With the Facebook-Cambridge Analytica Scandal, we have seen what extent app developers can go to raise ad revenues. Unlike the Western markets, there are no stricter laws in India to control the data collection by the developers. While Government is in works to draft the law, a new report by Factor Daily reveals a list of Android apps which are listening through your smartphone’s microphone.
A Bengaluru-based company called Zapr is offering audio content recognition (ACR) technology for several apps including NewsDog, Dainik Jagran, Dainik Bhaskar, and Real Cricket 17. Even the popular OTT player Hotstar is reportedly using the Zapr’s ACR tech for better targeting its audience. Even though the company says it is listening to ambient sounds for learning the user’s media consumption behavior, the ambient sounds also include your personal conversations.
While the Zapr’s API is only limited to Android apps, the iPhone users are free from being monitored. On Android, the apps don’t have permissions to access the microphone in the background. As of now, Zapr can listen through your smartphone only when you are using the apps that come embedded with Zapr’s API. While most users give all permissions when asked, not all are mandatory.
You can either reject the permissions from the pop-out after the first boot or manually revoke the access by going to your device settings. With the smartphones reaching every corner of the country and data getting cheaper and cheaper, it easier for companies to create a digital profile by tracking your online activities. We hope these companies go through stricter laws once the personal data protection bill comes into force.