It’s no secret that companies capture information about what you are looking at online and use it to target advertising messages. This includes what you click on, how long you are on a website, your social media activity, and demographics, as well as what you search for. But did you ever wonder if the apps you are using could be watching too?
Seeing an ad for a product you were chatting with a friend about probably isn’t just a coincidence. The apps you use day-to-day often require consent to access pictures, videos, and the microphone on your phone. While this information is used to provide services within the app, the app provider could also benefit by sharing this information for advertising purposes.
While your microphone may not always listening, in a digitally connected world that blends our personal lives with our work lives, we need to stay cognizant of the capabilities of the devices we wield in the palms of our hands or that make our lives a little easier at home.
Here are a few ways you can prevent or limit eavesdropping:
- Keep your device up and apps to date. Updates often include important security changes, so it’s a good idea to enroll in automatic updates or check for updates frequently.
- Change permissions granted to apps and authorize apps to access your information if you need it to. Familiarize yourself with the app and security settings on your phone and check them for changes from time to time.
- Read the fine print on apps – they most often will spell out how they can use your information in privacy terms and agreements.
- Enable enhanced security options like text authentication if they are not turned on by default.
- Close out of apps when you are not using them.
- When in doubt, turn off your device.