Nosey Google/Verizon

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Muto
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Nosey Google/Verizon

I have never once looked for ordering bank checks online, however I discussed needing them with my wife last week.
Today I get an email from a check printing company.

This is not the first time this crap has happened.
They listen to your conversations offline/off phone and sell that info.

Last time it was air conditioner compressor for my big van, again never once did I search for these items, only discussed them either on the phone or in person.

Anyone else notice this crap?

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RobertB
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Sounds like you need to do a privacy checkup with your google acct

JaredM
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Yes. And in our Orwellian NWO you can bet your pants that selling you things isn’t all they are doing.

I had a similar incident in the fall of last year. I had a conversation with my partner while driving (also in the car) about a specific and unusual item. — back story is that before this happened, I made an in vain attempt at turning off as much google on my old android+vzw phone as possible without crashing it. Every app I could delete and disable, every toggle I could switch in developer mode.. and I already didn’t use any social media, period. I happened to need to turn on an old device to look for something, and this one still had a goggle news feed enabled. Back to the story — that evening, or possibly the next I turn on the old phone and first article ‘recommended for you’ was about that exact, uncommon thing.

That was it. I knew this was happening before that, but this was the final straw. I nuked the stock ROM on my Moto G7 and switched to lineageOS without any goggle, fb, amz apps. Never looked back.

I recommend this to everybody, now more than ever. Digital privacy matters.

Two good phones I recommend for this are the remaining Moto G7’s (plus models with the oval camera glass work too) and Pixel 4a’s if you want a higher end device. There are dozens of models supported, but if you are in the US, many carriers are forcing VOLTE which kills the Samsung+Snapdragon/Qualcomm options.

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JaredM
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RobertB wrote:
Sounds like you need to do a privacy checkup with your google acct

Yea. Nuke it

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Lightbringer
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I tend to keep my smart(er) phone turned off all the time unless I’m actually going to make a call or know I’ll receive one. And it’s in one of those nylon molle pouches, inside a nylon molle slingbag. My dumb(er) phone I’ll keep on, but it’s running Symbian, so, yeah, nothing’s going out. LOL

As for goggle/gmail/etc., of course you’re the product instead of the customer, ‘cause it’s free, and they gotta pay their bills with even more bux than stoopit ads bring in, so expect all sorts of “coincidental” crap like that to happen.

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pennzy
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I assume my devices are following my clicks but listening in is just creepy.

Lightbringer
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Don’t forget some simple countermeasures like disinformation.

No kids? Search for grils dresses and rompers. Hit up Amazon for balloons and swing-sets.

No pets? Goggle “hamster care” and “aquarium filters”. Research “best dog food”.

Renting? Look up lawn care items, in-ground pool contractors, roofing supplies.

Single? Research divorce lowyers. Married? Research dating sites (carefully!! LOL ).

Goggle best techniques to go “antiquing” and price out Hummels

Ie, f with any “profile” they might be generating about you. The more you pollute it, the less valuable it becomes, especially if you can make it contradictory.

Fling out some digital chaff…

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xevious
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What I find so annoying is… I browse Banggood and make a flashlight purchase. And now I’m done. Won’t be buying another flashlight off Banggood for a long, long while. And then, my browser starts loading Banggood banner ads on all sorts of sites. For weeks.

I once let my sister use my laptop for a while. I didn’t bother to create a new profile ID for her. She was just using the browser. Well, she decided to start browsing a few women’s clothing sites. For weeks after, I’d get banner ads for women’s shoes. Silly And it didn’t matter if I’d cleared history/cache.

CNCman
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Muto, RobertB, Lightbringer, pennzy.
.
Let me tell everyone this is actually happening AND it can be worse than you think.
I know someone who maintains security for the military as a subcontractor overseas.
.
Phones, tablets and TV’s with that are powered and turned OFF can still be and are being used to monitor anyone without your permission or knowledge. The only way to avoid this is to remove the battery or unplug it. I am not a conspiracy theorist, this has been going on for yrs.
If you need secrecy do not do it on any phone, if a branch of the government wants to listen or watch you they are.
.

everydaysurvivalgear
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I have a Xiaomi Mi Mix 3 5G and it has a hidden front camera and i face my rear camera down usually.

