Think you muted it? Better think again. A mute microphone does not stop Big Tech from recording audio.
Every time you use the video conference app, it sends audio to the company hosting the service. According to new research, This includes audio and background noise, whether on-air or muted. Researchers have researched many popular Big Tech apps to determine the extent to which video conference apps collect data when users are using the mute button in the software.
According to a finding, unfortunately, we can’t see any Big Tech–tested apps. So for now, you can’t name it and shame it. However, since 2022, the validity is not necessarily questionable. This does not mean that we cannot conclude. According to research on the video conference app, this data may be used to extract meaningful information. And with a little machine learning, this information can give you a very clear picture of your reality, even if your app has to keep you muted. By identifying specific audio data transmitted during the test and extrapolating that data, the research team was able to predict what conclusions Big Tech would draw.
Of course, Big Tech uses AI to analyze everything. So researchers built their algorithms to examine the data. What they found was great. In short, graduate students were able to create a machine learning model that could determine what users of the video conference app, were doing while muting the microphone with a precision of 80% or better.
File: Imagine what Google or Microsoft can do with a giant AI model.
Neural’s Take: Do you need to worry? Yes. absolutely. Should I stop using these apps? No, it’s not an option for everyone.
Our real concern is that Big Tech knows that the user is recording, doesn’t care if it’s muted, or keeps believing that the user cares. In any case, it shows a worrying level of separation from the user experience. Big Tech’s implicit motto is “data at all costs”, which is just to show how thirsty the beast is. There is no reason not to explicitly notify the user in uppercase that the mute button will not stop sending audio to the server. Fortunately, you have a choice. If you want to mute the audio feed, you need to double-mute. If you’re lucky, if you own a headset with a physical mute button, use it to mute the headset and then use the app’s buttons as an additional layer of mute.
If your headset doesn’t have a physical mute button, or if you’re communicating using the built-in microphone, you’ll need to mute the microphone in your operating system settings, stay muted, and system mute the headset. Ultimately, it’s unclear what Big Tech is doing with this data. The scope of the survey did not include the Big Tech survey. We will update this article when Zoom, Microsoft, or Google come back for clarification. But no matter what, the fact that it is being collected under such deceptive circumstances is a major concern. It is a policy for users to force users to go to the operating system menu to ensure some privacy. In addition, it shows how sensitive audio data is to video data. Everyone, don’t forget to double-mute. Sometimes you may forget to unmute, but a compromise allows Google, Microsoft, and everyone else to train their machine to the noise around their personal lives.