A recent report revealed that over 250 mobile games were found to have software which can track the TV watching habits of their users. Alphonso produced the software, and the reach of the software even extends to the Apple App store.

Always-listening devices like Amazon’s Echo and Google Home are already quite creepy but always-listening mobile games takes creepy to a whole new level. Games like Beer Pong, Pool 3D, Real Bowling Strike 10 Pin, Trickshot, and Quest as long as hundreds more use software from Alphonso, a startup specialized in “TV retargeting.” When watching TV, you likely use your smartphone or tablet during commercial breaks, and the software Alphonso collects data on what you are watching to deliver targeted ads to your mobile device based on that data.

In a chat with the New York Times, Alphonso CEO Ashish Chordia said the company’s software was able to get data from those who don’t turn off their mobile phones while watching TV. He went on to mention a deal which Alphonso has with Shazam, one which Apple recently purchased. According to the deal, Alphonso picks up snippets of audio data and provides it to Shazam which then puts the audio through content-recognition technology to identify users. Once that has been done, Shazam sells the data back to Alphonso.

So, for example, a company like Ford could target viewers of Monday Night Football to purchase ad time from ESPN and send ads to mobile phones and tablets because they know you are watching the game.

While for the apps, they use microphones in smartphone tablets to pay attention to “audio signals” which allow the software know when someone is watching a particular movie, TV show or ad. Even creepier, this occurs whether games are in the foreground or background and whether the games need or don’t need microphones to work.

There have been issues raised about the problem of invasion of privacy, but According to Chordia, in their app description and privacy policy, the company is not able to get access to your device’s location and microphones unless you agree and the consumer can opt in and out anytime.

However, according to Justin Brookman, Union director of consumer privacy policy, Alphonso’s business practices are not clear; instead, they are misleading. Alphonso is playing a dangerous game.

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Nicholas is a social entrepreneur, passionate marketeer, career + life coach, consultant, speaker, and community builder. He does this through 1-on-1 coaching, non-profit and businesses consulting, and on a larger scale as Co-founder + Managing Director of CFM Group. He is an internationally recognized strategist, coach, speaker and in the process of writing his 1st book. Possessing over 13 years’ experience in helping clients realise their potential through clarifying their vision, message and market to design the strategies and roadmaps needed to succeed. Utilising this extensive background in strategic planning, pitch and message design, marketing and communications, executive and speaker coaching was his pathway to founding www.CFMGroup.co.uk. His knowlegde was fundamental in building the company with an investment capital of £1 and a large social impact community and professional development hub in Cambridge, UK. Feel free to comment on any of our articles that interests you or message our CEO directly at Nick@CFMGroup.co.uk ! We hope you enjoy our blog !

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