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SPY-PHONE - Samsung’s ‘Peeping Tom’ Smartphones

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From the article: "Samsung’s beacon technology lets it watch EVERYTHING you’re browsing – even porn."

Someone in the comments says that 'all' smartphones do this ... I don't know, I don't have one.

SPY-PHONE - Samsung’s ‘peeping Tom’ smartphones can listen and watch what you do on the web while monitoring your emails to target you with ads

The Sun can exclusively reveal that many Brits have no idea they've allowed Korean manufacturer Samsung to monitor them through their smartphone



By Margi Murphy

Updated: 8th June 2017

SAMSUNG phones use technology which can spy on what you’re reading and watching online – and monitor emails in your inbox.

The phones switch onto spy mode after they are alerted by a “beacon” often embedded in web pages or sent as an ultrasonic signal hidden in telly or online adverts.

Samsung have been using beacons or pixels to track your phone use for some time – and YOU agreed to it

After learning of the Sun Online investigation, Jim Killock, Executive Director of Open Rights Group warned that “Samsung want to get to know you – but they are behaving like a peeping Tom”.

He added: “Samsung have taken spying on their customers to a whole new level.

“What you can’t see, and can’t hear, won’t worry you — or so it hopes.

“It needs to own up and switch it off before their customers wise up and ditch them.”

If you use a Samsung phone, it’s likely that you’ve already agreed for the phone maker to snoop on you.

The Korean manufacturer makes reference to it on several pages in on its privacy policy.

It writes: “We, along with certain third parties, also may use technologies called beacons or pixels that communicate information from your device to a server.

“Beacons can be embedded in online content, videos and emails and allow a server to read certain types of information from your device, know when you have viewed particular content or a particular email message, determine the time and date on which you viewed the beacon and the IP address of your device.”

They explain that they are doing this for a “variety of purposes” including to analyse how the phones are being used and “to provide content and ads that are more relevant to you”.

Google recently removed apps that used ultrasonic beacons to track users after hero computer scientists discovered 230 apps that secretly tracked Android smartphone owners.

The German government-sponsored group warned that “device tracking is a serious threat to the privacy of users, as it enables spying on their habits and activities”.

Apple clearly states on its privacy policy that it uses pixel tags and web beacons on its websites, online services, interactive apps, emails and adverts but says it will not share your IP address (which can identify your location, name and personal details) with third parties.

There are many different kinds of beacons, including ultrasonic, media tracking and location beacons.

Location beacons can be incredibly helpful – like in the case of Gatwick airport where it is using the technology to help guide passengers to their boarding gates.

The beacons provide a Google Maps-style service which helps navigate from Duty Free to your departure gate.

But they are more commonly used to create intrusive profiles of a user so they can be sold customised advertising.

Samsung’s beacon technology lets it watch EVERYTHING you’re browsing – even porn.

German researchers claimed these ultrasonic beacons can “link the watching of even sensitive content such as adult movies or political documentations to a single individual – even at varying locations.

“Advertisers can deduce what and how long an individual is watching and obtain a detailed user profile to deliver highly customised advertisements,” they wrote.

Tristan Liverpool, Director of Systems Engineering, F5 Networks told The Sun Online that smartphone manufacturers used beacons as a way to promote their devices and nab a cut of any sales for retailers made using their phones.

He said: “Beaconing is an inconspicuous way of marketing and apps have increasingly incorporated ultrasonic tones to monitor consumers.

“They ask permission to access your smartphone microphone, then listen for inaudible ‘beacons’ that emanate from retail stores, advertisements and even websites.

“If you’re not paying attention to the permissions you grant, you could be feeding marketers and other entities information about your online browsing, what stores you go to and your product preferences without realising it.

“Smartphone manufacturers can use this method as another way to promote their devices, and as another revenue stream by taking a percentage of any new business generated for retailers.” Samsung has not answered the Sun Online’s requests for comment.

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