At some point in your healthy relationship with your smartphone you must have wondered to yourself, how does it know so much about you or how does it always know what you want? It almost inevitably makes you wonder, is your smartphone spying on you?
It’s almost a cliché for every mobile user to come across a certain situation in their life where they see an advertisement for a product or a service as soon as they talk about it in-person with someone they know. I remember talking about these really cool airpods with a friend of mine while stating that my old wired handsfree is now outdated and I should be looking towards switching to wireless technology. And what do you know, there they were. The advertisements for new, sparkly AirPods decorated all over my newsfeed. So did my phone betray my trust and helped the outer sources to breach my personal information. Well yes, but no.
It isn’t a secret anymore that most of the applications we let into our cell phones are extracting maximum information from us in order to help the advertising companies create algorithms for better-targeted ads. Be it keeping a track of our movement or eavesdropping on our conversations, the applications on our phones have access to various features on our smart devices that facilitate them in order to carry the deed. But how do they get access to those features in the first place? So let us rephrase our question from “Is your smartphone spying on you?” to “are you letting it spy on you?” Wondering how? Let me tell you.
Did you know that the Subspace Emissary’s Worlds Conquest is the longest piece of literature based on over 3.5 million words? But you know what’s longer than that? The terms and conditions you get to read before installing an application. I mean, it certainly feels that long. Not reading it might feel like an escape at first but you’re exposing your privacies to the wrong hands. So who’s the culprit in sabotaging your privacy? It’s you.
Algorithms for tracking the customers commonly used by Facebook and Google are very subtle and mainly focus on data that leads to determining what our needs are. The locations we have been, the IP addresses we’ve appeared with, the searches we make online tell a lot about us. And that is exactly the kind of data advertising agencies tend to exploit to target us with an ad.
Now let us go back to the first example, The legend of AirPods. Upon contemplating the matter, I realized the friend I was talking to about the AirPods was an expert in dealing with mobile accessories. I also happened to be in his place therefore connected to his own IP. I knew my headphones were outdated so I must have said it somewhere over social media. Join the lines, the ad appeared.
Even if you eradicate the question is your smartphone spying on you? It is still very scary to think that people out there know so much about you and could predict your needs and the things you might need. But it can be prevented. Smartphones have become essential for everyday purposes, but to keep a keen eye on what has access to what, could help to keep your mobile device safe.
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