Researchers find no evidence that Android apps eavesdrop, but some do spy on you
by Alan Friedman / Jul 04, 2018, 2:11 PM
Researchers at Northeastern University conducted some tests to see whether your phone is secretly listening to your words in order to serve you ads that you would be interested in. Looking at the media files sent out by 17,260 apps in the Google Play Store, the researchers found no evidence that your phone is eavesdropping on your conversations. This was done using ten Android handsets running an automated program (see image at the top of this article), although there were some limitations. For example, the program couldn't create usernames and passwords to sign into an account.
What brought this up was an article in Vice that was written by someone who did a five day experiment looking for a connection between words he said, and the ads he received on his handset. According to the article, the author talked about "going back to uni" and "needing cheap shirts" before ads appeared on his phone for university classes and shirts. Considering that the experiment consisted of only two attempts a day over five days, there is certainly nothing scientific about it. And ads that the author claims never to have noticed before just might have appeared on his phone at earlier times. Can you remember every ad that has graced the display of your mobile device?
What the researchers at Northeastern did discover is that some apps are video recording what is on the screen of your phone and sending that image to a third party. For example, a junk food delivery app called goPuff used a service from mobile analytical firm Appsee to record its users' interaction with the app. The video was then analyzed by Appsee.
GoPuff states that it used Appsee to help it optimize its website. And that very well could be true. But the news here is that your phone doesn't need to eavesdrop on what you're saying in order to spy on you. It can simply record what actions you are taking.
Posts: 3069; Member since: Jan 23, 2014
Androids aren't the only spies. My wife and I both have iPhones and I know for a fact they're spying. I mentioned one day to her that I needed to replace the cover for our barbeque and 10 minutes later I received an email from Target with, wait for it, a 15% off coupon on...…...grill covers!!! She totally freaked in the truck on the way to Home Depot. She always thought I was subscribing to conspiracy theories. Now she wants her old BlackBerry Bold back.
posted on Jul 04, 2018, 2:38 PM 7
Posts: 1242; Member since: Sep 08, 2012
Did you ever search for grill covers in your browser first, before you got the email?
posted on Jul 04, 2018, 3:45 PM 3
Posts: 2881; Member since: Dec 14, 2017
No way, Target advertising grill covers, in the summer, right around the 4th of July? Next thing you know, you're going to be talking about them sending you an email in October for fall and Halloween stuff. The point here is that both events are mutually exclusive. No need to be that paranoid over an email.
posted on Jul 04, 2018, 5:15 PM 3
Posts: 869; Member since: Aug 01, 2016
Could be a coincidence.. My colleague has a friend in china. He doesn't have a facebook account, but he was searching for tickets to that city in China. Next day I get facebook ad in my feed with tickets to exactly that city in China.. I didn't ever search for it, we only discussed it offline.
posted on Jul 05, 2018, 4:02 AM 0
Posts: 436; Member since: Apr 02, 2018
Very complicated worded,phrases article on this subject alan,took me many trial to understand this information and still struggling to comprehend with details what its mean to say precisely.I think u didn't written the article information on this subject very well.practice more so that other non english & weak english readers can get it well as ur audience readers.
posted on Jul 04, 2018, 2:56 PM 2
Posts: 1275; Member since: Aug 31, 2016
What's the difference between eavesdropping and spying?
posted on Jul 04, 2018, 4:15 PM 0
Posts: 2881; Member since: Dec 14, 2017
Of course they spy on you. Google spys on you. Facebook spys on you. Smartphones are going to leave a digital footprint. That's why you have to be a little proactive with what you share with apps and what permissions you allow them to have.
posted on Jul 04, 2018, 5:17 PM 2
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