Is Your Smartphone Listening to You, or Is It Just Coincidence?
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Security researchers have developed an app that spies on the conversations of those around the phones it is installed on. But the purpose of the app isn’t to breach your privacy. Instead, it has been designed to demonstrate how your privacy might be breached, and how what you say could be used by search engines and advertising networks to make adverts that are even more targeted.

Let’s take a look at the evidence, and try to work out whether surveillance-driven advertising is really taking place, or if it is really nothing more than good, old-fashioned, coincidence.

When Your Phone Knows

Various users across the web have claimed that something fishy is going on with their phones. They believe that smartphone microphones are being used to record what they say, with the information used to better target Google ads How To Avoid The Dangers Of Online Advertisements Targeted At Kids How To Avoid The Dangers Of Online Advertisements Targeted At Kids You might think you're smart enough to dodge manipulative advertisements -- and maybe you are smart enough -- but what about children? Online ads are increasingly targeting younger and younger folks. What can we do? Read More on websites and Facebook.

It sounds unlikely, but the anecdotal evidence is quite compelling. BBC Technology Report Zoe Kleinman reports an occasion when she learned of a friend’s death in tragic circumstances, only to find that her friend’s name, the accident, location and year were in the Google search box on her phone.

Further stories on Reddit expand further, such as this from hawk8177:

i was talking to a friend about a med he takes, next day im getting ads about that med… i asked a friend something about the best way to defog car windows… the next day when i open youtube the very first suggestion for me to watch was how to defog windows!

Here’s another, from karlrocks23

My SO and I were having a chat and I was telling her about a new Nespresso shop that opened up in the city and how nicely designed it was. I don’t like coffee that much, and I’ve never even tried Nespresso. That is the only time I can remember having a conversation about Nespresso to anyone and I’ve certainly never Googled it or anything.

The next day, all my ads on chrome were about Nespresso.. I have no issues with ads popping up related to things I’ve searched by voice or type. But it did feel a bit invasive being constantly listened to and for private conversations to be used as a means to target ads at me.

So many of these stories can be found on Reddit and beyond. This one, about a user noticing Google ads for everything he discussed with his wife, is particularly interesting, although too long to reproduce here.

My Own Experience

Back in 2015, I noticed a startling similarity between my Google Now recommendations (Google Now is a popular Google alternative to Siri 7 Siri Alternatives for Android: Google Now, Cortana, & More 7 Siri Alternatives for Android: Google Now, Cortana, & More There are a lot of personal assistant apps in the Play Store, so we help you sort through the best of them. Read More ) and news updates, and the shows I’d recently been watching. Keen to avoid spoilers, I had resisted the temptation to search for anything about the programs, so it was a surprise to see them listed.

muo-security-smartphones-listening-googlenow

A few days later, I’d forgotten about this, until I noticed that after leaving my phone at my mum’s house, a bunch of new shows appeared in Google Now, along with the legend “Because of your interest in this show”. You’ll see two examples above: on the left, Fireman Sam, which often played on TV not far from my phone. On the right, British TV drama Heartbeat, selected because it was “Similar to Coronation Street” – a show watched in our house, but not Googled.

It won’t surprise you to learn that I don’t share the same taste in TV shows as my mum.

Google Now on Android offers precious little in the way of options that might disable the microphone, other than abandoning the launcher altogether. So to combat this, I’ve started leaving my phone in my home office when watching TV. At the very least, I get fewer interruptions, and the appearance on my phone of TV shows I’m watching — or are currently screening – has dropped to zero.

It does seem as though this is something more than coincidence. But can it be proven that smartphone mics How to Use Your Smartphone as a Windows Microphone How to Use Your Smartphone as a Windows Microphone A microphone is useful when you want to join a conversation online. What if your computer doesn't have one? Simply hook up your smartphone as a mic. Here's how. Read More are being used to collect data and target appropriate content at users?

What the App Does

To prove that other apps could be stealing data captured through your smartphone’s microphone, cybersecurity expert Ken Munro developed – with the help of David Lodge from Pen Test Partners – an app that would record what was being said in the vicinity of a phone, and display it on a PC monitor.

As Munro explained to the BBC,

“All we did was use the existing functionality of Google Android – we chose it because it was a little easier for us to develop in.”

“We gave ourselves permission to use the microphone on the phone, set up a listening server on the internet, and everything that microphone heard on that phone, wherever it was in the world, came to us and we could then have sent back customized ads.”

