These days, when most people download apps on their smartphone, they aren’t aware of the power they give their companies behind those apps. Be careful: the app you downloaded to help you pass the time might be listening in on and tracking what you’re watching on TV!
Gaming Apps and Alphonso
Various gaming apps on your phone are amusing ways to pass the time, but they run on software by a company named Alphonso. Alphonso listens to what you watch and sends that data back to advertising companies. You’re probably not aware of it while you’re watching because the apps don’t even need to be open. The apps can’t access the microphone on your smartphone without your permission, right? How bad can it be?
As exciting as it is, the advance of technology should always be met with caution. Televisions can now connect to the Internet by themselves. This means that the government agencies overseeing tech companies have to play catch up. In 2016, multiple software developers were warned by the Federal Trade Commission due to certain practices: spreading a piece of software called Silverpush. Silverpush works much like Alphonso does. It listens to what you watch on TV. It doesn’t just do this in your own home, either. It will listen to what you watch when you visit friends and family and even when you go to the movie theater.
Second Screen Viewing
With the rise in popularity of smartphones and tablets, people aren’t just watching the TV screen anymore. Second screen viewing has now become the norm. Whatever you’re watching on demand, streaming, or have saved a recording of your favorite show, all of that data is being monitored and collected. Your home’s IP address is also collected and through this, personal information about you can be analyzed, although your name and street address are not noted.
While this may or may not change your behavior on which apps you download on your smartphone, I think it’s important that you know what some companies are doing with your data. It might help you understand why companies are so willing to give away “free” software.
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