Home News Many Apps Use Microphone to Track Television Habits

Many Apps Use Microphone to Track Television Habits

Jan 4, 2018

A new report was just released that shows apps on both iOS and Android are using your microphone in order to know what you are watching on television. This information is being collected to see which shows you are watching as well as which advertisements you are watching. There are more than 250 apps between iOS and Android that are collecting this information. Read on to learn more about what this information being collected from your microphone is really doing.

Microphone Access in Apps Being Used to Collect Information

We know that targeted advertisements are a huge part of how advertisers make money. Did you know this is also happening on your mobile device? A new report has come out to detail how the microphone on your mobile device is being used to listen in on what you are watching on television. Not only that, but these microphones are also picking up which advertisements on television you are watching as well. A lot of mobile games on both iOS and Android are using the microphone to collect this type of information. We know that there are thousands of people who are concerned about this type of data collection.

The games that are doing this type of information collection include those that have Alphonso software on them. This software allows for the games to record the audio using the microphone on your mobile device. From that audio, the television shows you are watching and television advertisements you are watching are being noted.

This then allows for these companies to target advertisements to you accordingly based on what you are watching. If you look in the privacy policy of the Alphonso software, you will be made aware that this type of information is being collected. So that means it is not being done in secret really, but most people are not aware this is happening.

App Games Using Microphone to Deliver Targeted Advertisements

Although people should read each and every privacy policy, we know that it simply does not happen. Most people do not read any privacy policies, which is why more often than not, these types of data collections come as a surprise to most people. Apps that are built with this specific software is collecting this data.

Most notably in the policy, it says hashed audio signatures. Beyond that, advertisements and viewing history for the television programs are also being collected. In Google Play Store and Apple’s App Store there is a combined 250 apps that are using this Alphonso software. Within the Alphonso privacy policy, it states that the data that is collected is possibly shared with various third-parties.

Opting-Out of Microphone Data Collection

The good news is that there is a way to opt-out of this information being collected. This information to opt-out is also in the policy details. If you are using an app on iOS or Android that has this service running, you can use the settings on your device to change the permissions. You can change it so that the app or the game is not accessing your microphone to collect or use the information collected.

There is a settings menu within your Android or iOS device that should allow you to disable the microphone feature. The odd part about all of this is that this information is not supposed to be collected if you are under age 13, but there is no real way to know the age of the person using the device being targeted. A lot of parents will find this collection abhorrent as well as weird. The best thing to do, regardless of your age, is to go into your mobile device and opt-out of this type of data collection.