Phones, False Advertising, & You:
Apps Keep Listen When ‘Closed’

The Apps Are Listening!


Are your mobile phone’s apps listening to you?  You might not think so, and yet a recent article on Wired.com reports that there’s a good chance your phone is listening to you right now as your read this article

Disclaimer: If you are reading this in Project REAL’s App, rest assured we are not listening to you, and encourage you to check our app’s permission settings in your phone if you would like verification.

According to the article, a large amount of the most downloaded apps in the iTunes, Google Play, and Windows Apps stores require users to grant them permission to access a phone’ s microphone.  This permission is then used by the app to listen for ‘ultrasonic beacons’ – sounds the human ear can’t detect that trigger a reaction in the app.  If you’re familiar with Shazam, imagine if you were home listening to music while doing your homework and you opened the app to find it had not only recorded every song that played while you listened, but ordered those songs from an online music store!

To some this revelation is concerning, though to others it just doesn’t matter.  Perhaps you don’t mind if a McDonalds app hears an ultrasonic frequency that lets it know you skipped school to catch a matinee of the new movie you’ve been dying to see.  Perhaps they’ll use that information to decide to partner with the film’s producers if there’s a sequel.  What if you have an app from your workplace on your phone and it tells your employers you were at a movie on a day you called in sick?  Suddenly, the thought of your phone listening for ultrasonic beacons without your consent each time becomes rather frightening, doesn’t it?



1) Why should there be or not be laws preventing these techniques? 

2) Why Should consumers have a right or not have a right to be notified every time an app wishes to listen for beacons? 

3) Why should there be or not be time limits (where an app can only listen for so much time after each authorization to do so)?  

Be sure to provide full explanations for each of your answers. For more details, you can read the article this piece was sourced from here::


Apps, GPaY, Law Related Education, Learning is Fun, Learning Law is Fun, LRE, Privacy, Privacy & You, Privacy Law, Privacy Policy, Project REAL, Project REAL NV, Project Real Org, Ultrasonic Beacons,

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