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1 in 2 citizens surveyed, says received ads based on private conversation

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One in every two citizens surveyed in India acknowledges that they have received ads based on their private conversations. Nearly 53 percent of the citizens surveyed said they have had one or more instances in last 12 months where they saw advertisements on web/app based on their phone conversations, said a survey from LocalCircles. There are many apps that ask users’ permission to access their microphone; however, in many cases, users are not made aware for what reason their phone microphone is being used and where this data is being shared, other than the service they require.

There are several apps—for instance, gaming apps require users’ permission to access their microphone—and a few of them go to the extent of recording a user’s voice thereby violating the privacy rights of the user. In the absence of a data protection regime, some websites and apps are using loopholes to manipulate data for various advertising purposes, said the survey. LocalCircles, in a report, said that it has been receiving thousands of posts and comments over the past 12 months on people’s data being shared without their consent and in several cases, people even complained about seeing advertisements based on their voice conversations.

To understand the magnitude of this issue, LocalCircles conducted a survey, which received more than 38,000 responses from citizens residing in 307 districts of India. Around 62 percent of the respondents were men while 38 per cent were women. While 48 percent respondents were from tier-1 cities, 27 per cent were from tier-2 cities and 25 per cent respondents were from tier-3, 4 and rural districts.

The survey understood the magnitude of the issue of voice conversations leading to targeted ads and also attempted to understand the aggregate percentage of users who have given their smartphone’s microphone access to different apps. Citizens were asked what are all the apps that they have given their contact list access to and were given multiple options. If the responses are analysed, 84 per cent of citizens have given access to their contact list on Whatsapp, 51 per cent have given access to Facebook or Instagram and 41 per cent have given access to Truecaller.

Breaking down the poll, 49 per cent said “Google apps,” 33 per cent said “Skype” and 20 per cent said “Twitter. ” There were also 31 per cent of citizens, who said “Paytm/PhonePay/ Mobiwik” and 10 per cent said “snapchat/signal/telegram” and 14 per cent said “others. ” This question in the survey received 9,802 responses.

Following where the findings: Majority of those surveyed had given microphone access of their mobile phone to audio /video calls, social media and audio recording apps 84 per cent smartphones users surveyed in India have given their contact list access to whatsapp; 51 per cent have to Facebook or Instagram or both; 41 per cent have given access to apps like Truecaller In the absence of a personal data protection regime, citizens are left vulnerable to data breach.


From: business-standard
URL: https://www.business-standard.com/article/technology/1-in-every-2-citizens-surveyed-says-received-ads-based-on-private-exchange-122052600155_1.html

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