New Delhi: Have you ever felt that your mobile phone listens to your conversations? Do you feel that whatever you say, hear or search gets recorded? Has it happened that one moment you are searching for some product on the web and the next moment you get advertisements of that product on all your devices and apps? It could be because Google hears you.
Zee News Editor-in-Chief Sudhir Chaudhary on Wednesday (June 30) explained how the privacy of individuals is at risk as Google listens to their conversations and what one can do to reduce that risk.
On June 29, the parliamentary committee of IT called a meeting on the misuse of social media platforms, in which representatives of technology companies Google and Facebook appeared. During this, the parliamentary panel said that they doubt some of Google’s services and it seems that its apps listen to Indian users speak.
In this meeting, Google agreed that the company listens to some things of its users, but sensitive things are not heard.
Hearing this, the members of the parliamentary panel were surprised and the committee asked how Google decides what is sensitive and what is not. Google did not have a concrete answer to this question, after which the panel expressed concern over this whole matter and asked the IT Ministry to be present in the next meeting.
India’s Information Technology Act, 2000 doesn’t allow technology companies to listen to their users.
Google has many apps and services. Which of these listens to you?
Based on various reports, it is understood that the ‘Google Assistant’ listens to what people say. Google Assistant is such a feature, with the help of which you can open any website and content on Google Search Engine by just speaking, without typing anything. Google even has a policy regarding this.
This policy says that the conversations that happen between Google users and the Google Assistant are recorded by the company. But nowhere in this policy is it written that whether the company listens to the things that are recorded or not.
The company has now admitted that it even listens to these things. What’s even more shocking is that the company said that Google may record things even without the user having used the Google Assistant willingly.
This puts the privacy of people at risk. Here’s an example: Recently in the US, a woman wanted to give a surprise to her husband that she is pregnant. She started reading about pregnancy-related products on the web. And after this, the advertisements of what she had searched started appearing on all the devices of their house and the woman’s husband came to know that his wife is pregnant. What the woman kept a secret was sold by the company to other companies.
There are many similar cases and on many occasions, governments have acted against Google for privacy concerns.
The feature of Google Assistant is present in all android mobile phones sold around the world. It does not even have to be downloaded and people who buy these phones are automatically put at risk of losing their privacy.
There are some ways to protect your privacy from such apps:
1. Before using any app, make sure to read its terms and conditions.
2. You can auto-delete your data by going to Settings.
3. You can turn off the microphone through Settings on your smartphone.