did my phone hear what I said
The Well Armed Woman Blog

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. I safely packed my computer 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 “unplug” from technology and we are alone in the car!

What Did We Talk About?

I am working on a new book and want to get his feedback on some new ideas I have. 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 tagging me 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 publish a book. It really got under my skin. I was so upset thinking that my phone was 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.

 

I also want to mention, along with all of this cybersecurity talk, it is a good idea to always monitor your credit score and identity. There are so many ways thieves can take your personal information without you knowing. The tools today can alert you whenever your information is found on the dark web or if there is strange activity related to your identity. A great tool to help monitor your identity can be found by clicking HERE. If you don’t have a service like this I highly recommend you start.

 

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8 thoughts on “Was My Phone Listening To Me?

  1. Katusha says:

    it is a two-way-street with any technology.
    if you like athe convenience of “OK, Google: Siri , Bixby (Galaxy), or Alexia you have to accept that those are listening to everyone in the household 24/7, unless you opt out of those services manually on every device. The price you pay – is allowing the big tech companies to spy on you and use your personal data as they wish at any time. I turned it off on all the device and I do not bother with Alexia. I lived without it 45 years and certainly do not consider it as a necessity. When I need to search there is a small microphone button on any search engine, which is pushed to activate voice recognition software, which is only works when YOU allow.
    Keep in mind that a video camera on laptop screen is capable of monitoring you, unless you manually stick a piece of tape (no clear type) on it.
    Using gmail and location services just as bad.
    I do not have anything to hide; this is the matter of principal. My personal information belongs only to me, not to the tech companies or any government.

    You may also type your name in a search bar and there would be your address, phone number, approximate age and all your relatives names. As a woman I found it unacceptable, since this may pose a physical threat to me. I remove this information manually once a year or so or you may hire some company to do it for you and your family it is not that expensive. If you google there are plenty of directions on how to avoid any your personal information leaks.

  2. Kathleen says:

    This happened to me twice. I can’t remember the second instance but the first instance was about fire extinguishers. I was talking about them for some reason at work and like same day I got pop up ads either while I was browsing on Twitter or it came up in Amazon but I’m like what the…??? The second time was also a random/ obscure topic that I have not searched on my phone about or etc. and all the sudden I see it that topic presented to me on my phone. I do believe in law of attraction however this is not the same thing. interesting to see others experiences-kw

  3. jgswineford26 says:

    Ginger Martin, I like your clever idea, and I would like to hear about any results. Thanks!

  4. Linda says:

    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.

  5. Vicky Flint says:

    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.”

    Creepy.

  6. Mariland Thompson says:

    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.

    1. Kathleen says:

      Definitely Alexa… If you care about that kind of stuff that is collecting all kinds of information about you. I saw a documentary about all of this artificial intelligence and how the big five huge companies are collecting huge amounts of data on all of us… It’s very interesting if you can find it I don’t recall the name. But one eye-opener was Alexa and how it does a listen and it gauges your tone of voice and it listens for sneezing where it might then suggest to you if you would like to buy some Sudafed or something or if your voice sounds angry or depressed it might start asking you about I don’t know do you need to take a long weekend or need to see your doctor or need to go do some yoga pants LOL? Really interesting was there was a murder case where they were trying to get the Alexa data because it was on during a crime I think it was a house in Texas or something where a homicide occurred and likely Alexa had that data of either who was there or what was actually said etCetera.

  7. Ginger Martin says:

    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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