They Just Want to Know YOU
Seems 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!
They Just Want To Listen To You Through Your Device
This is CRA and out of control.
We hear it all the time
More and more people are telling us that something they simply talked about or watched on TV, that particular topic weirdly showed up in an ad on Facebook. Well, it could be the microphone access on the FaceBook Messenger app, (as it was in fact in the recent reporting of 1,000's of Facebook workers checking messages! ) on your phone or another app.
Just like Shazam, these apps could be randomly or continually pulling audio off the internal mic. In other words, it's always listening. Facebook claimed they're not spying on you and that they didn't have the capability to do so.
But now that the secret we've all suspected is out, confirmed by news reports from really excellent sources like The Guardian and CNET who reported the Google breach, we're finding it hard to believe that all of our Apps aren't listening--because they certainly have the ability to.
Are Apps accessing your microphone?
You Can Turn Off the Microphone on iPhone and Android- Here's HowThese 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 Which Apps Are Listening?
- -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.
- iPhone Option 2: Check Each Individual App. This way you will see ALL the functions you're giving the App Access to- Like your camera, location etc Under Settings>Click the APP> Untoggle or say Never!--Here's instagram
- -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.
Did you want Instagram to Listen- Sometimes, But Not When You're not Using it?
Then try closing your browser or closing the App when you're not using it. YES, you will have to log back in, but then again isn't that worth NOT getting that ad for that new lash-serum you were talking about when you were getting coffee with your bestie-- that ad that popped into your feed just as you left Starbucks? Yep. It's worth it.
These WORK GREAT To Block Computer Microphones!
Looking for your laptop microphone location?
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
For iPhone users--Let's Get Super Serious About Privacy
Yes, You do Siri--and that's the Problem
Siri has been listening and Apple has been saving your data!
You no doubt heard how Apple hired people to listen to Siri recordings. Really ridiculous privacy breaches have been happening with Facebook, Alexa and Google too.
Apple now has a way that you can get your Recent Voice Data erased--
Stop Siri From Listening. It's a two step process, but if you do this-Apple promises no more eavesdropping Apple Will Erase Your Saved Information Apple Uses to Respond To Your Requests!
Turn Off Apps!
First, You'll need to turn off Siri from all the Apps you've allowed to use Siri and Seach. Turning them off is a really good idea anyway, because when Siri is on--even if you're not using voice commands, anytime you search with Siri, you're agreeing to send your search terms and the results to Apple. Why do we want to do that anyway Apple? We'd be super fine with you not analyzing our results. Really.
Go To Settings and Scoll Down And Open every single App and untoggle the ability for Siri and Search.
Now Part 2 Of Our No Listening Policy:No Dictation
Apple tells us that if we want to really shut down Siri, we'll have to turn off dictaion too:
Settings>General>Keyboard It's right after Date & Time-When you Click Keyboard>Dictation--WHEN YOU TOGGLE IT OFF- You'll get a nice message from iPhone--just making sure you want to turn it off . . . say Yes!
MORE WAYS TO SILENCE YOUR MICROPHONE
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 AND Webcam On Your Computer! Block the Selfie Cam on Your Phone!
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
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 . . .
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 there is some new technology that could be privacy stealers.
Are Apps accessing your microphone in Other Ways?
Hundreds of apps that can listen through a microphone and get information about you in a whole new way. Retail stores and even some websites, have beacon technologies that send out un-detectable 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.The story about Beacons mentions that these work even without a data or WIFI connection.
Many Apps and Websites now have Service Workers That Keep The App On- Even when it's OFF
Yes, it's true. Some Service Workers--which is basically a script that your browser runs in the background, separate from a web page or app--that a developer builds into a app or website.
They start as a good idea-but sometimes go bad.
- Good- You compose an email, press send and shut your computer. A Service Worker installed can get that email sent-even with the computer not technically on.
- Good- Your'e logged off of all Apps, but you still get important Notifications-because of Service Worker technology
- Bad- Well, they can serve as source for hackers or the apps themselves to run in the background-- and run who knows what--? Chris Love from Love2Dev says that service workers actually cannot access your camera or microphone-just a site or app can.
- Bad-There could be a scenario where even a good service worker(like one set up to offer you notifications) could be subject to an attack from some outside hacker. Details on Love2Dev
Hyper-Cyber, Smart or Paranoid?
I'm the kind of person who just does not want Service Workers running in the background. My husband thinks I'm crazy, constantly erasing cookies and closing browser tabs. It just makes me feel safer. I've researched and heard that I could disable them completely by going into the code in Firefox--so I've done that.
I also read that since they are technically scripts, disabling Java Script on my iPhone could help. So I did. Chris Love a very smart developer and head of Love2Dev, a web development firm specializing in Apps said turning off Java Script works--but I also disable everything so I'll just see text on a page and images. He also pointed out that disabling Java Script only disables registered service workers. Which means the good above-board ones I imagine. Now I need to look into the un-registered ones.
Think an App May Be Too Snoopy?
I actually deleted one app that I thought may me a bit scammy- maybe using service workers in the an un-tasty way. Here's why:
First I went to settings and checked my Battery. It told me that some of my apps were running in the background and I had given them permission. So I stopped allowing that.
I turned Off Background Activity For All Apps--like this
I went a step further and went into my Screen Time settings
I chose Content & Privacy Restrictions I changed the default Allow to Don't Allow For Background App Refresh
Check Battery To See Which Apps Are Running and Get Details
Then, I waited 24 hours to see if any of the Apps I had turned off were still running and Yes, one of them was. Voxer. That was strange so I decide to delete this the Voxer App.
The Voxer App with the Background Activity I said No to, is no longer on my phone. And there's one more thing I do, just to keep my phone off the grid-
For when you want to be absolutely positively, private. A FARADY ALLOWS NO SIGNAL TO YOUR PHONE- And there’s a sweet side benefit: No EMFs
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No Signal in. No Signal out. This lovely little case renders energy to the cell phone completely void. Wireless EMF protection that's beautiful.
Please Visit the Privacy Collection to view Science Backed and Tested Privacy Products
Bur first, a quick recap of how to Stop Your Microphone From Listening:
Toggle Off iPhone or Android Microphone In Privacy Settings OR App Settings
Mute of Turn Down Microphone Access in System Settings On Your Computer
If you want Apps Or Sites To Have Mic Access, But Don't Want Them Listening All the TIME: Close Browser Tabs or Close Apps
Stop All Microphone Hacking With A Microphone Cover For Laptops and Desk Top Computers. CreepBlockers WORK!
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