Was My Phone Listening To Me?

did my phone hear what I said

Was My Phone Listening To Me?

A few weeks ago, my husband and I decided we needed a little time away from the office so we got in the car and headed north into the mountains. My computer was safely packed out of reach in the back and I placed my cell phone in the cup holder with no intention of touching it. With life as busy as it is, it seems like we have our longest, single topic conversations when we are “unplugged” from technology and alone in the car!

What Did We Talk About?

I am working on a new book and wanted to get his feedback on some new ideas I had. We spent the trip enjoying the gorgeous desert scenery and talking about my book. When we arrived a couple of hours later, I grabbed my phone out of the cup holder. I was feeling proud of myself as I hadn’t touched it once the entire trip!

There was a notification waiting for me. Now, that didn’t surprise me, but what it said did!

There on my phone screen was this notification: “Want to be a famous author? Save 40% on ghost writer services at www._____”  (some website I don’t remember.) I was stunned. It wasn’t a message from a contact, an email, or Facebook telling me I had been tagged in a post. it was a notification. Once I read it, it was gone. I really was horrified and angry. I felt like I had been violated. How could this possibly be? I hadn’t touched my phone once the entire trip. I hadn’t done any google searches on how to get a book published. It really got under my skin. I was so upset thinking that my phone must have been listening to us. Who exactly might have the ability to “listen in” to my conversations. Was I crazy? Can this really happen?


After venting this experience on my Facebook page, I couldn’t believe all of the comments and responses of others who have had a similar experience. I decided to ask my friend, Sam Bocetta, a cyber security analyst who has written a couple of articles for The Well Armed Woman,  if this were possible, could he write an article for me on the subject and if it were true, give some tips on how to protect ourselves. Of course he has come through and you can read his article here. If something like this has happened to you, I would love to hear about it in the comments below.


5 responses to “Was My Phone Listening To Me?”

  1. My adult son and I were making Christmas fudge in the kitchen and of all the random things to talk about, we were talking about moving the US embassy to Jerusalem. I picked up my phone to Google something, and the first auto suggestion was, is the US embassy in Jerusalem? Super creepy.

  2. My husband and I were talking about taking a road trip to Montana, and stopping in Billings to see friends who moved there recently. Neither of us did any online searches about this trip, just our conversation.

    The next time I was online, I had clicked on a link to read an article in a professional journal online. Among the ads the populated along the right-hand margin, the TOP ad was “Visit Billings.” Then a banner ad populated across the top stating “Come See Montana.”


  3. I don’t know about my phone, but I’m wondering about Amazon Alexa? She’s
    activated (come on) when I haven’t addressed her.

  4. Carrie, I know exactly how you felt because it was happening all the time with me, whether I was messaging my son or speaking to him verbally with my phone. When I first told him about it he thought I was just being paranoid.
    I think I will do an experiment and encourage others to do the same. I’ll make a list of things that I’m not interested in, that I would never discuss, like a vacation in Antarctica, for example. Then talk about the things on that list and see how well my phone is listening.

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