The internet is full of articles warning how tech giants are listening to us through our phones, and collecting valuable personal data to sell. The theory has gained traction, with many claiming that a product they had verbally discussed later appeared in an ultra-personalised ad. In a world where privacy is more compromised than ever, should we be worried?

Last year, mobile security company Wandera decided to put this theory to the test. They put two phones, an Android and an iPhone, into an ‘audio room’ where pet food ads were played on repeat. Reassuringly, the ads on these phones were not found to be significantly different to identical phones placed in silent rooms. There was also no noticeable spike in battery or data usage to indicate the collection and transfer of data. Though tech giants are unnervingly good at targeted ads, it seems your phone is probably not listening to you.

To find out more about changing human-computer interactions and how researchers at the University of Malta and Trust Stamp are using AI to protect online security, join a discussion hosted by Science in the City on Wednesday at 8pm.

Book your free place for ‘AI & Security: Your data is in whose hands?’ at https://bit.ly/YourData2020.

For details on the main festival, go to sciencein thecity.org.mt.

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