My Phone is Listening to Me?!

No, I don’t mean that my phone understands me and is there for me emotionally as I go through life, listening to my needs and helping me out. My phone is literally listening to me all the time and I’ve had some weird experiences lately which have creeped me out considerably and sent me on a path to try to find some solutions.

THE EVIDENCE

My husband Leland and I watch a show called “24” on Amazon Prime – if you haven’t seen it, check it out. It’s a thriller/government type show but it hooks you for sure. Anyway, in the one episode we were watching, there was mention *SPOILER ALERT* of a nuclear bomb. Now my husband and I weren’t using those words in conversation or anything. We just had our phones next to us while we were watching the episode on the TV. We were just about to go to bed, and my husband checked Facebook and there was an ad as soon as he opened it about how much damage a nuclear bomb would cause the earth! It was listening to our show and providing us targeted ads based on what it overheard!

That’s not all, either. We were watching a documentary on Netflix about cold water surfers and there was a segment where the guys went to Iceland to surf under the Northern Lights. Some of the Icelandic tour guides had different accents and I started to wonder what language they speak in Iceland. So I said, “I wonder what language they speak in Iceland? Is it Norwegian or something?” Leland wasn’t sure, so I picked up my phone and opened Google. I typed in “what language is spoken” and the first suggestion that came up was “what language is spoken in Iceland.” What the heck?! I hadn’t even finished typing and it knew from my conversation that I wanted to know about Iceland’s language and not Guatemala or some other place!

THE DECISION

From this evidence, we were creeped out enough by our phones listening to everything we were watching and saying. So, we decided we needed a change. I looked up online if anyone else was experiencing this problem and sure enough they were. Apparently what happens is you give different apps in your phone permission to use the microphone and you never know WHEN they are using it because there is no indicator light to show that your microphone is in use. So, this article gave some suggestions for stopping your phone from having listening privileges.

POSSIBLE SOLUTIONS

Here are the possible solutions I discovered from the article and what I did in my iPhone to try and remedy the situation.

  1. Go to settings > privacy > microphone. Here you can view all the apps that you have allowed access to your microphone. I turned off everything except Babbel, Phone, and Duolingo. If I find that I need it in an app, I’ll simply go to the settings turn it on, use the microphone, and then go right back and turn it off again.
  2. I deleted a bunch of unnecessary apps off of my phone and apps I wasn’t using. I deleted Google and Google Maps first because I was done with Google at this point, and then I just deleted the apps I knew I wasn’t using because who knows what they were using me for when I wasn’t even using them.
  3. I turned off “Hey Siri.” My husband also turned off “Ok, Google” because he has an Android phone. I figure if I need Siri, I’ll hold in the home button. I’m not going to let Siri listen to me all the time and just wait to hear “Hey Siri” or something similar to “turn on.”
  4. I edited my location services as well. Some of my apps were on “Always” mode for using location and I didn’t even know! So I changed everything to “Never” or “Only While Using” to try and minimize my location being tracked and data mined for these apps’ benefit.

CONCLUSION:

I am fed up with technology being allowed to invade our privacy, our lives, and our every action taken using it. I’m hoping these measures have stopped most of the data mining we noticed happening, but this was just last night that I made the changes. I’ll be keeping an eye on it and let you know if it continues to happen. Basically, if you don’t want your phone to listen to you or you don’t want to be tracked by people you don’t know, you have to use your smart phone like a dumb phone. That’s the plan for me and we’ll see if it works. If not, I’m seriously considering getting a dumb phone instead. I don’t know, guys, but this stuff bothers me a lot.

If you have had weird, freaky things happen with your phone where you think it’s been listening to you or something else invasive, put it down in the comments below. We can’t allow the people in charge of technology continue to be allowed to do this with our devices! Thanks so much for following and liking these posts. I hope this one wasn’t too conspiracy theory for you all. 🙂 Anyway, tomorrow’s post will be coming at you and it MIGHT end up being a rough house tour, I haven’t decided.

We shall see!

Have a great day and don’t say important things when your phone is in the room…. 😉

~ M

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