Big Tech is listening and tracking your voice recordings. How to make it stop!

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Most of what you type, say, search and buy is being tracked in one way or another. Big Tech gives us great free products to use, and the price is our privacy. 

Even your TV habits are packaged up and sold to advertisers. Here’s how to stop your TV from spying on you. 

Some snooping is even more invasive. Worried someone is spying on your phone? Check this list of red flags

You can fight back You can buy a mic blocker for around $10. It slides into your headphone port to stop recording. For an even cheaper DIY option, buy the most inexpensive pair of headphones you can find and snip them off. 

Here’s how to limit what you’re handing over to Big Tech. 

Amazon 

Whenever I write that your Echo device is always listening, Amazon assures me it’s only listening for the “wake word.” I don’t see the difference here. Either way, if you have an Echo, there’s not much point in keeping it around if you turn off the microphone. 

The real issue is Amazon employees listening to your recordings. Here’s how to stop that: 

  • Open the Alexa app on your phone, then tap the More menu button.
  • Select Settings > Alexa Privacy.
  • Choose Manage Your Alexa Data.
  • Turn off the toggles next to “Help improve Alexa” and “Use messages to improve transcriptions.”

You can turn the Echo’s mic off for extra privacy in certain situations. Press the microphone’s off/on button at the top of the device. Whenever this button is red, the mic is off. To reactivate it, press the button again, and it will turn blue. 

Ugh, come on, Alexa. Read our list of the most annoying Echo issues solved

A mom tweeted this week that her Amazon Echo recommended the dangerous “outlet challenge” to her 10-year-old daughter.
(iStock)

Your cell phone 

Do you rely on Siri to get things done for you? You might not realize how much is being sent back to Apple’s servers. 

Since you can’t really pick and choose what is shipped off and stored, your best bet is shutting down Siri if you’re not comfortable with Apple having your recordings. 

  • Open the Settings app on your iPhone.
  • Scroll down and tap Siri & Search.
  • Toggle the green switch next to “Listen for ‘Hey Siri’” to the off position.
  • You can also turn off “Allow Siri When Locked” to prevent Siri from activating when a button is pressed in your pocket.

WHY A GREEN AND ORANGE DOT ON YOUR PHONE CAN INDICATE SOMEONE LISTENING AND WATCHING

Use an Android? Here’s how to turn off the “OK Google” wake phrase: 

  • Open the Google app on your phone.
  • Tap your profile picture in the upper-right corner.
  • Choose Settings > Google Assistant > General.
  • Slide the toggle next to Google Assistant to the left to turn it off.

Your apps might be listening, too. Go here for steps to see which apps and snooping and how to stop them. 

Women looking at her iPhone

Women looking at her iPhone
(Cyber Guy)

Your computer 

Are you worried about someone spying on you through your webcam? That’s easy: : Grab one of these cheap covers or put a Post-It over the lens if you don’t use it much. 

Unfortunately, you do have to root around your computer a bit to turn off mics. 

For PCs running Windows 10: 

  • Right-click on the Start button and open Device Manager.
  • In the Device Manager window, expand the audio inputs and outputs section, and you will see your microphone listed as one of the interfaces.
  • Right-click on Microphone and select Disable.

IPHONE HACK LETS YOU SEND SECRET TEXTS TO FRIENDS

On a Mac: 

  • Click the Apple menu > System Preferences…
  • Select Sound > then the Input tab.
  • Drag the Input volume slider to the left so it can’t pick up any sound.

The internet is a dangerous place – Signup for my free tech email newsletter. 

PODCAST PICK: Tesla lies, Walmart drone secrets, no more Netflix password sharing 

Man on a Computer

Man on a Computer
(Cyberguy.com)

Plus, Amazon’s big layoffs spell trouble ahead, four ways to tell if an image is real or Photoshopped, prosecutors reveal murder suspect Brian Walshe’s Google searches, the right height for your doorbell cam and how to block annoying scam calls so you don’t lose money. 

Check out my podcast “Kim Komando Today” on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify, or your favorite podcast player. 

Listen to the podcast here or wherever you get your podcasts. Just search for my last name, “Komando.” 

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Get more tech know-how on The Kim Komando Show, broadcast on 425+ radio stations and available as a podcast. Sign up for Kim’s 5-minute free morning roundup for the latest security breaches and tech news. Need help? Drop your question for Kim here.  

Copyright 2023, WestStar Multimedia Entertainment. All rights reserved. By clicking the shopping links, you’re supporting my research. As an Amazon Associate, I earn a small commission from qualifying purchases. I only recommend products I believe in.  



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