Are smartphones spying on us?

You've likely heard the story from a friend, or maybe it's even happened to you. Someone saw a targeted ad after having a conversation about the same subject in front of their smart phone.

It's easy to jump to the conclusion that your smart phone is spying on you.

Well, not so much. Conspiracy theorists everywhere can rest easy. Researchers from Northeastern University decided to look into it, analyzing thousands of apps, and found none of them activate the microphone or send out audio without a user prompt. 

What they did find, though, is that many Android apps are capturing screen recordings and video recordings of what people are doing and then sending that data to third party companies. 

One of the recipients is a company called Appsee. They use the captured information to help developers make improvements on their apps. But the researchers also say some of the captured information could be sensitive, like banking or location information.

And without the consent of a user, the apps could be violating privacy policies.

As for what you can do to prevent applications capturing your data? Not much, unfortunately. You probably agreed to it without even knowing when you first used the app.