I have not seen a phone with a removable battery in a long time.

kennybobby
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Try using a few words in a foreign language for a specific item or thing that only you know, then see what comes back from the “clouds”

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toddcshoe
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I didn’t have any concerns about devices listening to me until we got a few Alexa devices. Then all of a sudden, we starting getting ads for things we were talking about. Now I just talk about bomb making instructions and wait for Homeland Security to show up at my door. Big Smile

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@Muto and @JaredM — Interesting… I’ve heard similar stories as well. I wonder if there’s any way to detect Google’s data dumps with a packet tracer on the LAN, I assume it’s all encrypted and hard to distinguish from all the other less nefarious Google traffic. Would they be streaming your conversations to the server in realtime (in which case you should be able to see an increase in traffic while talking) or uploading a cache file every so often?

I agree with Jared’s recommendation to run a custom Android ROM wherever possible. There have obviously been tons of attempts to create other privacy and freedom respecting mobile OSes from the ground up, but for all intents and purposes Android is the only game in town. Fortunately the open source AOSP core of Android is perfectly innocuous. It’s all the proprietary Google Services that get loaded on top of it that invade your privacy. I’m currently having very good results with a custom Android ROM with https://microg.org services installed to masquerade as Google / Play Services, which allows virtually all Android apps to run normally.

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Oli
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https://theconversation.com/is-your-phone-really-listening-to-your-conve... There are other explanations for a lot of these situations where people think their phone or other device’s are listening. Did you “opt out of ads personalization” on Google? Do you have a clue what I’m talking about? Do you “reset your advertising ID” on a regular basis on Google? Do you have a clue what I’m talking about? Do you have your vehicle year and model information saved at the nearest auto parts store online? Did you give Google your real birthday when you created an account? When they asked about your gender, male/female or rather not disclose,, did you pick one of the first two? Do you have your actual town or city listed in the weather app or a city nearby? Do you allow a weather app to follow you and give you updates all the time? When you get a new phone do not assume that whatever permissions you granted or restricted will apply to every app.

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CNCman
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When nothing is typed or clicked on and you just had a conversation with someone in person and an hour later adds pop up, well answer how that happens. I looked at the video. I’m not concerned about ads. What I stated previously is no joke, its a fact. Just letting you know what is possible if a government agency is doing when they want to.

Hank33
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Lol yeah, I'm pretty obsessed with privacy also, especially Google. Right now according to my Google email acct, I'm a female with a female name. LOL Thumbs Up But privacy is the hot topic these days. Just have to take some time to go into your online accounts and fine-tune/add this and that or turn off privacy settings. Oh and watch for this guy out there. Like a 007 movie or something these days.

Oli
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CNCman wrote:
When nothing is typed or clicked on and you just had a conversation with someone in person and an hour later adds pop up, well answer how that happens. I looked at the video. I’m not concerned about ads. What I stated previously is no joke, its a fact. Just letting you know what is possible if a government agency is doing when they want to.
Answer all of my questions above and then I can attempt to give you an explanation. You’re not giving us any details. Are you claiming your phone was locked screen black in your pocket or you had it on the table in front of you with the screen on ,on what website I mean you’re not telling us anything about what device you think was listening or what the product was. Now you’re blaming the government for this ad? Now if you people are dealing with Siri or Alexa I don’t know what she’s doing. And I don’t have a clue what video you are referencing. I have YouTube search and watched History turned off. That doesn’t mean they’re not keeping track of it.

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Oli
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Also for everybody, are you signed in to the Google search page? If you don’t see a blue box in the top right hand corner that says “sign in”, then you are already signed in. You don’t need to be signed in. If you are using the Google search bar on your phone rather than going in through Chrome, you’re signed in.

