The study calls for anyone with direct access to TV advertisements . You can download their Android app CatchBatTV and start recording original TV advertisements.
Did you know that your mobile device may be monitoring your TV habits without your knowledge? Now you can be part of a study of the Insitute of System Security at Technische Universität Braunschweig that will ultimately mitigate this insidious monitoring of your TV habits. Their current analysis suggests that Indian or Philippine TV advertisements likely contain these hidden audio signals. Since they are working in Germany, they have no direct access to Indian or Philippine TV advertisements.
(Disclosure: The study is part of a dissertation of the friend of my daughter’s colleague in Germany)
How can you help?
The study calls for anyone with direct access to TV advertisements in the Philippines . You can download their Android app CatchBatTV and start recording original TV advertisements.
I downloaded the app already and uploaded two TV ads . It’s easy to use. You simply press the start button and it starts recording the TV ad. You can choose to upload it later or immediately.
What is this SilverPush study about?
Their empirical study explores cross-device tracking with inaudible sound. In particular, the Institute will study the presence of near-ultrasonic signals in television audio, which are used by the adware SilverPush for cross-device tracking. A recently revealed patent, SilverPush, proposes to embed inaudible audio signals in daily TV commercials. Seemingly normal apps track these signals using the microphone of your mobile device:
1. These apps do not show or inform you about this monitoring.
2. Many humans do not perceive these inaudible signals in normal TV sound.
You, the viewer will not be able to detect that your mobile device is monitoring your TV habits. What is alarming is the list of apps that are listening for these codes is kept secret.
How does the SilverPush monitor your TV habits?
The following figure shows a possible scenario. Assume you have installed an game app on your smartphone without knowing that this app also contains SilverPush. After the installation of that app, a background process starts to listen for audio codes. If you are now watching a TV advertisement where an advertiser has embedded an inaudible audio signal, your smartphone catches the audio code and transmits this information to the advertiser’s server. Now the advertiser knows the TV ad that you have watched on your TV.
The Insitute of System Security at Technische Universität Braunschweig then analyze the video to identify if there are any inaudible audio codes. They will be able learn more about these codes and develop suitable countermeasures.
Are there security or privacy concerns?
In their Google Play store , they assure the users that security is their major concern. They will not store or transmit any of your private data . The video’s upload is encrypted via https and they will not publish any videos later or provide it to any third party. The Insitute of System Security at Technische Universität Braunschweig work under the German privacy law, one of the most strict laws among the world.
If you want to stop this malicious monitoring of your daily life before it is out of control, please download their Android app CatchBatTV and start recording original TV advertisements.
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For more information about their research projects, visit their official website: www.tu-braunschweig.de/sec/research/data/silverpush