David Lodge went on to explain that much of the code was already available either within the OS or in the public domain, and it seems the experiment was achieved with minimal battery drain on the device How to Improve Battery Life on Android 6.0 Marshmallow How to Improve Battery Life on Android 6.0 Marshmallow Battery life is finicky, but with this trick, you can squeeze a lot more out of your Android 6.0 Marshmallow device. Read More .

Google “Categorically” Rejects Accusations

Google and Facebook have both denied that their apps can take advantage of smartphone microphones to gather information in this way. With Facebook telling the BBC that it blocks brands from advertising based on microphone data, and Google claiming “categorically” that it does not use any “utterances” from when the OK Google hotword OK Google Doesn’t Work In Your Country? Don't Worry, It Does Now OK Google Doesn’t Work In Your Country? Don't Worry, It Does Now One of the great new features of Android KitKat is OK Google, the voice command that prompts your phone to accept verbal questions. Let's make it work better. Read More is used, it seems unlikely that any of this really happens.

Additionally, Google developer policy — that all app developers must agree to — specifies that apps do not breach privacy in this way.

So what is going on? Are devices listening in? Are Google and Facebook using voice recognition software against us to make a profit? Or is it really all just coincidence? Have you had the uncanny feeling that what you just talked about has appeared as an ad on your phone? Tell us about it in the comments.

Image Credits:Realistic ear by Aleksandrs Bondars via Shutterstock

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  1. Leslie
    November 20, 2017 at 4:27 pm

    Yes, this just happened to me yesterday. My mother and I were driving in the car and she was trying to remember the name of a character. We tossed a few names back and forth until I finally came up with James Bond. That was the name she was looking for. The following morning, I received a text message from "james bond (IM): Looking for a loan.....(SPAM). How the heck is that possible?????

  2. Reno
    November 18, 2017 at 3:19 am

    Just happened. My phone was on the table unused while playing Yahtzee. Alexa was streaming our fav radio. Luckily we got to yell Yahtzee!! a few times. Shortly after I played a game on my phone and that's right, Yahtzee add pooped up. Creeped out I switched games only to find the same add at the end of that one as well.

  3. S M
    November 17, 2017 at 7:17 pm

    Was talking about a new job I got, mentioned it's location by referring to a restaurant that can be seen from the highway. Today I am getting ads for that restaurant a lot. Never had the ads before and the restaurant doesn't have any franchises within an hour of where i've been this week.

    • mery
      November 18, 2017 at 3:10 pm

      how the heck are they denying these accusations? i was in the store with my boyfriend and i saw this iced tea that reminded me of the one in Wawas. i said "Babe omg that one reminds me of the one in Wawas". soooo around the nighttime when i got home, on instagram i saw a Wawas advertisement for coffee drinks.. it was DEFINITELY NOT A COINCIDENCE. lately ive been getting fishy feelings with my iphone like im being watched and monitored all the damn time. STAY WOKE PEOPLE

  4. PyramidOfControl
    November 10, 2017 at 6:19 pm

    Regardless of then intrusiveness, the overarching negative point is the bubnle-world it amplifies. Rather than heterogeny we get homogeneity on a silver-platter. Capital accumulators wants to stay viable—what better way than “making your preferences more easily obtainable!”

    Instead of any real benefits, like health care or adequate compensation for labor, we get “convenient” feedback loops of our outward expressions—despite the gross profit bias of stuff like this, I don’t agree with the opacity of the bubble worlds this type of “service” promotes.

  5. Linda
    November 9, 2017 at 12:54 am

    I was face timing with my daughter
    And we were talking about Tumerick Tea.
    We disconnected.
    I then got on Safari to search for something and a Tumerick add showed up.

  6. Savy
    November 3, 2017 at 6:14 pm

    So other day I said out loud..." I wonder if anyone is born with tails"( Completely odd and random, I know, but only serves as proof to me something fishy is going on) I then decided to google it. I typed in these two words "people born" and you know how it gives you suggested searches? Well its very top suggestion was ...people born with tails. Not people born in 1930 or people born during the depression or even people born in Alaska. Nope. People born with tails. Very very creepy...."they" are ALWAYS listening....

