What's the Deal: Is your phone listening to you?

There's no question our smartphones help companies keep track of our lifestyle and our interests so what can you do to stop it?

Some people say it's a little unnerving to be talking about an item with a friend and then the next time they pick up their phone or log onto Facebook they are seeing ads for those said items.

While it might seem like your phone is always listening, Consumer Reports said that's probably not what's happening.



"This is something that researchers have looked at a lot. And despite all those weird feelings, they've yet to find any evidence that phones and the apps on them are actually recording or listening to your conversations," said Bree Fowler, Consumer Reports tech editor.

But your phone is monitoring you in other ways figuring out what you're talking about and what you're interested in without ever recording a conversation.

"Researchers have found that apps on phones will do things like take screenshots or use your GPS to track where you're going. Or even collect video of what you're doing on your phone. And all of this can be used to create targeted ads," said Fowler.

The amount of our data that companies have is staggering but Consumer Reports said one way to limit the access they have is to avoid using the universal sign-on features offered by both Google and Facebook.



Also, monitor the permissions you give each app on your phone. For example, if an app doesn't need to know your location, consider taking away its access to that data.
Apple is focusing on digital privacy with its latest operating system, which includes new features designed to give you more power over how much of your information is shared.

Meantime, if you're not sure how to check your phone's permissions we have posted a step by step video.

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Check your apps permissions video



iPhone

Settings>Privacy> click a category to find which apps have access

Android

Settings>Apps>click on a specific app to see what permissions it has
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