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Smartphone security: Your device is listening and tracking your conversations to serve up targeted ads

Smartphone security: Your device is listening and tracking your conversations to serve up targeted ads

Privacy matters

Text: Janice Sim


There's no easy way to say this, but your smartphone is spying on your conversations and there's nothing you can do about it. Sure, it might be proofed in the almighty system called Face ID, but that means it's only warding people off physically. No one mentioned anything about securing your data from your phone.

Our phones are with us 24/7. They sleep by our bedside, travel with us, and any moment without them feels like an anxiety attack waiting to happen. Safe to say, they know every intimate detail of our lives.

Which also explains why we're seeing more ads — personalised ones in fact. Why have you been seeing advertisements on flights and hotels in Stockholm when you haven't searched for it yet? Oh, because you have been talking about it constantly.

Officially, your phone records the audio whenever you activate any smart voice-controlled assistants like Apple's Siri, Google Assistant and Samsung's Bixby. But unofficiallly, it also continues picking up keywords that can be accessed by third-party apps like Facebook and Instagram. Mark Zuckerberg might have publicly denied it, but there are trigger words that are encrypted within to start tapping in. It's hard to exactly pinpoint or "identify the formula" for this brilliant code.

This explains the borderline creepy targeted advertising. So no, the Internet isn't reading your mind; it's been tracking your needs and wants with your trusty iPhone.

It's a double-edged sword. You hate it but yet you secretly appreciate it. A matter of convenience infringing on what we value as privacy. But if you had to choose, which lesser evil would you settle for? Vote in our poll below: 

Yes, I'm receiving useful ads according to my wants and needs
Vote
Yes, I'm receiving useful ads according to my wants and needs
No, I'm not uncomfortable with third-party apps accessing my personal information
Vote
No, I'm not uncomfortable with third-party apps accessing my personal information

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