I never believed that phones are "listening to us" but now I do....

LordDraven

Member
Jan 23, 2019
640
So I was talking with my wife about having hard time falling asleep. She mentioned trying Organic CBD oil. I had my phone near me during the conversation but not once did I search what CBD oil was about on my phone or computer after that talk. Well I shit you not, the very next day I get an email about CBD oils. I did a GMAIL search and I NEVER received any emails ever about CBD oils...

How much of a coincidence is this?
 

Nerfgun

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,527
Nova Scotia
The short version is it is not a coincidence, but it wasn’t listening to your speech because that is too high bandwith an easy to detect. They know your cookies and they associate you with a huge data mining profile and then tie that in with other profiles and then actually get something that’s way way worse than a minor eavesdropping recording.

And then your brain pattern recognition kicks in and you decide it’s not just a coincidence. Which it isn’t, but it’s not actually listening to audio.
 

Dest

The Fallen
Jun 4, 2018
2,952
Work
Google is listening. When I first started my new IT job, I had never heard of or looked up Fortinet routers before but after having a conversation about them with my phone nearby every fucking site had Fortinet ads.
 

TAJ

Member
Oct 28, 2017
5,090
The short version is it is not a coincidence, but it wasn’t listening to your speech because that is too high bandwith an easy to detect. They know your cookies and they associate you with a huge data mining profile and then tie that in with other profiles and then actually get something that’s way way worse than a minor eavesdropping recording.
They need basically no bandwidth to run speech-to-text on your phone and poll the results.
 

Brakke

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,088
Phones don’t listen to you.

Why did your wife bring this up? Was she getting CBD ads? Does she have CBD search history? Probably. And the ad companies know you’re married to her.
 

ZackieChan

Member
Oct 27, 2017
4,571
So I was talking with my wife about having hard time falling asleep. She mentioned trying Organic CBD oil. I had my phone near me during the conversation but not once did I search what CBD oil was about on my phone or computer after that talk. Well I shit you not, the very next day I get an email about CBD oils. I did a GMAIL search and I NEVER received any emails ever about CBD oils...

How much of a coincidence is this?
Who sent the email about CBD oil?
How many things have you talked about in your life where you DIDN’T get an email about them the next day? Let’s compare the lists.
 

Baconmonk

Avenger
Oct 26, 2017
3,630
The short version is it is not a coincidence, but it wasn’t listening to your speech because that is too high bandwith an easy to detect. They know your cookies and they associate you with a huge data mining profile and then tie that in with other profiles and then actually get something that’s way way worse than a minor eavesdropping recording.
I've seen this explanation posted here before, but it doesn't stand up to my experiences. There's definitely been situations where I'm at a bar and my phone is typically on the table within easy earshot and picks up things I'd never be associated with or Googled myself. Maybe it sees that we are close together or are friends on Instagram or whatever, but it's extremely eerie.

I've always assumed that if the phone is indeed listening, they're doing text to speech on the phone itself and checking for key words or something.
 

GSG

Member
Oct 25, 2017
1,847
This has happened to me way too often with Facebook and Instagram for it to be a coincidence. Considering how scummy that company is, I would not be at all surprised if Facebook is listening to all of our conversations.
 

BLEEN

Member
Oct 27, 2017
5,043
Phones don’t listen to you.

Why did your wife bring this up? Was she getting CBD ads? Does she have CBD search history? Probably. And the ad companies know you’re married to her.
It's this.
It’s a non-trivial amount of bandwidth that would’ve been instantly detected by white hats and sent to every tech journalist in the planet if they were actually doing this
This also needs to be pinned or whatever.

However, they do keep your voice recordings when you do text to speech, voicemails, talking into personal assistants, etc (You can usually disable those) I know for a fact because I worked for Google's transcription team. Also Facebook's ad team but that had nothing to do with recordings, I only helped personalize the ads.

I'm positive Apple does this too but that may be because most people use Google. If that were the case tho, I feel like they wouldn't allow that API access.
 
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exodus

Member
Oct 25, 2017
2,755
Google is listening. When I first started my new IT job, I had never heard of or looked up Fortinet routers before but after having a conversation about them with my phone nearby every fucking site had Fortinet ads.
Googles knows your location. They know other people in your proximity are looking up Fortinet routers.

They don’t need to listen to you.
 