  7. Pete
    November 3, 2017 at 9:34 am

    Remove my name please and put anonymous

  8. Pete mitchell
    November 3, 2017 at 9:33 am

    Yes and often. Just today I asked a friend visiting who had heartburn if they wanted a Prilosec which I have never taken but I had some someone had left at my home . We talked about Prilosec for maybe thirty seconds. I have never even had heartburn and definitely haven’t searched about it or anything like it. Then a half hour a Prilosec ad appears . This is not the first or second time this type of thing has happened and every occasion has been very specific . I am going to test it now by saying random brands that I don’t use or search for and see how long it takes till I get an ad. I even turned off my personalized ads in google settings but there are many more user relevant ad providing companies than google now. Shit is getting real . Time for that block chain based decentralized browser .

    • andy
      November 14, 2017 at 7:30 pm

      ZERO doubt in my mind that instagram ads are targeted based on microphone data!

      I've had this creepy experience with Pedialite, Betterment, Nespresso, Electric toothbrushes, MacBook docking station (I don't even have a mac but mentioned it one in a phone call - next time I checked instagram there it was.) and countless others. In all of these cases, these items were never typed or searched - only mentioned in conversation (both during and not during phone calls).

  9. RAy
    November 3, 2017 at 4:20 am

    Yes it happened to me today November 2 2017. I was having a conversation about Christmas gift and possibly a set of sockets my friend replies and I start talking about sears craftsman and all of sears troubles financially and was it worth it to by craftsman tools these days. twenty min later I received an email from sears offering their goods. it concerns me greatly they are monetizing private conversations. Not cool!

  10. Druidsgirl
    October 30, 2017 at 4:43 am

    Sorry a bit personal. My local nurse rang me to schedule a smear test and the first advert i got was wish offering a speculum. Seriously who gets offered a speculum? No way is that coincidence. And ewww!

  11. Irene
    October 17, 2017 at 1:19 am

    My phone has been doing weird things that I can't explain. Today, I noticed my screen came on but I didn't touch it. The word LISTENING was on my screen. That is when I looked it up. At least I know I'm not imagining this. That's no cool to just ease drop. I'm not a criminal and this is wrong.

  12. Amanda
    October 3, 2017 at 10:51 am

    I have had many occasions when my phone conversations have resulted in a Facebook related ad. The one's I recall are - a discussion about not holding my pen properly and an ad popped up some time after with a gadget to place on your pen to hold it better. Another about toothpaste (could be a coincidence) and then another about my friends dog leaving fur everywhere in the house and that evening an ad popped up selling a 'fur remover'!

  13. Lindsay Elizabeth Sunde
    October 2, 2017 at 3:35 am

    I can only be glad to see this article. This is not new at all.

  14. Anonymous
    September 27, 2017 at 8:17 pm

    I've been noticing this for the past few months. It even just happened on this page. I was talking about working at Duke after I graduated a few times with my friends during clinical and sure enough while scrolling through this article there's a Duke nursing job listing advertisement. This big brother type shit needs to stop

  15. David G
    September 27, 2017 at 3:53 am

    My friend and I were in a cow pasture. He does not own a smartphone. Mine was in my pocket. My friend has done a lot of welding and I was asking him if he would be willing to perform a weld on a piece of patio furniture. I commented that I would like to learn the skill. When I got home I pulled out my phone to google something and the pages I visited had google ads for welding equipment. I've never searched for welding equipment or had a conversation about welding before that day in the cow pasture. This is only one example. I've noticed this phenomenon several times over the last couple of years.

  16. Juan
    September 23, 2017 at 4:33 pm

    Noon at work, went out for lunch with a colleague. He carries his Android phone with him, I left at my desk -- and that's an important point. As we walk through the neighborhood, we make casual conversation about buying versus renting a house. I have no interest in the real estate market: I plan to stay in this city just for a few years, then move on. I rent the place where I live, I have been there for one year now, and I never looked into alternatives. Later on I check my facebook: guess what? full of ads on property for sale and how to get loans. How do you explain that.

  17. Trevor
    September 23, 2017 at 10:02 am

    I get YouTube recommendations seemingly based on conversations I have at work or with my roommate on a regular basis. I noticed that these suggestions weren’t anything I had searched for, only verbally spoken about.

  18. David Glossop
    September 21, 2017 at 11:18 am

    I've been noticing this for a long time but though it was just me, only last night i had a random conversation about ISO containers and bingo, 10 mins later there are adverts for ISO shipping containers popping up on facebook. This just one of many examples of this happening to me, there's definitely something more to this and not I've come across this article I'll be taking more notice of connected conversation and adverts on my phone.

