June 3, 2020
Android games tracking TV habits

Report: Some Android Games Spying via Smartphone Microphone to Track User TV Habits

A new report reveals some Android games tracking TV habits through smartphones, in order to better serve ads to consumers…

Games might provide a bit of amusement. Even help to build some mental and fine-motor skills. But there are times when such diversions do more than supposed. At least, that’s what’s been discovered courtesy of a New York Times piece via The Verge.

Some Android Games Tracking TV Habits using Smartphone Microphone

According to the news report, over 250 Android games available through Google Play use a special code of software to track users’ TV viewing habits. The software piece, known as “Alphonso,” collects data through smartphone microphones in order to give marketers more insight to in turn, create more personalized ads. Additionally, the software likewise provides data about ad effectiveness.

Of course, there is usually some sort of user notification or disclaimer. (Typically tucked neatly inside an app’s privacy policy and/or user agreement.) In such instances, the mobile app still requires access to the microphone. But, the developer is not required to disclose what said access is for.

At this time, there is no confirmation how many apps and games use the spyware on Android and iOS. However, estimates set it at about 1,000 programs, currently. It’s important to note that this software does not listen to human voices. The code instead specifically listens for audio from movies, music, TV, and advertisements.