SolVanderlyn

Member
Oct 28, 2017
6,942
I was talking on Skype with my mom about feeling lonely in another country and I got an ad for dealing with loneliness as an expat while the call was still going. If that's not super specific enough to convince me something is listening to me, then I dunno what is
 

RPGam3r

Member
Oct 27, 2017
1,712
The short version is it is not a coincidence, but it wasn’t listening to your speech because that is too high bandwith an easy to detect. They know your cookies and they associate you with a huge data mining profile and then tie that in with other profiles and then actually get something that’s way way worse than a minor eavesdropping recording.

And then your brain pattern recognition kicks in and you decide it’s not just a coincidence. Which it isn’t, but it’s not actually listening to audio.
It doesn't matter how many times this is explained, people will still think they're being listened in on. Thank you for trying though!
 

Nerfgun

Member
Oct 25, 2017
3,527
Nova Scotia
I've seen this explanation posted here before, but it doesn't stand up to my experiences. There's definitely been situations where I'm at a bar and my phone is typically on the table within easy earshot and picks up things I'd never be associated with or Googled myself. Maybe it sees that we are close together or are friends on Instagram or whatever, but it's extremely eerie.

I've always assumed that if the phone is indeed listening, they're doing text to speech on the phone itself and checking for key words or something.
It is SUPER EERIE. But that just speaks to how good their profiles are. If you do some reading on how comprehensive the network effects are you will get what I’m saying, it’s worse than listening to you, it’s some Black Mirror shit. They know you. It’s not worth the bad press or bandwidth to listen, the profiles are way better and your brain does the rest.
 

jdstorm

Member
Jan 6, 2018
2,870
Spotify does.

Source.

Spotify recommended me some songs I may like after listening to me play them on guitar. It was about 10-15 songs from an assorted selection of niche genres that I don’t usually listen to and had never used on that phone.

Also had Facebook/Snapchat recommend me an ex as a person I may know despite using a clean phone because it had recently heard the words Snapchat and their name used in a sentence by a friend
 

FaceHugger

Member
Oct 27, 2017
6,923
I am going to have a long conversation with myself about Tampons and see if they start popping up in ads for me.
 
Oct 27, 2017
4,951
Every time this comes up...

These companies have so much data on you and what you do. They don't need to listen and there's no evidence that they are. The worst aspect is that they benefit from naive people thinking they're listening because then they aren't thinking about the more insidious reason.
 

metsallica

Member
Oct 27, 2017
2,680
So I was talking with my wife about having hard time falling asleep. She mentioned trying Organic CBD oil. I had my phone near me during the conversation but not once did I search what CBD oil was about on my phone or computer after that talk. Well I shit you not, the very next day I get an email about CBD oils. I did a GMAIL search and I NEVER received any emails ever about CBD oils...

How much of a coincidence is this?
Are you two connected on Facebook? This is the result of the insane reach and power of tracking cookies and, likely, your wife's search history. Your phone isn't listening. Every inch of what you do online and what people connected to you do online is tracked and those algorithms are GREAT at extrapolating intent.
 

finalflame

Product Management
Verified
Oct 27, 2017
2,343
They aren't. This is seriously one of the most irritating conspiracies.

The problem is it's easier to believe the "they're listening to me" scenario rather than the truth, which is that aggregate advertiser data is really good at predicting or extrapolating things to advertise at you. Look up Oracle DLX CPG.

FYI, I worked at one of the major companies everyone accuses of doing this. They didn't, and I can guarantee you still don't.
 

Brakke

Member
Oct 27, 2017
3,088
Meanwhile, CBD products are flooding out right now. It might not be targeted at all, but just broadcast.
 

Baconmonk

Avenger
Oct 26, 2017
3,630
It is SUPER EERIE. But that just speaks to how good their profiles are. If you do some reading on how comprehensive the network effects are you will get what I’m saying, it’s worse than listening to you, it’s some Black Mirror shit. They know you. It’s not worth the bad press or bandwidth to listen, the profiles are way better and your brain does the rest.
See, I have done reading on ad profiles and I still can't believe how it picks some things up. It must be associating strangers at commonly accessed locations, because I swear I've gotten IG ads for stuff a random dude at the bar told me about and I never actually Googled. I have all the location stuff turned on myself (and most do by default I believe) so I can see this being a possibility.

I still don't buy the bandwidth excuse wholly. Couldn't one app, hypothetically, ask for mic permission and listen for key words associated with brands, and pipe that directly into your personal ad profile? It wouldn't need to send any data back out besides 'John likes Purina'. It just doesn't seem outside the realm of possibility for a company like Facebook. They've certainly made choices with little care for bad press before.

