With rising concerns for privacy these days, advertisers are having an increasingly difficult time gathering personal consumer data. MobileRL, an Israeli start-up, is looking to change or “revolutionize” the way information is collected for ad purposes. The Israeli company wants you to download software onto your phone which will allow them to turn it into an eavesdropping device. Your phone’s microphone can be turned on at any time, at MobileRL’s discretion, so it can listen to what’s going on at any given time. This new “data collection tool” is obviously going to need user consent since you have to download it yourself, so that might mitigate most legal issues (unless you live in a place where they can force something like this on you). But we know the real issue here, and if they can turn your phone’s microphone on at any time and run it for how long they want, how will that affect your phone’s battery life?
UPDATE: We’ve been told by MobileRL that the audio is actually 100% encrypted, and is turned on at specific intervals, then analyzed electronically without human interference. It’s then compared digitally to radio and broadcast channels to determine what the user was listening to / watching. It’s also in very limited testing with a research company, and obviously all of the participants have given permission for this trial.