  19. Jason
    September 19, 2017 at 6:56 am

    THIS was weird. I did a normal Google search about dumb democrats, then told my father about what I found in the results. The next day I had advertisements on my browser about "stupid democrats" "idiot democrats do this/that"

    They are definitely listening to me and my dad.

  20. Tonie Mikulastik
    September 16, 2017 at 3:03 pm

    I was at the grocery store talking about the benefits of tumeric to the check out girl. This morning an ad on Facebook touting the benefits of Tumeric was on my phone. Yesterday my husband and I drove through a Ford dealership briefly looking at F250 trucks. 2 hours later an ad for that very dealership for F250 trucks popped up on his Facebook. We never talked to a salesman, just briefly drove up the F250 aisle on our way to dinner. We are creeped out.

    • Jenn
      September 27, 2017 at 5:42 pm

      Was your GPS on at any point?

  21. Terry
    September 16, 2017 at 2:31 pm

    Was talking to my mom about wooden elevated dog bowl feeders last night. This morning there was in ad on Facebook directing me to Overstock.com with exactly that. That was so specific that I'm totally creeped out now!

  22. Ben
    September 12, 2017 at 6:21 pm

    Found this article after searching for this because it happened to me too. Watched random comedy show on my desktop, with my iPhone nearby, and in one episode they made like a dozen geology-related jokes, they said the word "geology" at least a couple of times. Then I go on Facebook and see "Geology Page" being suggested for me. I have zero interest in geology and never searched or talked about anything related to that on the internet. Creepy.

  23. Vicky
    September 9, 2017 at 12:50 pm

    Me and my husband were on a road trip an stopped to get gas. We walk inside to use the restroom and get some coffee, and I weirdly decide to look for candy ( I never crave candy but I'm pregnant) and I was looking for sour patch kids. They didn't have them. I remember asking my husband out loud if he had seen them. I did not have my phone on me, I had left it in the car. When we go back on the road I remember having a about how strange that I was craving something so unusual and that the store didn't have it. That night when going to bed I get sour patch kids advertised on my Facebook!!!!! Creepy!!!
    I have never googled it either. What do I think of this incident? Coincidence? I doubt it!

  24. Brett McGennisken
    September 6, 2017 at 11:50 am

    I was just watching the programme Doctor Doctor on TV for the first time ever and I wanted to find out where it was filmed. I opened Google on my iPhone and typed 'Where i' and the suggestion 'Where is Doctor Doctor filmed?' appeared immediately.
    This definitely can't be a coincidence!

  25. Alex Stalker
    August 31, 2017 at 6:05 pm

    Well . Its funny after the 4/5 time i noticed that i was getting pop ups for items i had discussed buying i googled if it was happening to other people and shur enough it is . Me and my wife discuss getting new windows and siding on the house . Next day every pop up , f.b add and utube add is about windows and siding. I noticed it but didnt think much of it . We talk about buying a camper . Yup a day later i start seeing adds for where to buy. The last one ( today) is about getting a privacy fence. We talked about it yesterday on the phone , and yup 4 of 5 adds have been where to buy / get fencing installed. W.t.h is going on ? I do mot use the google speech to text or the ask google deal . I have not searched any of the above. I have had a conversation in the present of my phone or on my phone .

  26. KK
    August 30, 2017 at 8:14 pm

    I ate a package of swedish fish last night, which I did not purchase. This morning my instagram account featured an ad for swedish fish. I've never googled the candy, and yet there it was the morning after indulging. I don't have the fb app, have never downloaded messanger app. The only social media I have on my phone is instagram, and I repeatedly wake up to ads for products I've talked to people about. This was the first time I saw an ad for something I had just eaten, though.

  27. AJB
    August 24, 2017 at 9:06 am

    After recovering from the very first serious illness of his adult life, my father called me one evening to discuss "something important". He then went on to tell me that he had purchased a Life Insurance policy, and listed me as Beneficiary.

    I was upset. I know he was just trying to be conscientious, but I have always had an aversion to Life Insurance and I didn't want to discuss collecting his, in particular! I told him I understood what he had explained to me, but I don't want to talk about it anymore.

    Later that night, checked my Yahoo mail and there are ads for LIFE INSURANCE! Also saw several of them the next day!!

    I did mention that to my Dad, (because I was PISSED OFF!), and I asked him if he had looked up on the internet, or texted about his policy, and he said that he had not. He had gone through a friend in the business. He is not a social media user, no Facebook, or Instagram, and even if that was true, he had the policy for several weeks before he called and we spoke of it, only THEN, did I get targeted by these ads. I KNOW my call was monitored.