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Oli
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Edit: see below. I’m not buying the fact that Google is listening. However some might find this tool useful on Android phones. Go into the widgets and drag up a settings widget. A list of options will come up and one of those options is notification LOG. It lets you see some of what’s going on in the background. And it will show you if an app uses your microphone. The log is gone every time you turn your phone off. So get a screenshot of anything you want to save. Edit,Your phone does listen for the “OK Google” phrase or whatever phrase you may have created with the Google Assistant. But if you turn off data and Wi-Fi you will see that the phone still hears that phrase even though it cannot connect to Google. So I should have said above that if you don’t have the Google Assistant enabled then your phone and google are not listening. And if you do have Google Assistant it’s still not recording until it hears the Google phrase.

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Dirty Water Guy
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I have all my google browsing settings to max private, use an app called ghostery for enhanced digital anonymity (I am typically in chrome browser),have no Alexa/google assistant device “listening” and use a vpn. I’ve never had this (targeted ads based on conversation/browsing) happen to me.
I am most leery of the Alexa/Google assistant. They are ALWAYS listing to hear “Alexa, what is….” or “Hey Google, when do….” so who’s to say the device isn’t listening to everything. It’s kind of silly to think it’s not actually (via AI). Advertisers love the meta data. Possibly NSA listening for specific words lumped together for national security purposes. Powerful AI software, more powerful computers and unlimited data storage make this all possible. Honestly, whatever my semi-paranoid brain can imagine likely pales in comparison to what’s actually going on.

Lightbringer
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And about phones…

I had an old old phone at the time, Nokia 3310 or whatever, oldie candybar phone. Lunch crowd wanted to stop into GameStop, which I had never gone into my entire life beforehand. We browsed around a bit, left.

Same day, I get a text-spam from… wait for it… wait for iiiiiiiiiiit… GameStop.

And then again a week or two later, and then another a month or so later. Thankfully, it stopped after that.

Hmm, odd. Even if it grabbed hold of the ESN/IMEI/whatever on location-chirps, how would it know the actual phonumber associated with that phone?

 

And yeah, “smart” teevees, fridges, etc., you really wanna dumb them down. Or do like Zuckerberg and put black stickytape on the mike and camera.

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Oli
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If you want to better understand this search for A two-year-old New York times series called One Nation Tracked. Or, 12 million phones, one dataset, zero privacy. If the New York times website says you can’t read the article, guess what, it’s because they’ve tracked you and know that you’ve already been to their site and read the four or five free articles they’ll allow you to read. Ad companies and businesses use Wi-Fi, GPS and Bluetooth beacons to track your phone and compile a profile. This was big news two plus years ago and Google and Apple have since restricted apps in their stores from having as many cookies in them but it is still an issue. This story already assumes you knew what was going on so they don’t go into a lot of the detail of how it worked. https://www.wired.com/story/companies-track-phones-movements-target-ads/

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JaredM
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Oli, I can say that without a shade of a doubt that short of ‘airplane mode’ and ‘sensors off’ nothing was active or enabled in my case. I was still signed into the phone with my google account, but every privacy option was at the max. I spent days combing through my account and device settings, even disabling some base google apps. If anything, this made me more of a target. I was in the car, phone stowed away, having an in-person conversation that had no precedent. There is zero doubt there was a live mic during those few minutes.

Proof in the pudding as they say. My phone was a year or two old at the time, and battery life was getting to the point just streaming music and occasional texting would make it a stretch to get through the day. After the new ROM, runtime doubled.

Standby time though is the REAL eye opener. Stock, I could fully charge the phone, turn everything off (wifi, BT, location, data) and stick it in a drawer. Two days MAX before it was dead. With LOS, same phone stands by for 18-23days. Never could get an accurate number because I always would end up interrupting it after a few days, but it was a massive difference.

Something is using that energy.

Another experiment.. pull out your sim and call 911. At your own risk of course.

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Oli
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All cell phones for probably 20 years have been able to dial 911 without a SIM card in them. It’s required by law in the US. There is a longer explanation that I won’t get into. I have multiple old phones with an app that allows me to see which cell tower they are connected to without Sims in them. And what Zuckerberg or the president or Snowden do with their microphones and cameras is different than what the average person needs to do. There are obviously hackers and or governments trying to hackitytap into their devices. I had the first phone that was able to listen for a keyword/phrase with the screen off. That was a Motorola Moto X in 2013. Google had just purchased Motorola. That was the origin of the Google Assistant as we know it today. The ability to wake a device with a keyword continued for a couple of years on some Motorola devices and possibly on to the first generation of Google specific phones. I forgot the name of those at this point.

