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How To Protect Your Phone Privacy

How To Protect Your Phone Privacy

 

Once only reality in science fiction literature, or in a James Bond movie, the smartphone has completely revolutionized the world around us. For better or for worse, a majority of the world’s population relies on smartphones and the world wide web for not only communication but also for commerce, leisure, and transportation - and that’s only the tip of the iceberg. However, the tech revolution has come at a cost, and now more than ever consumers are rife with questions regarding how new technologies impact phone privacy and security. 

 

Is it true that my phone’s microphone is always listening to me? 

Yes and no. 

 

Smartphones come equipped with embedded microphones that are specifically designed to listen to you. How else would you expect to chat with someone half a world away? 

 

But are they always listening, and how big of a phone privacy concern are they? That depends. 

 

Download any social media app such as TikTok or Instagram you are met with a choice to allow the program to utilize your device’s microphone. By clicking ‘allow’ you might be heightening the risk of unwanted data collection by the app passively ‘listening’ to you. 

 

It’s recommended to thoroughly read through the user agreement and only download and use well-known apps from reputable organizations to reduce the chance of phone privacy intrusions. 

 

So is your device always listening to you? 

 

Unlikely. 

 

Is it capable? 

 

Absolutely.  

 

Many People Are Unaware That Their Devices are Listening To Them

 

Imagine the last time you required a specific app to solve a problem. Perhaps you were trying to find a dog-friendly restaurant for your family’s weekend getaway, or maybe you needed a tech-savvy solution to digitally scanning an important document. 

 

“I bet there’s an app for that!”

 

It may be both tempting and efficient to choose the first listing on the app store, ignore reviews, download, and tap through the five pages of user agreements.

 

Avoid this at all costs. 

 

When it comes to phone privacy, the devils are in the details, and tech companies know this. By quickly clicking through user agreements, you may be setting yourself up for targeted advertisements and voice data collection, amongst other phone privacy intrusions. 

 

Even worse, most people are unaware they are agreeing to such measures until their data has been spread through the ether. 

 

Make certain to always read through user agreements and terms of services. If they seem over-reaching, the odds are they are. 

 

Is it Illegal for Virtual Assistants to Spy On Me?

Virtual assistants, or voice assistants, are voice-activated devices or software that can perform tasks for an individual through voice recognition; the two most familiar being Alexa and Apple’s Siri. 

 

“Siri, what is the capital of Morocco?”

 

“Alexa, what is the secret to a delicious hollandaise sauce?”

 

Sounds familiar, right? Virtual assistants can be of tremendous help, and the fact they are voice-activated means improved safety on the road and a heightened ability to multi-task.

 

But are these voice assistants capable of spying on you and collecting valuable information? 

 

Yet again, the details are hidden deep inside the user agreement. 

 

Ultimately, the user must agree to a seemingly endless list of terms and services prior to using the assistant. Whatever protocols are included in the agreement is fair game, which means that ‘spying’ is completely legal so long as the user agrees. 

 

The best course of action is to know and trust the application and limit its functionality when possible. Check Siri’s (or whichever virtual assistant) terms of services to understand how far-reaching their data collection is. 

 

How Can I Make my Phone Stop Spying on Me?

How Can I Make my Phone Stop Spying on Me

There are several ways to heighten phone privacy and decrease the chances of unwanted user targeting and data collection. 

 

First, checking the app’s setting on your phone’s main menu is a great starting point. Most apps come with options to limit their functionality. These vary from app to app, but there’s typically a handful of functions that can be toggled on or off. 

 

The app’s software will often include an option to limit location services when the device isn’t in use. It is advised to turn off this function if not using the app. This will cut down on privacy concerns as well as data usage. 

 

Step-by-Step to Disable Siri

Siri is voice assistant software built into Apple products. Below are steps yo

 

  • Tap on Settings on your home screen
  • Tap on Siri & Search
  • Scroll down and tap the app you’d prefer to switch off Siri’s suggestions for. For instance, if you don’t want Siri to provide you with suggestions related to Chrome, tap Chrome.
  • Swipe the sliders off for any function you wish to deactivate. For example, turning off Show Siri Suggestions in App will stop Siri from making suggestions while you’re using the application.

 

Step by Step to Disable Google Assistant

Disabling Google’s voice assistant is easier said than done. Follow the steps below to turn off the program. 

 

  • Open the Google App on your phone
  • Tap your avatar image up top (or the “More” button below) and then choose “Settings.”
  • Tap the “Google Assistant” tab.
  • Scroll down until the“General” section appears
  • Toggle the slider next to “Google Assistant,” and voila! 

 

5 Useful Tips to Protect Your Phone Privacy From Mobile Phone Tracking Numbers

 

Heighten your phone’s privacy by following these few simple recommendations. 

 

  • Use a Virtual Private Network (VPN). 

VPNs are software programs that hide your IP address and can also change your physical location. VPNs are recommended if you rely on unknown or unsecure networks for work. 

  • Set Secure Passwords or Use Biometrics for Increased Security

Choose passwords with an assortment of letters, numbers, and special characters to lessen the risk of cyberhacking.

  • Be Careful with Downloads

Only download apps from the official play store or trusted sites. Make sure to read reviews to better understand the program from others’ perspectives. 

  • Keep Software Up To Date

Operating systems are constantly keeping up with increased risks from viruses and malware. Be sure to routinely check up for updates. 

  • Use Secure Networks

           While a VPN can help, avoid using unsecure or unfamiliar wifi hotspots, especially in  

           densely populated areas. 

 

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