Is your smartphone spying on you? The answer may be shocking

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Most of us have a belief that our smartphones eavesdrop on us, and in fact this belief did not come out of nowhere. When you tell someone, for example, that you want to buy a new phone, you suddenly find offers and advertisements for phones bombard you on Instagram and Facebook, and when the washing machine breaks, for example in your home You’re surprised by ads for new washing machines or repair companies, but is your smartphone really spying on you?

Although these ads and offers certainly did not appear to you by chance, your phone is not actually spying on you, simply because it does not need to. How do? In this report, we will explain to you:

Is your smartphone spying on you?

According to the Dutch website The Next Web , your smartphone has more information and data about you than you might imagine.

When you visit many websites and applications, you often allow them to view your information, and give them permissions to disclose your data. When you want to browse something on the Internet, a window appears asking your permission to access certain data, and you often press the “OK” button without reading what The window came up.

These permissions that we give on a daily basis to apps and websites allow “cookies” to track our online activities.

It also allows websites to “remember” certain details of your interaction with those websites.

For example, login cookies allow you to save your login data to the site, so that you do not have to re-enter it every time.

However, third party cookies are generated by domains outside the website you are visiting, and that third party is often a marketing company working in partnership with the website or app.

The website or app hosts ads for a marketing company and gives them access to the data they collect from you (after you have given them permission to do so).

By doing so, the marketer and advertising agency get a glimpse into your life; Your daily regime, your needs and desires.

These companies always seek to increase the popularity of their products amid the challenges represented by different consumer segments, based on several factors such as age, gender, height, weight, occupation, hobbies, etc.

By sorting and categorizing that information, marketing and advertising companies can improve their algorithms to deliver suggested products, using what’s called a suggestion system that targets the right customers with the right ads.

Young woman using smart phone,Social media concept.
istock – Is your smartphone spying on you?

Artificial intelligence is the secret

There are many machine learning methods in AI that help systems refine and analyze your data, such as collecting, sorting, and classifying data and reinforcement learning.

A reinforcement learning app can train itself based on the feedback it gets from user interactions, in the same way that a young child learns to repeat an action that leads to a reward.

By viewing or clicking the “like” button on a social media post, you send a reward signal to the reinforcement learning app, confirming your affinity for the post’s content, or perhaps your interest in the person who posted that post. In other words, through your interaction, you send a message to the reinforcement learning application explaining your personal interests and preferences.

For example, if you start interacting a lot with posts that talk about “yoga,” the system will learn to send you ads about companies offering products and related content.

Suggested ads may be based on other data, including but not limited to:

• Other ads you have clicked on Instagram or other platforms.

• Personal details you have provided to the Platform (such as your age, email address, gender, location and the devices you use to access the Platform).

• Information shared by other advertising and marketing partners that you already have with the platform.

• Pages or private groups you have joined or “liked” on the Platform.

In fact, AI algorithms can help marketers take a huge set of data and use it to invade your entire social network, categorizing the people around you based on how much you “interest” (and interact) with them.

Then those companies will be able to target you with ads, not based on your data alone, but based on all the data they have collected about your friends and family members who use the same platform as you.

For example, Facebook might suggest a product that a friend of yours recently purchased. (The platform does not need to “spy” on your conversations with your friends to do this.)

Technology concept with cyber security internet and networking, woman hand using smartphone, screen padlock icon on digital display.
istock – Is your smartphone spying on you?

However be careful

Although app providers are supposed to provide clear terms and conditions to users about how they collect, store and use their data, users should be careful about the permissions they give to the apps and sites they use.

If you have any doubts, you can grant the apps the permissions they need on a “need” basis. It makes sense to give WhatsApp permission to access the camera and microphone, because it won’t be able to provide some of its services without them, but not all apps and services will ask for access permissions only for what you need.

You may not even mind receiving targeted ads based on your data, and you may find it attractive and useful. Research has shown that people with a practical vision actually prefer AI recommendations over human recommendations.

How can I limit my data being shared with advertisers?

According to The conversation , there are some simple guidelines you can follow to limit the amount of data you share online. First, you should check the permissions of your mobile apps regularly.

Think twice before you give an app or website the permissions it asks for or allow the use of cookies. If possible, avoid using your social media accounts to log into other sites and services. In most cases, there will be an option to sign in with your email, and it’s best to use an email account other than your official one.

Once you’ve started the sign-in process, remember to only share as much information as is required. And if you are sensitive about your privacy, it might be best to install a VPN on your device. It will mask your Internet Protocol (IP) address and encrypt your online activities.

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istock – Is your smartphone spying on you?

But how do I know that my phone is not spying on me?

If you still think your phone is spying on you, you can try it out for yourself.

Go to phone settings and block all apps on the phone from accessing the microphone. Pick a product you know you haven’t been looking for with any of your devices and talk about it out loud for a long time with someone else.

Repeat a few times, if you don’t receive any targeted ads for this product within the next few days, your phone isn’t really listening.

Those smart devices have other ways to know what’s on your mind.

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