The U.S. Federal Trade Commission reportedly sent letters to 12 smartphone app developers warning them about packaging audio monitoring software in their products, according to Computerworld.
The software used in the apps, which is made by SilverPush, reportedly uses a smartphone’s microphone “to listen to nearby television audio in an effort to deliver more targeted advertisements.”
The FTC said the 12 developers they warned are believed to have used SilverPush code in apps that are currently available in the Google Play store,
The audio listening function in the apps is reportedly designed to run silently in the background, even while the user is not actively using the application.
"Using this technology, SilverPush could generate a detailed log of the television content viewed while a user’s mobile phone was turned on,” the FTC said in its letter.
"These apps were capable of listening in the background and collecting information about consumers without notifying them," Jessica Rich, director of the FTC’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, said in a statement.