Phones and other devices are ‘constantly’ sniffing us for ads – but can be stopped | UK | News

If you’ve ever been surprised to find a pop-up ad for a product you were just talking about but had never searched for, your gut feeling may be exactly what’s happening – phones are really listening to us, say experts. A new study suggests nearly half of Britons believe they have been victims of so-called “sonic snooping”.

According to cybersecurity specialists at NordVPN, phones are “constantly” collecting data about our lives to produce more targeted ads, the Daily mail reported.

Our phones are always picking up information about us, including where we are, what we’re doing, and what we’re interested in.

This data is then used by advertisers to make sure we are more likely to be interested in the popups that later appear on our devices.

A survey of more than 1,000 people in the UK conducted by the company, which offers a way to surf the web while hiding your IP address, found that 45 percent had noticed an ad for a product or service they were looking for. hadn’t searched, but had recently talked about or seen on TV.

Half of the respondents said it made them feel they were being followed, while one in eight said it scared them. However, two-thirds of those affected said they had no idea how to prevent it.

The shocking data comes as TikTok is banned on all UK government phones last week after fears of Chinese surveillance over the app.

The method of data collection is called ultrasonic cross-device tracking, a controversial form of digital surveillance in which various smart products in our home – such as our phones and laptops – communicate with each other to collect data.

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They do this by sending ultrasonic waves, which are too high for humans to hear, across the room to reveal both our location and what we are up to.

This is why many apps ask the user for permission to access the microphone or monitor activity in other apps, even if it doesn’t seem relevant to the application’s function.

Cybersecurity consultant Adrianus Warmenhoven said cross-tracking was a gold mine for advertisers, allowing them to collect “a lot of information about you, all without your knowledge”.

The best way to avoid this, he said, was to check what “permissions” users have granted to the apps they installed, particularly regarding the microphone.

As for conversation tapping specifically, Mr Warhmenhoven said it was “tricky” to find out how often it happened, but added: “The technology has definitely replaced it.”