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Scientists have named applications that can listen to users even with the microphone turned off

Scientists analyzed 223 video conferencing programs

Scientists at the University of Wisconsin-Madison studied

The author of the study Kassem Fawaz noted that these are applications based on iOS, Android, Windows and Mac.

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Scientists analyzed 223 video conferencing programs, including Zoom, Slack, MS Teams/Skype, Google Meet, Cisco Webex, BlueJeans, WhereBy, GoToMeeting, Jitsi Meet, Discord, and others. Some of them sometimes collect data even when the microphone is off, and some of them deliver the data to their server.

«In the vast majority of cases, when you disable recording, these programs do not refuse access to the microphone . This is problem. When you're offline, you don't expect these programs to collect data»,” Kassem Fawaz explained.

Thus, companies can have data about what their users are doing at a particular moment: cooking, listening to music and so on. The team was able to determine background activity based on these sounds with an average accuracy of 82%.

Researchers believe that the problem can be fixed by using easily accessible software switches or even hardware switches that allow users to manually turn microphones on and off.

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