They Just Want to Know YOUSeems like every week there’s another story about privacy and how someone wants to invade it. Perhaps you heard about how Shazam was called out because it was using mic access to record all the time . . even when the app was off! The Privacy issues are usually related to an app—like Insta or Shazam or Facebook.
Are you giving Apps access to your microphone?Hundreds of apps that can listen through a microphone and get information about you in a whole new way. My friend Colleen just sent me a link to a story from Wired. It’s about how some retail stores and even some websites, have beacon technologies that send out infrared audio signals that we can’t hear, but the microphones in our phones can hear. The technology is used to know where we are, what we’re doing, even what we’re looking at. It’s not too widespread just YET (it’s mostly limited to Android phones, but it’s coming!).
You control Apps access to your Mic privacyThese apps access your microphone IF you allow them to. You may have enabled microphone permissions and not even realized it. So, head over to your iPhone Privacy (the hand icon) right now, and check to see what the Microphone is listening to. It's easy. Here's how:
Microphone Privacy Check
-On an iPhone Under Settings > click Privacy >under privacy> click microphone, here you’ll see a list of the apps you have that want to access your mic. Toggle to disable.
-With Android Option 1: Under Settings> then Apps> click gear icon the click App Permissions. Here is a list of Android functions such as location and microphone. Click Microphone and you will see the list of apps that are requesting access to your microphone. Toggle off .
Android Option 2 : Under Settings> then Apps> the permissions are specific in each App.
So like above. Go to Settings then Apps You'll see the full list of each App on your phone. Click the particular app and you will see App permissions you'll see a toggle for microphone. Disable the setting.
Note: Many apps like Google will have the default of All permissions granted so you need to check
The story about Beacons mentions that these work even without a data or WIFI connection.
And let’s not forget your computer. It has a mic, too. If you have a PC or a Mac head to System Prefs > Sound and turn the input volume way down . . .
Cover your Computer Microphone for Privacy
Disabling Microphone access is Step 1. However, microphone hacking is not a myth. It happens. And we know that it's more likely to happen with the more Apps you have on your phone. Bad actors access your microphone through Apps and some Apps are easier to access then others. We recommend avoiding voice access on your cellphones and computers just to be safe.
The tried and true method for webcam and microphone privacy is simply to COVER them. Here's How:
Block Your Microphone
Use a Creep Blocker Decal over the Microphone. I love my Creep Blocker Privacy Stickers. They give you both webcam and microphone privacy in a fun, creative and happy way!
Here's where you can find the location of your laptop microphone
Also, a question that I do get asked a lot: "Can my phone or computer hear me even when it’s OFF?" I don’t know. It’s not supposed to work that way, but I've heard people tell me some incredible stories. If you’re worried about it, I have a great answer. It’s this:
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We hope you'll try any of these simple steps to make sure your business STAYS your business.
xo August and the Tech Wellness Team