Should You Worry That Android Apps Can Spy On Your TV Habits?

Giving apps on an Android phone access to your microphone could allow apps to track what you watch.

By Alain StephensMay 11, 2017 12:18 pm| ,

A growing number of apps and devices are constantly listening to users, whether they know it or not. How are companies using these stealth listening devices and what does this mean for the future of privacy?

Omar Gallaga, digital savant from The Austin-American Statesman’s 512 Tech says that the continued development of software that sells user information to advertisers has changed the way many think about acceptable levels of privacy.

Software embedded in countless Android apps listens for a signal embedded in TV commercials to track a user’s viewing habits. The signals are unintelligible to the human ear  The company that utilized the software originally has since stopped using it, but new research suggests it is still being used by other apps that aren’t disclosing that they track users’ activity.

“I think it’s the frog in the boiling water,” Gallaga says. “We’ve gotten so used to it as the temperature has risen that we’ve become accustomed to this.”

What you’ll hear in this segment:

– How users may or may not be able to protect themselves from advertisers collecting data

– How public opinion toward viewing and browsing data collection has shifted

Written by Emma Whalen.