Yes, your phone is listening to you
No, you're not paranoid and, yes, your phone is listening to you
Senior cyberscecurity consultant Dr Peter Hannay explained to VICE how smartphones are eavesdropping on your conversations and saving the information for use by third-party apps such as Facebook and Instagram.
The former lecturer and researcher at Edith Cowan University explained that your smartphone usually needs a 'trigger' such as saying "Hey Siri" or "Okay Google", which processes info online, but it will also listen to your conversations and process 'non-triggered' conversations within your phone.
“From time to time, snippets of audio do go back to [other apps like Facebook’s] servers but there’s no official understanding what the triggers for that are,” explains Dr Hannay.
“Whether it’s timing or location-based or usage of certain functions, [apps] are certainly pulling those microphone permissions and using those periodically. All the internals of the applications send this data in encrypted form, so it’s very difficult to define the exact trigger.”
He also explains that any word could be a trigger, such as planning a holiday or discussing tonight's dinner. He also said that the key word is “could,” because Facebook vehemently deny listening to our conversations.