You probably know you are not safe from ads not even when you’re playing games, but the way in which they reach you is at least unusual. A recent report revealed over 250 games present on Google Play Store track down your TV watching habits through your microphone. This is possible through a software called Alphonso, which records audio signals released by TV shows through the device’s mic.
The software controls the microphone of your device
Ads will soon get everywhere, and the chances to run from them get slimmer every day. The Alphonso software is used to run a series of games, most of them are targeted towards children. It makes use of the microphone and picks up TV signals, and then sells them to companies and advertisers for market research and targeting.
Your conversations won’t get recorded, so the privacy violation is not that huge. However, if you leave the games running in the background, the microphone will record the signals issued by the TV. They can do it at a distance, or even if you leave your phone in your pocket.
The microphone tracks down your TV viewing habits
Alphonso’s CEO admitted that the company did record TV audio samples. Apart from advertisers, it has also collaborated with film makers through using the microphone in film theaters. Not all people turn off their phones when going to the movies, which has been used to the benefit of these companies.
This sounds like a violation of privacy, but these apps actually inform the users they are about to use the microphone of their smartphone to monitor their TV viewership habits. They are actually forced by Google and Apple to notify users of these practices, but few actually read the terms and conditions before hitting the agree button. Also, they can choose anytime to stop using the software and disable it from using the mic
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