You ever feel like your phone is listening to you?

Discussion in 'General Off-Topic Chat' started by TheOGMew3, Jan 12, 2019.

  1. TheOGMew3
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    TheOGMew3 Member

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    hey :)
    So ya, I am well aware of Google’s search results, Adsense and how these stuff works. But recently I realised something....

    I am looking for a change of career and I have been having a lot of interviews.

    My most recent phone interview was on Thursday. The hiring manager was talking about his experience of living in “Prague”.

    Never in my life have I searched about living in “Prague” or ever considered that.

    But last few days I have come across many ads and YouTube video recommendations that talk about Prague, living in Prague, rent prices etc

    This is really odd to me. Apart from that conversation with the hiring manager, I haven’t had anything related to Prague...

    I have an iPhone XR
     
    Last edited by TheOGMew3, Jan 12, 2019
  2. DinohScene

    DinohScene Feed Dino to the Sharks

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    For a smart phone, mine's pretty dumb.
    I like it that way.
     
  3. Madridi

    Madridi Card Collector

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    Yeah, I have had similar experiences where someone is talking about something that I never even searched for or read about, then an ad suddenly appears about it.

    I always chalk them up to coincidences, but really, deep down I feel there is really more to that.
     
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  4. smileyhead

    smileyhead So long, and thanks for all the fish

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    Technically, your phone is always listening to you. That's how "Ok Google" / "Hey Google" (/ whatever the hotword is for Siri and Cortana) works.
    That's not necessarily a bad thing, though. Phones won't spy on you. Companies might use your browsing data to show ads tailored to you, but you can turn that off pretty easily.
     
    Last edited by smileyhead, Jan 12, 2019
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  5. TheOGMew3
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    TheOGMew3 Member

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    Lol what phone do you have?

    Hmm ya. Honestly speaking, I have come across ads and YouTube video recommendations of things I made notes about in my phone or browsed on amazon or texted someone etc.
    But this is a very isolated incident about “Prague”. Really worries me....
     
  6. lukands

    lukands I took the little bus here

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    Anything is possible. It wouldn`t surprise me.....Apple, Google, Microsoft, Facebook, Uber, etc.. all the same slimy companies.
     
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  7. SG854

    SG854 Logan

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    Government is listening to you right now.

    You’re being recorded 24/7. Phones, street cameras, house security, people recording on their phones.

    You have no privacy anymore. You have to watch what you say, always be on the defensive. Because what you say or do now can be used against you in the future. Maybe 5 years or 20, but it will be used.
     
  8. smileyhead

    smileyhead So long, and thanks for all the fish

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    Someone's a bit paranoid.
     
  9. TheOGMew3
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    TheOGMew3 Member

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    I don’t have any of that enabled.

    Lol he has got a point though
     
  10. DinohScene

    DinohScene Feed Dino to the Sharks

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    S7, soon S10 or w/e newest Samsung phone.
     
  11. SG854

    SG854 Logan

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    People are loosing their jobs right now because of what they did in the past. And people blow up issues more then they should.

    And since society always changes what’s not offensive now, or something you would never imagine to be offensive, may be considered offensive in the future. And people looking at the past instead of seeing it as a product of their times, they will see you as evil even though it what not that big of a deal when you were young.
     
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  12. lukands

    lukands I took the little bus here

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    Do you wear a tinfoil hat?
     
  13. Flame

    Flame Me > You

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    read about edward snowden.
     
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  14. SG854

    SG854 Logan

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    Pretty soon the singularity is going to happen. Our brains hooked up to the internet. All your thoughts downloaded by hackers. One racist thought and you’ll be pubically ostrasiced. People will have to monitor what they think in the future.
     
    Last edited by SG854, Jan 13, 2019
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  15. notimp

    notimp GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    Let me give you the first informed answer in here. :)

    1. Google and Facebook are not listening to you, and in general normally also Amazon isnt. ;)

    2 What is happening has to be separated in two categories.
    a. False positives. People misinterpreting stuff - happens all the time, dont feel bad about it.
    b. Data congregation (correlating data). Even though Google, Facebook and Amazon arent listening to you - other app vendors are. There are apps out there that track audio on your surroundings to f.e. identify what TV programs you are watching, to correlate that with your twitter stream, and so on and so forth.

    Those other programs are selling their data profiles, those get bought by aggregators (the 7-10 businesses you've never heard of, but that have bigger personalized collections than FB), which then in return also facebook and advertisers use - to - "personalize your ads". (Or target you for psychological profiling on political ads prior to political votes. Its a thing.. ;)).

