No, Your Phone Isn't Listening In On You



With technology advancing as quickly as it does, it’s only natural for lawmakers to have concerns about privacy with consumers. Media reports, whether merited or not, have been claiming that certain smart devices have responded to, or even recorded, conversations without being prompted by the keywords their makers intended.

Not so, says Apple

Responding to an inquiry from the Energy and Commerce Committee regarding this issue, Timothy Powderly, Apple’s Director of Federal Government Affairs claimed there are many ways their iPhones are safeguarded to protect from such privacy invasions. Such claims were:

  • There is an obvious visual alert when Siri is listening to your voice commands.
  • The guidelines for third-party applications must follow this rule as well as visual indicators.
  • Users must grant access to the microphone with each application, and can revoke it just as easily in the settings.

Privacy is a fundamental human right according to Apple. Powderly also went on to say that privacy is important to Apple as a company, and their products are designed to “minimize the collection of consumer data.”

What about other companies?

Other large tech companies such as Facebook have also been accused of using consumer data collected without permission from audio and visual sources, which the company denies. Even though Google has decided not to comment regarding Android devices, you will likely hear the same response from any tech giant regarding their privacy policy.

What do security companies say about it?

Surprisingly, security companies that have a number one focus on safeguarding personal information say there is nothing to worry about regarding technology recording conversations or using the camera without permission. Targeted advertising is the work of sophisticated software and algorithms only, so they claim.

Still, Chris Calabrese, VP of policy at the Center for Democracy & Technology, claims that’s not good enough. “We really need a baseline privacy law that protects people.”