Some Android Games Are Listening In To Learn Your TV Viewing Habits

Ad Targeting Software Data is the currency of the internet age, and advertisers are always looking for new ways to gather as much of it as they possibly can....

Ad Targeting Software

Data is the currency of the internet age, and advertisers are always looking for new ways to gather as much of it as they possibly can. Using software from startup Alphonso, each of these Android games requests user permission for access to the device’s microphone, which is then used to monitor for various TV programs and sometimes even while the game isn’t actively being played. Some of the games that are monitored are even geared toward children. When the software has access to the phone’s microphone, it can even pick up sounds when it is in a pocket or when a game is being played.

Alphonso’s software can detail what people watch by identifying audio signals in TV ads and shows, sometimes even matching that information with the places people visit and the movies they see. The information can then be used to target ads more precisely and to try to analyze things like which ads prompted a person to go buy certain products or shop for particular items. Alphonso claims in its privacy section that users are always asked before any data gathering takes place. Most of the apps that contain Alphonso’s software also include a disclaimer in their product descriptions explaining the reasons for the conditions and allowing the users the chance to opt out.

“The consumer is opting in knowingly and can opt out any time,” Ashish Chordia, Alphonso’s chief executive, said, adding that the company’s disclosures comply with Federal Trade Commission guidelines.  Google Play offers the sale of more than 250 games that use the Alphonso software.

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