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Your phone is eavesdropping on you.. How do you protect your privacy?

“Your phone is listening to you.” For those of us who follow the world of technology and the Internet, privacy has become a legitimate concern.

This concern increases with the frequent reports of data leaks affecting thousands of users of the most popular electronic applications owned by major technology companies in the world.

Some believe that applications track users in mysterious ways, often amounting to monitoring verbal conversations.

“Your phone is listening to you”

According to the siteAll About CookiesThe smartphone uses voice data, which can appear in many forms, from voice assistant applications such as Siri and Google Assistant to personalized advertisements.

It listens to the user for marketing purposes, just as Google and other search engines keep track of their search and browsing history to ensure that the ads a user sees online are relevant to their specific interests.

Is it bugged around the clock?

According to the site itself, the phone technically does this every second of every hour that it’s turned on. But the truth is a bit more complicated.

The voice-activated device is continually eavesdropping so that it picks up the “wake words,” or the voice command used to activate its virtual assistant service.

For example, the words “Hey Siri”, “Google” and “Alexa” are alert words. But the most important thing is what is said after the warning words. For example, if you ask “Who is the President of Mexico?”, the question is saved just as the search is saved via Google.

But this does not mean that the phone ignores everything that is said except that, according to the “All About Cookies” website, smart devices use all kinds of data to create a “profile” for each user in order to display ads that interest him.

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And the “iPhone” phone is not safer for the user compared to the “Android” devices, as the virtual assistant “Siri” is constantly listening for some alert words or other keywords. And the matter goes beyond that so that the “iPhone” device randomly selects parts of the conversations recorded by “Siri” to determine how to improve user service.

Is what is happening legal?

It is 100% legal for phone manufacturers to eavesdrop on users’ conversations, as they have the consent of the user, even if he does not realize it. Any time he accepts the terms and conditions for upgrading the software or downloading the application, he agrees to make his data available.

Although Apple claims to have cracked down on accidentally collecting sensitive or embarrassing personal data, the technology responsible for it in the first place remains common to all modern mobile devices.

What is the solution?

There are various ways to protect privacy when using smartphones. Google Assistant must be turned off on the Google Maps app and Android Auto. It is also recommended to turn off Siri on iPhones.

Also, one of the most important steps is to remove malware from the phone. You should start by removing suspicious applications.

The lecturer in the Networks and Information Security Department at Al-Ahliyya Amman University was Dr. Imran Salem explained in a previous interview with Al-Arabi from Amman that the applications collect about 30 pieces of information about each user, including name, age, place of residence, residential address, nationality, location, and others. This varies according to the type of application and its need for information.

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Salem pointed out that the collection of information is often for marketing purposes, so that the consumer’s behavior, desires, and orientations are monitored, so that products can be presented to him in a correct manner.

And while he confirmed that the “Facebook” and “Instagram” applications collect a huge amount of user information, he indicated that other applications do the same, such as health, cooking and other applications.

Salem advised users to review the privacy terms of any application before using it, and to constantly review the list of applications installed on the phone to remove suspicious ones or those that the user no longer needs.