Apps use your phone's microphone to spy on your TV habits

Hundreds of Android apps covertly use your phone's microphone to listen in on your TV habits, a new report has found.

More than 250 games on the Google Play Store, some of which are for children, were found to use software that documents the TV adverts and shows you watch.

The information is collected even when the apps are not running and is sold on to advertisers for ad targeting and analysis.

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Hundreds of Android apps covertly use your phone's microphone to listen in on your TV habits, a new report has found

More than 250 games on the Google Play Store were found to record TV habits in the report, some of which are for children, including 'Honey Quest'

Hundreds of Android apps covertly use your phone's microphone to listen in on your TV habits (left), a new report has found. More than 250 games on the Google Play Store were found to record TV habits, some of which are for children, including 'Honey Quest' (right)

HOW IT WORKS 

Created by a company called Alphonso, the programme listens for audio signals in TV adverts and shows through the smartphone's microphone.

The software, developed by San Francisco company Alphonso, even detects sounds while stored in a pocket if the apps are running in the background.

The firm's chief executive Ashish Chordia said Alphonso has even partnered with film studios to spy on people's viewing habits in theatres.

'A lot of the folks will go and turn off their phone, but a small portion of people don't and put it in their pocket,' Mr Chordia told the New York Times.

'In those cases, we are able to pick up in a small sample who is watching the show or the movie.'

According to a new New York Times report, more than 250 games on the Google Play Store use the software.

Created by San Francisco firm Alphonso, the programme listens for audio signals in TV adverts and shows through the smartphone's microphone.

The software even detects sounds while stored in a pocket if the apps are running in the background.

According to Alphonso, its software does not record human conversation, and people are free to opt out of its tracking service at any time.

The firm's chief executive Ashish Chordia said

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