    Now - two things on that, first there has been a recent set of articles on this stuff (third party apps listening to live audio, selling keyword matching), I have to read those, I havent so far - will link to them, once I've sourced them again. Second, its still somewhat hard "processing intensive" to do that. (Might be using clickworkers to do it, who knows... ;) ) So I'm not sure how viable this has become yet.

    Not everyone has the neural networks to do real time voice recognition, and usually (if you've "talked" to an Alexa its still quite poor, if you dont limit yourself to a "preset range of words" - think "automatic youtube subtitles are crap").
    //

    Why we know that they arent doing it. Two aspects again, one - we can analyze "normal" data traffic (if its encrypted its harder, but man in the middle sometimes is possible, and we can look at data volumes). So we would in general see, if those big companies do "full takes" on voice data. They arent.

    Second is battery consumption - your smartphones would be empty in four hours, if someone would be always doing a fulltake on voice data, and uploading that. (Alexa is a powered device - yay! ;) )

    How those (useless btw) smartypants voice devices work, is via keyword recognition. So they are "listening all the time" - but only for a set (prestored pattern). Think of it as the computer only knowing one word at all. Thats rather easy and can be done on cheap arm based hardware. Once it thinks the keyword has been uttered, it then records the next lets say minute of the interaction, and uploads the entire voice sample to cloud processing, where more processing intensive proprietary analysis is done.

    Those uploaded bits are all stored for the next 100 years (all 30.000 of them you made over the past 5 years), if you dont object to the collection (if you can - with GDPR you should be able to, please double check). Thats a thing.
    //

    Special "targeting" cases.

    Can the police.... (get access to my Smart TV with camera and mic, or my Alexa, or my smartphone...)

    Depends on which police.. ;) In theory they could, and the companies dont have to tell you thanks to recent US regulations (terror, terror, be very afraid), but that would be usually at least somwhat targeted, so the "police" would have to have an interest in you somehow. (For example, because your best friend is on a terrorist watch list.. ;) ) "Normal" police work usually doesnt entail those "levels of access". In recent months they have been starting to ask Amazon for voice recording data, but since Amazon (and others) only upload once a keyword is "identified" - the data they could get out of that is spotty.

    Can they "link themselves in" in real time - if they have the required legal blank to do so. Maybe. Not even probably right now. Because there were no recorded cases. Currently you'd be second guessing state agencies behavior at this point. ;)

    With cellphones (not even smart, just normal is enough... ;) ) we know, that they can do that. Its baked into the cellular network stuff. The way it works there is, that they send whats called a "silent sms" (an sms that doesnt show up on your phone once its recieved), and your phone goes "blub" (non audibly.. ;) ) and starts turning on the microphone, broadcasting your surroundings as a telephone call. Similar (not same) with location data (triangulation, cell tower stuff).

    Thats the thing why "in the movies" people put their phones in fridges, or Jason Bourne slams his girlfriends phones on the street.
    //

    So in general those big three arent listening to you at all times, but smaller app vendors might - although it shouldnt be very commercially viable at this point.

    (Its relatively simple to find out which TV progrem you are watching through voice recording, its harder to identify if you have an interest in lets say Tesla or the Bahamas, by listening to your daily conversations. Its much easier, to wait for "intent" on your part (like you doing a google search, or writing/recieving an email, some vendor scans for keywords) in those "open end - could be anything" queries).)

    But now, let me search the last bunch of articles on third party app vendors doing full voice takes, and selling that data.

    (Correlation, then means, that that data gets matched to the "profile" some vendor has about you (any unique identifier will do it could be email address, could be phone number, could be....) - thats happening all the time (several people are collecting, it all ends up under one profile - for your person). Thats a business.)

    — Posts automatically merged - Please don't double post! —

    Google isn't showing any rencent "usable" articles on this "debate", so those two have to do:

    https://www.wired.com/story/facebooks-listening-smartphone-microphone/

    https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2018/...ok-microphone-tapping-recording-instagram-ads

    Here is an IDIOT vice guy talking about "smart devices could have thousands of voice triggers":
    https://www.vice.com/en_uk/article/wjbzzy/your-phone-is-listening-and-its-not-paranoia

    Yes, they could have - but they probably havent. With false positives that would mean that they are constantly sending voice data and they arent. This also would mean that actual keyword phrase identification accuracy would be lower and... Essentially the entire article is without any basis and bullsh*t. Now could they have lets say 10 "secret" activation phrases, that maybe get changed over time? That would be more sensible, and harder to identify. But it would be malice nevertheless, and the companies are denying that, ... and it still wouldnt be very economical to do so.

