So I’ve heard reports of this on the internet and from people in real life, including a few months ago from a guy I work with. Are smartphones, smart speakers and other devices always listening to you, phoning home for targeted advertisements and data mining? There are plenty of reports and opinions that say yes and people provide examples to back that up, the reports from the corrupt mainstream media and the tech sites they own say no. I always thought these were conspiracy theory, tinfoil hat wearing kooks. Now I’m not so sure. For the past week at work I’ve been entertaining and playing host and liaison to a consultant from India assisting with updating our business system. Earlier in the week we went out to dinner after work, there was a baseball game on TV at the restaurant and he asked how popular baseball is in America and what other sports we play. Then I asked him about sports in India and he said cricket was the most popular and we spent 5 - 10 minutes discussing the game of cricket until our food arrived. My phone was on the table next to me the phone time. On Wednesday morning when I woke up, on my phone I had a notification from Google alerting me of an India vs West Indies Cricket match. I have never Googled or looked up anything about Cricket in my life. I have not patronized ESPN or many other sports sites in years, the only sports I have followed recent times are hockey and NASCAR. I have not looked up or done any research on India or the West Indies. The majority of my Google notifications have been related to searches and browsing history. Being in IT and being responsible for all hardware at my company, I get Google alerts every time someone at Dell, HP/HPE, Cisco, Intel, Microsoft or APC farts. Annoying, but I understand why I get them. Also, kind of annoying and creepy are Google alerts about new episodes of things I watch on TV. Yesterday I got alerts about new episodes of Jett and Ancient Aliens, Thursday I got an alert for a new episode of Baskets. I have Googled these shows once or twice, so that’s what triggered it, I’m guessing. Worth mentioning is I used to get notifications for new episodes of Big Bang Theory. I stopped getting them about month after I quit watching the show. Did I stop getting them by coincidence, because I posted on this very site I was quitting BBT while logged into my Google account on Chrome, or did my phone not hear the show on in the background anymore? Makes me wonder. Yes, I understand this can be turned off, or appear to be turned off, but I feel we are being lied to by these big tech companies. It’s my own damn fault I know. And I’m not helping matters by having a collection of smart speakers around me at all times. There have been multiple times that all three smart speaker platforms I use, Alexa, Google and Cortana, where I am sitting in silence and a speaker will randomly say their respective version of ‘Sorry I didn’t not hear you, please repeat.’ No TV on, no music playing, nothing that could be interpreted as Hey Google, Hey Alexa or Hey Cortana. This is all very bizarre and we have entered a period where this seems to be acceptable.