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Lightbringer
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The G1 was supposedly the first Goggle phone… that?

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CollectEverything
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1. Are you sure noone on your home internet connection looked for checks online? You have one common public IP address so if someone else at your home searched for checks then any one of you might receive targeted advertising based on that.

2. It is possible to disable the features that utilize the always-on microphone. Just disable “Hey Google” and “While Driving” features.

3. Disable personalized ads in your google account (though this one really fixes a symptom and not the cause)

4. Go look at your google account and disable location history because by default it records where you go and anyone with access to your google account will have very specific knowledge about your habits.

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Oli
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Lightbringer wrote:
The G1 was supposedly the first Goggle phone… that?

I should not have said first Google phone. It was the Nexus line (6?)2014 . They started giving those phones special treatment. They were the first ones to get Android updates and beta features that other Android phones didn’t have access to. Pre pixel.

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CollectEverything
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JaredM wrote:
Oli, I can say that without a shade of a doubt that short of ‘airplane mode’ and ‘sensors off’ nothing was active or enabled in my case. I was still signed into the phone with my google account, but every privacy option was at the max. I spent days combing through my account and device settings, even disabling some base google apps. If anything, this made me more of a target. I was in the car, phone stowed away, having an in-person conversation that had no precedent. There is zero doubt there was a live mic during those few minutes.

Proof in the pudding as they say. My phone was a year or two old at the time, and battery life was getting to the point just streaming music and occasional texting would make it a stretch to get through the day. After the new ROM, runtime doubled.

Standby time though is the REAL eye opener. Stock, I could fully charge the phone, turn everything off (wifi, BT, location, data) and stick it in a drawer. Two days MAX before it was dead. With LOS, same phone stands by for 18-23days. Never could get an accurate number because I always would end up interrupting it after a few days, but it was a massive difference.

Something is using that energy.

Another experiment.. pull out your sim and call 911. At your own risk of course.

Did you have it on Airplane mode? Otherwise that would probably be the phone trying to connect to the cell towers so that it can make calls when requested.

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JaredM
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CollectEverything. It didn’t change that much with airplane mode on, off or even the sim pulled. I am aware of the cell modem pulling meaningful current. I had the same experience with my Moto X4 before/after the conversion, so this isn’t exactly a one-off.

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JaredM
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For those that think that turning off G assistant really makes a difference also consider this story.

From day one I’ve kept GA turned off. One night probably 3-4yrs ago I was in the car with my girlfriend of the day.. she had been drinking and we were going through the Wendy’s drive thru to get her chicken nuggets lol. Not being in her most attentive state, she grabbed my phone by mistake a proceeded to say OK Google over and over. After a handful of tries I realized what she had done and took my phone back. On the screen was a special google prompt telling me how to turn on GA if I wanted to use it. Kind of blew its own cover, no?

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CollectEverything
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JaredM wrote:
For those that think that turning off G assistant really makes a difference also consider this story.

From day one I’ve kept GA turned off. One night probably 3-4yrs ago I was in the car with my girlfriend of the day.. she had been drinking and we were going through the Wendy’s drive thru to get her chicken nuggets lol. Not being in her most attentive state, she grabbed my phone by mistake a proceeded to say OK Google over and over. After a handful of tries I realized what she had done and took my phone back. On the screen was a special google prompt telling me how to turn on GA if I wanted to use it. Kind of blew its own cover, no?


Unless you specifically went into settings and disabled it then it may have been listening but in an unconfigured state. I’m not saying that’s a good default behavior but it wouldn’t surprise me.

At any rate, Google has has some bad press regarding that microphone usage in the past couple of years. I’m reasonably sure that if there was ever a time when the disabled microphone was lying about being disabled that Google has patched that by now to avoid legal trouble.

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