I don't entirely know how it works, but it's 100% the scariest future darkage shit I've ever seen.
 

TAJ

Member
Oct 28, 2017
5,090
The spookiest ads I've gotten so far were for chartering boats for corporate events.
They came right after talking about an upcoming party that we were doing on a boat for Sony that week.

No browser activity related to it.
No emails about it.
I don't have social media accounts unless you count Era.
I don't know anyone who's ever chartered a boat for anything, or expressed interest in it.
Noone else is on my phone plan.
 

shira

Community Resetter
Member
Oct 25, 2017
13,107
I'm so boring I don't think there is even anything to sell me.
 

lunatique

Member
Oct 25, 2017
373
Phones don’t listen to you.

Why did your wife bring this up? Was she getting CBD ads? Does she have CBD search history? Probably. And the ad companies know you’re married to her.
Yes, it's basically this.

I often get new ads shortly after talking about stuff with my wife, even though I never search for them online. Turns out that it's her that searched them online and as the husband I got the ads.
 

bsigg

Member
Oct 25, 2017
8,187
This has happened to me way too often with Facebook and Instagram for it to be a coincidence. Considering how scummy that company is, I would not be at all surprised if Facebook is listening to all of our conversations.
Facebook/Instagram have an incredibly complex ad system that looks at your posts, friends posts, people you follow posts, your current location, what you're currently seeing on their site, and any other tracking information they can possibly gather to try and target you to an insane degree.
 

finalflame

Product Management
Verified
Oct 27, 2017
2,343
FB messenger definitely does/did keep the microphone on, it was all over the news a couple years ago IIRC
I can't speak to this in detail but I assure you the symptom (Samsung devices reporting background microphone usage, if I recall) was a Samsung software problem had nothing to do with any effort to actually use the microphone for anything nefarious. People generally understand very little about technology to grasp this but this is something tech giants really do not and could not do.
Facebook/Instagram have an incredibly complex ad system that looks at your posts, friends posts, people you follow posts, your current location, what you're currently seeing on their site, and any other tracking information they can possibly gather to try and target you to an insane degree.
And big advertisers plug in data sets they bring from sources outside specific ad platforms which adds a ton of targeting complexity/sophistication.
 
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LordDraven

LordDraven

Member
Jan 23, 2019
640
They aren't. This is seriously one of the most irritating conspiracies.

The problem is it's easier to believe the "they're listening to me" scenario rather than the truth, which is that aggregate advertiser data is really good at predicting or extrapolating things to advertise at you. Look up Oracle DLX CPG.

FYI, I worked at one of the major companies everyone accuses of doing this. They didn't, and I can guarantee you still don't.
just because one doesnt......
 

Ploid 6.0

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,335
Every now and then I try to get Google Home to not send data to google, and it always tell me how to go through a long process of changing privacy settings on a browser. I even considered disabling it's wifi until I wanted to use it but that would be not so easy to flip on and off.
 

Burrman

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,688
I’m believe this also. The whole hardwood flooring ads confirmed it. Been convinced since that happened to me. I have no connection to anything about hardwood flooring yet the day after I talked to my wife about it, I seen them everywhere online.
 

Ploid 6.0

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,335

meow

The Fallen
Oct 27, 2017
820
NYC
yah my google phone is always listening to me. I also take those google surveys that pay me in (fake) pennies. So google could probably build a functioning clone of me, swap me out, and no one would even notice.
 
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LordDraven

LordDraven

Member
Jan 23, 2019
640
Lots of friends in the industry. Big companies don't have a carte blanche to basically wiretap you, as much as you'd like to think they do.

It'd be much more believable to think a shady small/mid-size startup is doing something like this.
you have an excuse for everything, so how do we know you're not part of the problem?
 

Ploid 6.0

Member
Oct 25, 2017
5,335
yah my google phone is always listening to me. I also take those google surveys that pay me in (fake) pennies. So google could probably build a functioning clone of me, swap me out, and no one would even notice.
What if the guy that teaches AI to make fake thread titles is actually google assistant trying to see how close it gets to being able to replace us all?
 
Oct 28, 2017
2,470
Oh wow... Thanks, emailing this to friends and family. We're all doomed with how much data companies are collecting on us.
Mine is always full of the weirdest shit, and I've had it disabled for ages. I think they have requirements to capture some data, and you can't fully turn it off. The last recorded voice data for me is April 4th so its a while back, at least.