Conspiracy or Coincidence?

Discussion in 'Computers and Gadgets' started by EarDemon, Jun 29, 2019.

  1. EarDemon

    EarDemon Topic Starter SatelliteGuys Pro

    Joined:
    Dec 5, 2014
    Posts:
    1,257
    Likes Received:
    508
    Location:
    USA
    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.
     
    navychop likes this.
  2. cpalmer2k

    cpalmer2k SatelliteGuys Pro Pub Member / Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 18, 2013
    Posts:
    464
    Likes Received:
    156
    Location:
    United States
    I’ve had a similar experience. One time my wife and I were discussing where we wanted to eat and settled on Cookout, a local chain fast food place that had just opened here. We hung up from the phone call and I got ready to go meet her. When I got into the car my phone offered me directions and a travel time to Cookout in a notification. I had never searched for it online or on my phone before.
     
    navychop likes this.
  3. TheKrell

    TheKrell A mighty and noble race originating on Altair IV. Pub Member / Supporter

    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2007
    Posts:
    25,154
    Likes Received:
    17,952
    Location:
    Fairfax, VA
    FWIW, I have never experienced anything like what you guys describe. I use Google Maps multiple times/day.
     
    charlesrshell likes this.
  4. TheForce

    TheForce SatelliteGuys Master Supporting Founder Pub Member / Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2003
    Posts:
    27,920
    Likes Received:
    6,902
    Location:
    Earth
    If you don't experience targeted advertising you probably aren't paying attention.

    I refuse to accept the convenience of the auto listening ( aka spying) technology that is obvious. I even turned off Siri on my Apple devices. Yet, I still get thousands of target ads due to inquiries on Google search.

    As for Google maps, I observed that when I click on a business location for map directions, I get targeted email adds from that business. But if I enter a street address, there isn't a cross reference to the ad spam.

    It seems logical to me that for any of these listening devices that spy on your conversation that everything you say in the privacy of your home is stored on a large database and key words extracted for targeted ads. We don't know what other uses businesses that support such spying are engaged in.

    Once you choose to add a spy on yourself device for the convenience of voice control you are broadcasting everything you say to the world.

    I think it gets worse- I have security cameras. The DVR is connected to the internet and allows me the convenience of checking on my home while away on vacation. This has paid on on several occasions. But one day I happen to be looking at my DVR and noticed the Network LED was flashing. This told me someone had accessed my DVR and video was being sent to someone. So I checked with the maker of the system and discovered that they do poll the DVR's they sell to do auto updates to the software. Yes, they can spy into my home. In order to access the DVR I have to use their app on my iphone which works very well. It is free. BUT, I had to give the company permission to use the app. Simple solution is I pull the ethernet cable and only connect when I'm away on a trip.

    The other annoying part of targeted advertising is the robo calls and telemarketing from lists. While I keep adding these callers to the block calls list. Their use of hundreds, thousands, of different numbers makes it impossible to block them all. I wonder if there is a maximum number of phone numbers that can be blocked.
    But in iOS there is a wayto prevent future numbers from sneaking through. Instead of blocking calls by their number; Add do not disturb in settings and then select many options, like except all favorites or all contacts.
     
    charlesrshell likes this.
  5. navychop

    navychop Member of the Month - July 2014! Pub Member / Supporter Lifetime Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2005
    Posts:
    47,784
    Likes Received:
    12,767
    Location:
    Northern VA
    They’re good at detecting interest and sending ads, but not so good at detecting when they no longer serve a purpose. For example, I still get ads to buy a Subaru, a couple of years after I bought one.


    Sent from my iPhone using SatelliteGuys App. For now.
     
    TheKrell and charlesrshell like this.
  6. TheForce

    TheForce SatelliteGuys Master Supporting Founder Pub Member / Supporter

    Joined:
    Oct 13, 2003
    Posts:
    27,920
    Likes Received:
    6,902
    Location:
    Earth
    Yes, agree! There should be a way to remove you from the target after you purchased. I still get calls to buy a Nissan Leaf from Nissan dealers as far south as Miami. Worse, I get calls from the Nissan dealer I bought from.
     
    navychop likes this.
  7. harshness

    harshness SatelliteGuys Master

    Joined:
    May 5, 2007
    Posts:
    15,656
    Likes Received:
    2,330
    Location:
    Salem, OR
    Subaru knows that word-of-mouth is their best advertising method so they're not likely to stop. They want you and everyone you know driving new models.

    The FTC junk mail rules speak to "prior business relationship" so maintaining one is important.
     
  8. navychop

    navychop Member of the Month - July 2014! Pub Member / Supporter Lifetime Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2005
    Posts:
    47,784
    Likes Received:
    12,767
    Location:
    Northern VA
    I’m going to hold on to that 3.6L engine for a long time. Maybe long enough that I can move directly to a BEV.


    Sent from my iPhone using SatelliteGuys App. For now.
     
    TheKrell likes this.
  9. harshness

    harshness SatelliteGuys Master

    Joined:
    May 5, 2007
    Posts:
    15,656
    Likes Received:
    2,330
    Location:
    Salem, OR
    At the rate that Subaru moves, I don't think an H6 will last that long. They're way late to even the first stage of electric cars (they subbed it out to Toyota).
     
  10. NYDutch

    NYDutch SatelliteGuys Pro Pub Member / Supporter

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2013
    Posts:
    1,960
    Likes Received:
    2,530
    Location:
    Where our wheels go
    When my daughter was new car shopping, she told one Subaru salesman she was waiting for a "Cat tested, cat approved" model. :)
     
    Foxbat likes this.
  11. navychop

    navychop Member of the Month - July 2014! Pub Member / Supporter Lifetime Supporter

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2005
    Posts:
    47,784
    Likes Received:
    12,767
    Location:
    Northern VA
    Sad, but true. Subaru is one of a few manufacturers that is simply too small to fund the development of hybrids, BEVs and perhaps some other features. So they will always use, and pay for, another company’s technology. I seem to recall reading where there was a company, either doing it now or planning to, develop hybrid add ons and maybe BEV powertrains, to sell to small auto manufacturers. Anyone recall seeing anything like that? I’d like to go back and reread about such.


    Sent from my iPhone using SatelliteGuys App. For now.
     
    charlesrshell likes this.

Separate names with a comma.

More...