    If theysomewhat know - that you are sitting down to watch TV (you opening up a TV guide app f.e.) voice id'ing what you are watching makes sense. Just listening to you all day to find out if you need a t-shirt, or what your favourite jeans brand is - doesnt.

    Thats easier identified, by finding out which social group you belong to (because you liked favourite singer, or even brand), and then giving you the top 3 picks of advertising for that group and age bracket. No one needs to "listen to you" for that.

    Facebook and co have thousands of profiling identifiers for you. They even show you a fraction of them if you click on the corner of some ad. Those are much easier to set up, serve much better to predict your every behavior, wants and needs, without having to listen to you babbling about random stuff every day.. ;)
     
    Last edited by notimp, Jan 13, 2019
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  16. Xzi

    Xzi Virtual Bartman

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    Define "pretty soon." Because we don't even have body-integrated technology anywhere near the mainstream yet. How you expect to go from zero to 'monitoring and/or recording all thoughts in real time' is beyond me. This is simply a conspiracist's paranoia at this point in time.

    Several governments and several corporations, actually. Technology growth definitely outpaced our ability to legislate for and contain privacy threats to the average consumer. That's also partially by design in an oligarchy, of course.
     
  17. notimp

    notimp GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    Thats not needed. :) Yes on the first part. No on the second.

    It wouldnt be economical to do that on a "per person basis". It isnt needed to do that on a per person basis. Lets say I am secret agency, and I have everything, and unusually large funds. Maybe doing real time location data analysis on everybody would make sense. Much less data required, much less data analysis required. Better data quality. Better results.

    (If you have listened to NSA hearings, they are denied doing it "domestically" for a reason. Because its illegal. The are just doing (automated keyword analysis on internet stuff people "put in") for the entire rest of the world.. ;) There would be ways to get around that (like asking your good friends in Great Britain to do it for America an share... ;) ) -- but, here is where encryption comes in - and we know that they are starting to complaining, that their data quality suffered.. ;) (Encryption works. Its math. We know it works. If its not compromised at the point of implementation... ;) But we have great math guys, that look out for that. We somewhat know what works.)

    Thats one part. The other part is, psychological, if you are three letter agency, and you are recording everyones daily lives in audio, you'd have at least 5% of the people working for you in deep moral conflict, wanting to share that with the world. It would get reported. It would become public.)

    The real answer to this question is - that it isnt needed. Even in the most dystopian scifi scenario of total social control. It would be entirely sufficient, to ID maybe 50 types of personalities. And then control them by their desires and needs. And Facebook already does that. Proficiently. Its actually their jam... ;) (At least to ID you based on such principals...)

    You dont care about the individual. Like - at all.

    If you care about the individual, the individual is high profile in some metric already. Most people arent. ;)

    Here is what the chinese government does.

    Social score. Thats facebook level social profiling with "you qualify for this education, and can visit those three neighboring countries" attatched.

    They bank on the chilling effect. Thats their statements of "people are encouraged to check each others social scores, before the get into business relations or sex". Thats people controlling each other at no cost. Same could be said about business code of conducts - f.e., but on a different level.

    They also bank on "more direct relationships" with "influencers" (high profile actors). This is how that works. Once you have your first million followers on the insta, you get an "invitation to tea", where a state agency will visit you at home, and explain to you "the new ruleset", you say "how lovely may I please have another" - and dont care one bit, because you already are priviledged at that point, and more afraid of loosing the priviledge (and going to jail for the next five years), than anything else. At that point, self censorship sets in.

    From their perspective - what they are afraid of - and thats I think even common knowledge at some point, is for people with the power to organize large scale public congregations, to do that, in short time.

    Because then dynamics set in, that you cant control. All the other stuff (and especially "controlling" a "happy" society) is childsplay - compared to that. ;)

    Answer is - the group will always "integrate" the individual over time. Always. As in - if you have an undercover operative as a police agency - he is at high risk, of taking over the believes of those social structures, they have special psychological care, and debriefings for those cases. How society works, to a large extent is also human nature.

    With much less "malice" at work than you'd think.

    Now - does it make sense to think about what happens to a chinese Insta celeb, thats gotten the "invited to tea" treatment, if he doesnt comply? Maybe. Depends. For most people it doesnt. Especially if they arent actively into totalitarian politics.

