Ssshhh! Alexa is listening!

imightbewrong

Distinguished Member

DPinBucks

Distinguished Member
TG, I won't let such "devices" into the house!

Very rarely use my Android phone, all but one of the laptops & tablets (haven't used mine for a long time and can't find it now!) have tape over the cameras and most have fairly strong ad/tracker blockers, the TV is a recent LG without a camera (don't know about the audio side!), the car's an old one with no internet connections - nowhere near perfect, but "I'm really trying" to avoid all that "intrusive listening".

Weak areas appear to be the audio side of the laptops and maybe the TV, and my wife's phone and tablet (she uses that a lot for FB Messenger and so on, and feels very isolated now we are in Tier 2 and so I won't do anything to those).
I'm not sure whether you're boasting or confessing, but imo you're wilfully crippling your participation in today's world.

Personally, I don't give a stuff about what people know about me or think of me. Well, that's not quite true. Obviously I try to stay alert and fend off attempts to acquire knowledge which could harm me, such as bank details.

But I can't really see that the world's governments are seriously monitoring my communications and browsing history (out of 6 billion people and trillions of internet hits) to check if I'm being a naughty boy. Why would they care? I certainly don't. On the other hand, such monitoring has also saved countless lives. So monitor away, mon brave.

And as for knowing my browsing histories and these tailored ads, I cannot count the amount of money I have saved by getting offers on things I would have bought at a higher price otherwise. It's easy to ignore unwanted stuff.

I don't use my phone much for actual phoning, but the ability to be in contact when needed is invaluable. as is the ability to do other useful things. Given how little I actually use it, it's very expensive per minute and mB, but to me well worth the money.
 

Tempest

Distinguished Member
Plenty Governments around the world do it.
Don't feel I can really agree with you on this.
100% can believe if there is someone of interest to either the government/police then they will assign people and/or gain access to tech to try their best to monitor said person.
But to do it to the general population in any meaningful way. Nope, sorry can't see that as being even remotely practical.
Even the bandwidth to pull live audio/video feed from even single Google's, Amazon's, Apple's Smart devices/cameras, and add that into all the other small branded devices.
Well over 100 Million Alexa devices just to start with.

Pretty sure it's been proven multiple times that data's not flowing upstream all the time anyway.

I would be an interesting test of the system in general to keep doing Google/Amazon/SmartSpeaker requests for information on child porn and terrorist bomb making, and see what happens.
Let's be honest, if constantly searching for info on those two topics don't cause anyone to come knocking on your door, then nothing will.

Not sure anyone would wish to run that test though, for obvious reasons!

All that said, would I point a web connected security cam as my butt-hole whilst I was 're-charging it in the sun' probably not, as I'm just a little wary when it comes to that side of things.
But am I being recorded on video when I mow my lawn. Yes, if anyone wants to watch me mow my lawn then I hope they enjoy it :)
 

Tempest

Distinguished Member
It's human nature. We see hundreds or thousands of adverts a day without a second thought. If we see one we were talking about earlier in the day, it instantly springs to mind.
Exactly.
I'm sure many of us have experienced this when we buy a new car, then all of a sudden we see loads of people with the same car as ours :)
 

AMc

Distinguished Member
FWIW I get ads about Tinnitus on Instagram too. I don't use Siri or Alexa or Google Assistant - not because I'm particularly bothered about privacy - just my experience of Siri is it's not very useful :)

As others have said Alexa is always listening and sometimes other people are too.

As to the discussion about the Government listening in - a while back I read a paper Wired(?) article about monitoring and recording "everything".
It's not that law enforcement/security services proactively monitor everyone - though they monitor some people who they consider a danger - but a lot of information is routinely recorded by your ISP and phone provider etc.
When the arrest someone for organised crime or terror related offence, they go through their data and identify the people they've been interacting with, then they go back through their data and identify where they've been and who they've been interacting with... picking up one potential criminal can open up loads of lines of enquiry.
It presumably also flags up people they know who aren't criminals, like their plumber, pizza delivery company or the parents of their kids' friends who are also snooped through.

The main bone of contention with this is who has access and why.
I've read articles about councils using powers designed to investigate terrorists being used to try and catch people sending their kids to schools they're out of catchment for.

Then there's illegal access. If you've ever googled an ex or looked them up on Facebook out of random curiosity then I can see why people how are tempted to do the same thing in more confidential databases.
Most of the more recent articles on illegal access to official records are paywalled but here are a couple.

Old articles

 

mjn

Distinguished Member
FWIW I get ads about Tinnitus on Instagram too. I don't use Siri or Alexa or Google Assistant - not because I'm particularly bothered about privacy - just my experience of Siri is it's not very useful :)

As others have said Alexa is always listening and sometimes other people are too.

As to the discussion about the Government listening in - a while back I read a paper Wired(?) article about monitoring and recording "everything".
It's not that law enforcement/security services proactively monitor everyone - though they monitor some people who they consider a danger - but a lot of information is routinely recorded by your ISP and phone provider etc.
When the arrest someone for organised crime or terror related offence, they go through their data and identify the people they've been interacting with, then they go back through their data and identify where they've been and who they've been interacting with... picking up one potential criminal can open up loads of lines of enquiry.
It presumably also flags up people they know who aren't criminals, like their plumber, pizza delivery company or the parents of their kids' friends who are also snooped through.

The main bone of contention with this is who has access and why.
I've read articles about councils using powers designed to investigate terrorists being used to try and catch people sending their kids to schools they're out of catchment for.

Then there's illegal access. If you've ever googled an ex or looked them up on Facebook out of random curiosity then I can see why people how are tempted to do the same thing in more confidential databases.
Most of the more recent articles on illegal access to official records are paywalled but here are a couple.

Old articles

Yup. The government are proper snooping.
 

sbriggs

Well-known Member
Interesting that people say the government as they are unlikely to do anything with the information

gchq and mix maybe
 

leedebs

Well-known Member
I'm wondering if some of this, other than coincidence is down to the access/permissions certain apps have, and you have granted them on your phone.
I'm sure many of us who follow updates to the OS on phones have seen the recent improvements where you can select to stop mostly social media apps from having access to aspects of your device even when they are not running.

Perhaps an app like facebook was still able to gather some microphone input due to it running in the background?

I've never been able to cause ads to come up by simply talking, and deliberately repeating the name of a product whilst being near my phone, pc, tablets, cameras, smartspeakers.

I have a mate who's nuts about this.
He genuinely believes Google, Amazon, Apple actually employ people so sit there and listen to all the smart devices they have sold to spy on you 24 hours a day.
Can you even imagine the impracticality of something like that? It's bizarre to even think something like that is happening.
Maybe he watched this The Social Dilemma | Netflix Official Site
 

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