  28. Bob greene
    August 23, 2017 at 5:32 pm

    iPhone 6s with fb messenger mic disabled, no fb app at all, and amazon mic disabled. I have had several instances where it could not be coincidence. Most recently today, over the weekend with friends we had a conversation about the high cost of making a phone call at the bottom of the Grand Canyon. I playfully mentioned it would make sense to get a satellite phone instead if you really needed to make a long call while down there - then the conversation moved on. Never looked up sat phones, never text about them, never been interested in them, yet today I get an amazon ad and the very first item shown to me is, guess what..... a sat phone when normally it's things I'm actually interested in. Previously, I had a light conversation with the gf about quantum physics and how odd the study is. The very next day, an ad for a college course on quantum physics shows up. One day I had a conversation about drones with a friend, I had been interested in them but never really looked anything up - same day, ads for drones start showing up... there are more examples that are escaping me at the moment but it's happened way too many times on really odd and specific topics for my phone to not be listening in.

  29. Jack
    August 20, 2017 at 4:24 pm

    Just happened to me SPEAKING (not writing anything in the PC) with a friend of SEO and Strikers got me ads never seen before about Web Agencies and Pixarprint.

    Few days ago, talking of business and got business school ads...

    Other times, just ads from my tracking cookies, but this time just SPOKE, not wrote anything from my browser!

  30. JackD
    August 20, 2017 at 4:22 pm

    Just happened to me.

    Me and my friend talked about stickers and SEO and after he leaved, browsing sites I found some google ADS of Pixart Printing and Web Agencies...

    Talked about business and get business school...

    I never had that ADS before.

    I'm an expert dev, I can affirm I had no tracking cookie on my browser and I've NOT even WRITE anything on the PC, I just SPOKE those words!

    This is F**KING SCARING. Please explain.

  31. Laura
    August 14, 2017 at 4:24 pm

    Our car wouldn't start this morning so my husband and I had a conversation about the battery, jumper cables, and needing to take it in to get looked at. Opened up Twitter ten minutes later and there's an add for the new Fiat 500x. I never search anything car-related and we haven't bought a new car in two years.

  32. natalie
    August 8, 2017 at 7:54 pm

    This has happened to me but on a desktop. I had a conversation about living in the busy city etc. and then a few minutes later, my screensaver is of a busy city, a screensaver I haven't seen before. This is on my desktop, not phone.

  33. JC
    August 8, 2017 at 4:17 am

    So I was at Nordstrom with my wife tonight - she was looking at shoes. We both joked that she should get Jimmy Choos (they are a bit out of the price range....). Now, neither of us have EVER searched for these shoes. Absolutely no reason to, since they're so expensive. I don't think we've ever even spoken about them prior to be honest.

    Tonight when we got home, she had an ad for Jimmy Choo on her Facebook feed.

  34. Rebecca
    August 2, 2017 at 6:50 am

    Super freaked out. I just googled this because I was eating a bag of Tostitos tortilla chips by myself (that I did not purchase myself) and reading the news on my phone. I went to put them away and logged onto a Facebook and all my Facebook ads were for Tostitos! I hardly ever eat them and was eating them at a family member's house by myself (did not speak about them). The only noise in the room was chips crunching as I was eating. Are they utilizing your camera as well to recognize brands? What else could explain this?

    • Rose Ann Bauer
      August 19, 2017 at 9:07 pm

      I was wondering same thing...the camera.

  35. Jane
    July 31, 2017 at 10:58 am

    Is there a word limit on this comment form? My other two long comments didn't post....

    It's better that they didn't, anyway. I sounded stupid. I had written about noticing TV commercials that I have never seen before reflecting things I have spoken about near a smartphone.

    I thought it was a reality that our internet searches reflect the types of commercials we see on TV. I've noticed this strange coincidence many times before and thought I had read an article about this actually happening. I was wrong. It's not really a thing after all. It's all just a coincidence....or so I'm supposed to believe.... ;)

    Anyway, I thought....if what we say around a smartphone can determine the ads we see online... and our internet searches determine what tv ads we see....then could it be possible that what we say around our smartphones could also determine what tv ads we see?

    Maybe in the future? Weird. I'm just noticing more coincidences and it's kinda creepy.

