Hacks and Incidents

How to Stop Web Sites from Potentially Listening to Your Microphone

How to Stop Web Sites from Potentially Listening to Your Microphone: Heres the lowdown. Once you give a site permission to use your microphone or camera, Chrome assumes that site will have permission to do so in the future. That means every instance of that site, every page on that site, also has access to your camera and microphone, meaning a sketchy site owner could throw up a pop-under window in the background thats listening in to everything you say, or worse, listening and set to trigger some action like recording when you say specific words or phrases.

PAter reported it to Google back in September. For their part, Google doesnt see it as a problem, and says its in compliance with W3C the World Wide Web Consortium standards. Google does have a point: In order for the issue to be a real threat, not only do you have to visit a site that would want to record your speech, youd have to grant it access to your microphone, and then youd have to not notice a pop-under window from that site lingering in the background. Plus, youd also have to not notice the visual cue a red dot in the omnibar that indicates the microphone is active. Even so, Googles engineers did respond to Aters report, did come up with a fix that addressed the issue, but—and this is the confusing part— didnt push that fix to end-users.

Standard