Ever get the feeling your phone is recording you? Well that’s because it probably is, as Google has a My Activity section that allows you to listen to everything an Android handset has recorded you saying.
Dig into the account section of an Android phone running a fairly up-to-date version of Google mobile operating system, and tap on the ‘personal info & privacy’ section then scroll down until you find the ‘My Activity’ section.
Tap on that and you’ll be directed to a web page detailing all the activity on your Google Account. This ranges from searches to app use and what you’ve been asking the Google Assistant.
Tap – or click if you’re viewing your account on a web browser – your way to a section titled ‘Voice & Audio’ and rather disturbingly you can listen back to all of the audio Google has recorded you saying.
Now Google hasn’t been recording phone conversations, but every time you use the Google Assistant or make a voice search, then the search giant records exactly what you’ve been saying. Those recordings include captured audio during accidental Google Assistant activation, which means Google could have snippets of all manner of conversations and things you may have had and said.
Google notes that My Activity allows users to “rediscover the things that you’ve searched for, visited and watched on Google services”. But it does a good job of showing just how much data we appear to willingly share with many tech companies.
There are controls in My Activity that allow you to switch off the recording Google does, but they are all enabled by default.
This means if you didn’t know any better and breeze past terms and conditions and dialogue boxes noting the permissions you’re giving apps, you’re likely to have been and are being recorded without explicitly knowing it; it’s just as well that Google’s long time motto is ‘Don’t be evil’.
Is such recording a massive invasion of privacy or a useful tool? Let us know on Facebook or tweet @TrustedReviews.