Fact: Phones are not eavesdropping, they are using this way to “spy” on us

“I swear that the phone is eavesdropping on me, I just saw an ad that was exactly what I was talking about.” You’ve probably heard someone say this phrase more than once.

It cannot be denied that online advertisers have used some methods to promote products and services that match what you have just said or even thought of. So how has your phone been tracking you? Are they eavesdropping?

The truth is that your phone does not record your conversations and upload them to remote servers for analysis in order to create advertisements, and then display those ads on your phone.

At first listen, you will find it hard to believe. How could they not eavesdrop on you and yet come up with such highly matched ads?

However, according to IT technology experts, your phone “definitely does not monitor your conversations,” at least not voice conversations.

Technically, virtual assistants like Alexa and Google Assistant will record audio clips when you use the set words/phrases to “wake them up” and give them commands.

Sometimes, these recorded clips will be uploaded to servers so that the provider can identify errors and refine responses for virtual assistants. During the time you give commands to virtual assistants, background conversations (if any) will also be recorded.

However, these recorded clips are not a method for delivering advertisements. The truth about how phones monitor what you hear is even more “terrifying”.

Advertisers “do not need to eavesdrop” on you

What is worrying is that advertisers can easily make accurate guesses about what you are saying and hearing without having to record anything.

They can capture current trends and combine them with basic information they have about you, such as location, search history, shopping habits, daily habits, etc. to evaluate what people like you (and the circles you are involved in) are interested in.

One thing is obvious: When you are interested in anything, you tend to talk about it.

For example, you meet a friend at a coffee shop. Just before meeting you, they had looked at the price of a thermos bottle on an e-commerce platform. Then, in conversation with you, they casually drop a sentence: “I’ve been really craving a thermos bottle lately.”

You ignore the vague statement and continue talking about other things, but the next time you go online, the first ad you see is for a thermos bottle.

Has your smartphone analyzed what your friend said and decided to try and sell you a thermos bottle?

The answer is “No!” Google only takes a few simple data points and “connect the dots”.

From your friend’s browsing history, it is easy to see that they are interested in thermos bottles. In addition, the geolocation data collected from your phone and your friend’s shows that the two of you are spending time together.

Without the need to record anything, just by following standard data and combining it with a little logical guessing is enough to determine the connection between the two parties.

The fact that thermos bottles appear in the conversation is just a coincidence, and the possibility of it appearing is quite high, because as mentioned above, when it comes to human behavior, anything you are interested in tends to be something you talk about.

Recording conversations is “completely unfeasible”

Matching ads to what users are thinking or talking about can really bring high efficiency to advertisers.