Source: Samsung

It is not the first time that we are hearing about a technology giant trying to spy into your web and emails to target you with innumerable ads but it is probably the first time we are hearing that the popular smartphone maker ‘Samsung’ is doing it. The phones made by the company use a technology that can spy on what the user is reading and watching online.

Samsung phones use tech that monitor emails in your inbox

According to the report by the news site ‘The Sun’, the phones of the South Korean smartphone maker switch onto spy mode after they are alerted by a “beacon.” The said beacon is often embedded in signals hidden in online adverts or in web pages. “Samsung want to get to know you – but they are behaving like a peeping Tom,” said Jim Killock, Executive Director of Open Rights Group.

Mr. Killock added that the South Korea based smartphone maker has taken spying on its customers to a whole new level. He added, “What you can’t see, and can’t hear, won’t worry you — or so it hopes. It needs to own up and switch it off before their customers wise up and ditch them.”

It is quite likely that the user has already agreed for the smartphone making company to snoop into their emails and web if they use a Samsung handset. The Korean smartphone maker makes reference to it (the spying technologies) on several pages on its privacy policy. It says, “We, along with certain third parties, also may use technologies called beacons or pixels that communicate information from your device to a server. Beacons can be embedded in online content, videos and emails and allow a server to read certain types of information from your device, know when you have viewed particular content or a particular email message, determine the time and date on which you viewed the beacon and the IP address of your device.”

Samsung admits that it uses beacon

The report by The Sun adds that the smartphone agrees they are doing it (using beacons) for a variety of purposes including to analyze how the phones are being used and to provide ads and content that are more relevant to their users.

In an interview to the Sun Online, the Korean smartphone maker said that it takes consumer privacy very seriously and their products are designed with privacy in mind. A spokesperson, however, said that they would like to assure their customers that ultrasonic beacon technology is not embedded on Samsung mobile devices. The spokesperson added, “Our privacy policy on beacons applies to the use of web beacons, a technology that is widely used across the industry and differs significantly to that of ultrasonic beacons. There is no relation between ultrasonic beacons and the functions embedded in our mobile products.” According to German researchers, these ultrasonic beacons can link the watching of even sensitive content like political documentations or adult movies to a single individual, even at varying locations. If you are a Samsung user and love your privacy, then we wish you well.