These days, it’s hard to discuss Android without mentioning communications privacy.
Google has received a lot of criticism over the years about its reckless handling of private information, and the company now prioritizes privacy in every upgrade to its Android operating system.
While Android phones come with various privacy-enhancing features, few people know about the Android Voice Privacy feature.
If you have ever wondered if someone can listen to your voice calls without your consent, this article will teach you a bit more about how Android Voice Privacy protects you from unwanted eavesdropping.
What Is Android Voice Privacy?
Android Voice Privacy emerged in 2009 as a solution to a regulatory requirement for the now obsolete GPRS communication technology.
Android Voice Privacy provides an extra layer of security for mobile voice calls.
It works primarily on Code Division Multiple Access (CDMA Standard) mobile phones, a transmission technology that allows all users on a network to communicate simultaneously on a single radio channel without interfering with each other.
This is an efficient system for mobile communications, but a single frequency also makes it easier for hackers to listen in on private phone calls. To protect against hackers, the CDMA system is encrypted.
But in the digital world, where information sells at a premium, hackers are always looking to exploit security gaps.
Should a hacker ever crack CDMA-level encryption, Google’s Android Voice Privacy will kick in as a second layer of protection.
Its sole purpose is to make it difficult for intruders to access your communications- assuming the mobile carrier defenses fail!
Telecommunications company Sprint has shown that successfully hacking CDMA encryption is an expensive activity that puts such a task out of reach of most hackers.
Nonetheless, law enforcement or intelligence agencies such as the FBI, CIA, or NSA do have the financial resources to pull off such a hack, which means the CDMA system is vulnerable to penetration.
Government agencies can also secure legal warrants in “matters of national security” to listen in on a suspect’s phone calls during a criminal investigation.
Who Can Eavesdrop On My Phone Calls?
If someone is secretly listening to your phone calls- perhaps a stalker or an abusive partner- their motives will greatly influence how they choose to eavesdrop on your communications.
Aside from hacking your cell phone carrier to wiretap your phone directly, other methods of eavesdropping also exist, for example:
- Placing secret listening microphones in a house or office;
- By overhearing you speak loudly on a phone call;
- Intercepting communications as they reroute through a cell tower;
- Intercepting fiber optic cables.
What Does Voice Privacy Mode Mean?
Voice privacy mode typically swings into action while a phone is roaming so the connection is better protected as the signal crosses between carriers.
This mode helps block an intruder from altering the phone’s payment plan or redirecting its calls to another number, for instance.
Android Voice Privacy mode also helps protect from audio eavesdropping by automatically lowering the sound of incoming phone calls and making it harder for anyone nearby to overhear the call.
However, if your mobile carrier does not support voice privacy mode, this feature isn’t all that useful.
Some users have pointed out that voice privacy interferes with the sound quality of incoming and outgoing calls, to the point where you might consider turning it off entirely!
How Do I Turn Off Voice Privacy?
1. From your Android device’s Home screen, click on Settings and tap “Language & Input or “Language & Keyboard;”
2. Click Google Keyboard/Gboard on the keyboard that appears;
3. Tap Voice typing and tap turn on or off;
What About Using Google Voice For Privacy?
It is common for private phone numbers to appear in online public directories such as Whitepages or Spokeo.
This means your phone number may be a target for scammers and hackers who can intercept your phone calls, learn your two-factor authentication codes, and commit other nefarious deeds.
But completely protecting your phone number is largely impossible these days when a phone number is so often used in many instances, such as:
- During sign-ups to websites that require two-factor authentication;
- To communicate with others who might add the number to their contact list and upload it to the internet;
- For apps like WhatsApp and Telegram.
Even if your number is out there, you can still protect the identity that is associated with it.
The answer is Google Voice, which will allow you to text, call, and send or receive voicemails without connecting it to your identity by using a single, unchanging number.
How To Set Up Google Voice
1. Download the Google Voice app from the Play Store, or App Store for iOS users;
2. Open the app and sign in to your Google account;
4. Select your city or area code then enter the correct phone number from the drop-down list. Tap “Select;”
5. Enter a second phone number to which Google will forward all your calls;
6. Type in the six-digit code you will receive.
Every Android user should know the basics of how their calls, texts and voicemails are being protected.
While most carriers offer decent protection already, Android Voice Privacy provides an extra layer of safety while Google Voice can help you further safeguard your identity when making calls.
With these tools at your disposal, it’s much easier to keep safe out there and avoid potential dangers!
Do you know how to stay safe on your smartphone? Keep yourself protected with our Comprehensive A-Z Of Smartphone Security right HERE!