    Its also much more interesting to f.e. look up how Xi Jinping came into power (political recruitment pools, .. ;) ) if you are into that kind of stuff... ;)
     
    Last edited by notimp, Jan 13, 2019
  18. Xzi

    Xzi Virtual Bartman

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    Wrong. They just mass collect data any more, and Facebook largely started that practice. They collect data on everybody on the internet, whether you have a Facebook account or not. That's pretty much the case for most corporations and foreign governments now too. That said, there is a massive NSA server farm underground in Utah that, IIRC, has all US internet data/digital call data flow through it and stores all of it automatically. Specific data is only recalled when its needed, as in high-profile federal cases, but that doesn't mean they don't have data/auto-generated profiles on us all. I believe they absolutely do.
     
  19. notimp

    notimp GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    No. It doesnt work. For starters. :)

    The US started to do that, because they - as a nation got paranoid - because of potential large scale effects of terror.

    (In the west, to some extent, we've all talked about that they have become paranoid and gone nuts on some level.. ;) )

    So they started to put up keyword lists, to do matching against - to profile people - in groups.

    And even then you dont care about the individual, unless some metric tells you, that you should. :)

    Here is f.e. how terror control (the thing why we in the west apparently should start implmenting those systems ;) ) works in germany.

    You infiltrate potential risk groups. The end. Once in a while you get a tip from your good friends in America who to lock up, because they monitor "all of the internet".

    But you never monitor the individual at first. You sift through heystacks of data trying to find something, using a fixed set of criteria.

    If you'd do it the other way around, you'd go bonkers. ;) There is a thing called "behavior attribution". Thats people starting to "look suspicious" just because you are looking at them.. ;) And it happens quickly. ;) At that point you'd have a resource issue quickly, because you can only "surveil" (=put personal attention towards) a very limited amount of people. The goal is always to distribute that attention as best as possible - so you never start at the individual level.

    What "full take" (collect all the data) is about, is to find "better groups", even going back in time. So your "comb" (set of criteria to identify worthwhile picks) can become better (or at least "different"), and you have large "training sets" of data, to see what would have worked, after f.e. a terror incident happened.

    You are never interested in the individual at first. The guys most at risk of abusing big data collection systems against the individual - for "personal needs" were always, the "small policeguys looking up their ex girlfriends - because they could". In some cases this got exploited for "political favoritism" (Think "Police guy looking up political candidate, for the candidate he loves and wants to do a favor for.")

    But then all of this to some extend is a cosy feeling of "ah, they don't listen to me - I've done nothing wrong", because the actual answer is, that they dont have to. And social control capabilities are still getting better all the time. :) (Talking about the most self censoring generation in recent history? ;) ) Or facebook doesnt have to listen to your daily lives, you give them better reports on your wants, for free in writing, all the time.

    If you are "personally targeted", someone or some algorithm has allocated you to be a high value target in the first place. Now this could be a false positive - so "everyone could be effected" (six degrees of Kevin Bacon) but thats a different discussion.

    edit: You can record everyones telephone calls and store them forever though. Some countries do that as well. :) Thats acatually cost effective by now. ;) But thats "intent first" - so still not "listening to everyone all the time":

    But you get where this becomes semantics at one point. (Law of diminishing returns. ;) )

    If you are recording everyones phone conversations, that would also be considered a full take, meaning, you might filter through them with keyword analysis first, or be interested, to construct connections, after the fact, when you do profiling stuff. But thats not something every Individual has the privilege of being on the receiving end off.

    Also, there are individual profiles of people store at f.e. facebook (the instagram company), but then again - the argument there, as with all the full take stuff is, that nobody actually looks at your profile unless there is a reason (you "registered high" in some metric).

    (Social control doesnt care about the individual, unless it does, for a specific reason.)

    Facebook only cares about you as "chicken with those numbers in the 300 criterias we look at" (to sell to our customers)". and thats enough to "know you better than your friends, family and personal partner" remember? ;)
     
    Last edited by notimp, Jan 13, 2019
  20. notimp

    notimp GBAtemp Advanced Maniac

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    And while we are at it, this would also be a good occasion to explain how "terror works". :) Remember the part, where the chinese government is afraid of actors that can bring on "large congregations of unhappy people" in a short time?

    Terror can as well. :)

    (People start protesting in the streets, because they dont believe, that the state, or their country can protect them sufficiently. So they start loosing their believes in your constitutionaly granted monopoly(duopoly rather) of power. :) Then a new knight in shining armor appears to tell everyone: "But I can." :) People love that stuff... ;) )
     
    Last edited by notimp, Jan 13, 2019
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