Facebook working on software that secretly forces phone to record audio

Submitted by tess on Thu, 06/28/2018 - 13:26
Jun
22
Fri
Facebook working on software that secretly forces phone to record audio

Facebook is working on software that orders users’ smartphones to record audio when triggered by an inaudible sound hidden in TV ads. In a patent application published on June 14, Facebook’s research division revealed a system which lets it secretly tell people’s mobile phones to capture “ambient audio.”

The patent application is called “broadcast content view analysis based on ambient audio recording,” and it’s creepy as all hell.

The system allows Facebook to conceal a digital sound in the audio of television ads. This sound is unhearable to human ears, but the Facebook software can hear it and it will send a message to your smartphone to begin recording.

The phone will record audio that Facebook describes as “distinct and subtle sounds of a particular location created by the environment of the location, such as machinery noise, the sound of distant human movement and speech, creaks from thermal contraction, and air conditioning and plumbing noises in a household.” Notice how cleverly tucked away “speech” is in the middle of that flowery description of “ambient noise.”

Of course, Facebook only designed this system to monitor what people watch on their “broadcasting device” so their Facebook feed can then be chock full of targeted ads. It gives their clients the best possible billboard for campaigns and lets them know who is really tuning into their ads.

The more muffled the “ambient noise” the more likely the user has ditched the TV ad and gone to grab a beer. That’s all this system does. There is no ethical questions to be asked about advertisers being let into users’ homes uninvited to record private conversations. That’s an inconsequential bi-product of a Facebook feed full of shiny coveted products.

Facebook has filed thousands of patent applications since it went public in 2012 and they reveal that the company has considered tracking almost every aspect of users’ lives: where you are, who you spend time with, whether you’re in a romantic relationship, which brands and politicians you’re talking about. It has even attempted to patent a method for predicting when your friends will die.


Twitshot

Privacy-Policy

NOS Microsystems Limited and certain of its subsidiary companies in Administration ("the Companies").

This website is provided by the Companies. The administrators act at all times as agents of the Companies without personal liability. The following disclaimer excludes or limits the liability of the Companies and their respective joint administrators (together "NOS Microsystems Ltd.") for this site to the fullest extent permitted by law. Please ensure that you read it carefully.

Every attempt has been made to ensure that the information contained in this website has been obtained from reliable sources. However, all information in this website is provided "as is" with no guarantees of completeness, accuracy or timeliness, unless otherwise stated within this site. In addition, please note that all information provided on this website is subject to change at any time, and NOS Microsystems Ltd. cannot guarantee that the information provided is the most current and up to date. You are advised to independently verify any information you may wish to rely on.

Anybody entering this site may connect to other websites maintained by third parties over whom NOS Microsystems Ltd. has no control. NOS Microsystems Ltd. makes no representations as to the accuracy or to any other aspects of information contained in other websites, and accepts no liability in respect of the same.

This website uses cookies that help the website to function and also to track how you interact with it. We will only use the cookies if you consent to it by clicking n Accept. You can also manage individual cookie preferences from Settings.

Preferences