phone's camera and microphone. These applications can listen and take pictures, but there is no evidence of any application doing so.

Modern phones include features to detect wiretapping

All modern smartphones running Android 12 or later and iPhone 14 or later include the Privacy Indicators feature, which allows the user to know when any application uses the microphone or camera.

Privacy Indicators show a pop-up at the top of the screen when any application turns on the camera or microphone. If you see the microphone or camera on the screen without you doing so, then this means that an application is eavesdropping on you.

What is the secret of targeted ads?

After the experience of Northeastern University proved that applications do not eavesdrop on phone owners, some are wondering why targeted ads appear about things they talked about recently. In fact, the high accuracy of the ads that appear is not because you are being eavesdropped on, it is caused by the work of algorithms that analyze your online behavior data and compare it to the behavior of other people like you who have talked about and purchased the same things.

"We haven't seen any evidence that people's conversations are being secretly recorded," says David Choffnes, who participated in the experiment. A third comprehensive view of you.

What about the telecom company? Can you eavesdrop on us?

The telecommunications company has the ability to listen to the phone calls you make and read the short text messages (SMS) that you send and receive, but this does not mean that the company does so. Thus, eavesdropping without a judicial order could lead to the company being liable in addition to losing the trust of customers.

What should I do if I feel that there is spyware on my phone?

If you suspect that there is spyware on your phone, there are several things you can do:

  • Head to your phone's settings and take a look at all the apps installed on it. If you see any app that you don't recognize, uninstall it immediately.
  • Spyware consumes a lot of data, so if you notice an unreasonable increase in your data usage, this may be a sign of spyware.

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