In his recent interview with The Joe Rogan Experience (JRE) Clips, Edward Snowden, a former CIA officer and a true fighter for the truth, discussed whether smartphones eavesdrop on the conversations of their owners or is it just a myth. If this is true, then how do they do it?
There have been numerous cases across the world of smartphone users noticing highly targeted ads in their favorite social network’s newsfeed immediately after talking about a particular place or product.
For example, many people claim that shortly after talking with friends about going on vacation, targeted ads about the best travel destinations for the year appeared in front of their eyes.
Imagine that you are talking to a friend about wanting to buy a new pair of stylish shoes, and then you see an ad on your smartphone screen related to the brand you mentioned. And similar advertisements are everywhere: in the news feed of your Facebook, Instagram and even Twitter.
Sounds creepy? Still would! But wait, that’s not all.
Is this real espionage or a huge technological advance?
As technology advances, smartphones and other means of communication are getting smarter as they constantly send signals to network towers and satellites. Facebook, Instagram, Google and other marketing giants use this to keep in touch with their servers and keep their users satisfied.
It is certainly no coincidence that you have been shown exactly those ads that are ” strangely " geared towards your needs, preferences and interests.
Advertisers invest huge sums to develop more sophisticated algorithms and marketing strategies (such as ad targeting ). This is a very important process, as it not only influences the behavior of customers, but it can change the way customers think and feel when purchasing a particular product. It is worth adding that social networks are great as advertising platforms.
According to Edward Snowden and many marketing researchers, data collection is routine. It is this process that brings such “juicy fruits” to advertisers. Almost every company in the world collects data, as it is considered normal practice in the industry.
Research shows that 76% of marketers worldwide are not using their customer behavior data to increase their sales through new marketing methods and advertising strategies. It is only natural that advanced algorithms are developed and implemented only by tech giants who understand the value of the collected data and can use it effectively.
In an era of rapidly advancing technology, it is essential that specific policies regarding ethical and moral standards be adopted in the development of mobile applications and other programs.
A 12-month study by scientists at Northeastern University found that 17,000 popular mobile apps actually record and send their users’ behavioral and analytics data to third parties.
In addition, in a survey conducted by Eset security, it was found that 80% of respondents are sure that smartphones (or applications on them) eavesdrop on conversations and spy on their actions.
What is the role of voice assistants in all this?
Siri, Alexa, Google Assistant – we all know about these so-called "intelligent" voice assistants or bots. But are they really worth trusting? Can I talk to AI-powered bots or voice assistants built into mobile apps?
Most likely you shouldn’t do this.
Unlike other mobile apps that collect behavioral data, these "helpers" can actually eavesdrop on your conversations. According to experts, they always "listen" for a certain word or phrase that the user uses to call the bot.
Voice assistants also record, analyze and transmit data about users’ voice activity to third-party servers in order to improve their service. Manufacturing companies benefit from using recorded voice messages to improve the quality of their products and be more focused on a consumer audience.
It is legal? Should I be worried about this?
Edward in his interview says that companies quickly managed to adjust and organize data collection in the right way. Dozens of different digital agreements have been created, by accepting which the user agrees that his personal data will be available to third parties.
According to Edward, you wo n’t be able to be sufficiently protected when using modern technologies – Internet of Things (loT) gadgets and smartphones – until there is a special switch that allows you to control which application connects to a particular server and transmits data about your activity. However, unfortunately, companies will never allow such a development of the situation, since this will only bring them losses.
Why? Yes, because data is now the new oil.
Demanded data can be sold at a high price in today’s intelligence gathering market. Your personal information is valuable to both large companies and malicious hackers. However, if hackers violate your digital privacy and engage in illegal activities, then companies are legally using your behavioral data to improve the quality of their products.
Without knowing the preferences and desires of their customers, companies are limited in terms of improving their products or services. Also, marketing giants usually don’t invade users’ privacy through spying because they don’t really need to.
By registering on social media platforms such as Facebook, indicating your personal details, indicating your interests, hobbies, hobbies, uploading your photos, you are already sharing a huge amount of information with tech giants. Not only does this make it easier for them to target ads for you, but it also allows them to use your private information to create more innovative marketing methods. This guarantees maximum efficiency from displaying ads.
What if I don’t like it?
No one likes to have their privacy invaded, be it by hackers or by any company. However, as long as you continue to use modern applications and devices, you will have to sacrifice at least a minimum amount of personal information and disclose it to third parties.
Think of it as the price you pay for using modern technology.
There are certain methods by which you can restrict or control how your personal information is processed and used by well-known companies. Learn to protect your privacy – this will help you achieve digital well-being.