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Here’s Why Muting Your Mic During Video Call Won’t Stop Tech Companies From Recording You

Big tech companies are notorious for harvesting some pretty huge quantities of data from the people that use their services, and video conferencing apps are particularly troublesome in that respect. A new study conducted by researchers at the University of Wisconsin recently revealed that such apps don’t just record parts of your audio, rather they record all of that data even if you mute your audio with all things having been considered and taken into account.

The research went beyond simply confirming that video conferencing apps do this and tried to see how much audio data they could harvest if their in-app mute buttons are turned on. With all of that having been said and now out of the way, it is important to note that one of the apps that they tested ended up recording all of your raw audio data if you had yourself muted, and all of the tested software recorded at least some of your audio regardless of whether you had your mic turned on or not in the app.

Various machine learning models were used as part of this research, and all the results indicated that big tech does not care about user privacy quite as much as they are trying to make people believe. What’s even more concerning is that we just don’t know what they might be trying to use this data for, and chances are that this data is being used to optimize their services although this is not something they should be able to do without obtaining the consent of their users beforehand.

The best way to prevent tech companies from recording you is to double mute because of the fact that this is the sort of thing that could potentially end up preventing any audio from entering your system in the first place. Muting your audio from your system and then doing it once again within the app will give you a pretty secure space to talk freely in, since there would be no raw data that such companies can obtain from you thereby giving you a reasonable level of privacy and freedom.

With remote work continuing to be incredibly prevalent all around the world, plenty of big tech companies are trying to capitalize on this by harvesting the maximum quantity of data that their apps can gain access to. Hence, users need to be ever vigilant, but in spite of the fact that this is the case a surprisingly small proportion of them are taking the necessary steps towards safeguarding their privacy. This could lead to many more problems for user privacy and general data usage.


Read next: Privacy Advocates Petition FTC to Regulate Location Data Industry

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