  36. Jane
    July 31, 2017 at 10:30 am

    Oops, that Wired article I linked to wasn't what I had read a couple of years ago...wrong link!! Sorry!! It doesn't state the internet search/tv commercial link but I did read something about it...just can't find the right article!! Maybe it wasn't Wired.........hmmm. Maybe that's not even a thing?!! Who knows.

  37. Jane
    July 31, 2017 at 10:17 am

    I typed out a long comment but it didn't post! Argh! Here it is simplified:

    I know that TV commercials are tailored to individuals based on their internet searches. So if my neighbor and I are watching the same show at the same time, she and I would see different commercials based on our internet searches. Some would be the same but some would be different. I notice my commercials reflect what I've searched for all the time. I read an article on Wired a couple of years ago about Google making this happen. A couple of years ago it was in its trial phase.

    Anyway, if the internet search/tv commercials thing is happening....and we're being shown ads on our computers for things we've talked about near our smartphones....then it's possible that what we say around our smartphones could also determine what commercials we will see on TV.

    I've been noticing this. I'll say something around my phone and later that day when I'm watching TV I'll see a commercial related to what I've spoken about. For example, one day I was having a conversation about cutting out sugar (smartphone nearby) and later that day I saw a Coca-Cola commercial that literally said "We hear you" several times and it was all about how they're cutting sugar in drinks. I think it was the "We hear you" part repeated over and over and typed on the screen that creeped me out. I had never seen the commercial before. Could have been a coincidence...cutting out sugar is super common. But right after that a Dickey's BBQ commercial came on and I had also been talking about a BBQ earlier that same day when I was talking about cutting back on sugar. I also never see Dickey's commercials. That those played consecutively was weird to me. I dunno. Could be a coincidence but it isn't the first time that's happened.

    Weird.

  38. Mohammad H. Rahman
    July 30, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    Happened to us on July 30, 2017. Was talking about a business idea with my wife in bedroom and next thing I see relevant Facebook ads in the side banner of my Facebook page.
    This is crazy. Totally invasion in our privacy!
    Anyone knows how to avoid this, find the relevant culprit apps and turn those off?
    Thank you for the article!

  39. Jane
    July 30, 2017 at 10:14 am

    I've been noticing the COMMERCIALS I see on TV are related to conversations I've had. Phone is nearby...I'm talking about how I'm cutting out sugar trying to go sugar free....what appears on TV later that day? A Coca-Cola commercial I have never seen before literally saying "We hear you" and describing how they are cutting sugar, making natural drinks, etc. It was all about cutting sugar. The commercial repeated "We hear you" several times it was so weird and kind of eerie. I guess it COULD have been a coincidence but what if it wasn't? Also, right after this commercial a Dickey's BBQ commercial came on. I never see Dickey's commercials... earlier that same day I had also mentioned BBQ...in a text and speaking out loud. It was strange to me that those two commercials came on consecutively. Could be coincidence, I guess...but I'm just noticing it more and more. Also, I know it's a fact that commercials are shown based on internet searches....so the commercials I see at my house may be different than the ones my neighbor sees even though we're watching the same program at the same time. I read about it here a couple of years ago: https://www.wired.com/2015/03/google-fiber-ads/

    Anyway, if some commercials we see are based on internet searches then it would make sense that we would also see commercials based on what we've said when our phone is around...if things we've discussed around our phones show up on the computer as targeted ads then why wouldn't it show up on TV as well?

    Anyway, it's weird.

  40. They are watching us
    July 21, 2017 at 3:07 am

    Happend again today. Told someone about a podcast I hadn't listened to in a year (got ride of it off my iphone). Opened up You Tube right afterwards and boom. Top video was posted by that same podcast.

  41. Josi
    July 19, 2017 at 4:59 am

    Happened today. Friend texted me pics of new car they bought - a Pacifica. Then we talked on the phone. Tonight, in Facebook feed, ads for Pacifica.

    I had no idea they were even going to buy a car, and we only conversed by phone and text.

    Google and others cannot think the public is that ignorant. Obviously, while google may have a policy against listening in on private conversations, no doubt another company or companies are collecting information by listening in, and selling it to google and Facebook in order to target ads.

  42. Ally
    July 18, 2017 at 6:36 pm

    Proof!!! This has happened to me as well and after reading these comments I decided to actually stage a test. So last night I opened facebook and left it open in the background (never did anything with the microphone), then sat my phone on the nightstand in the bedroom and left the room. Then my hubby and I sat on the couch and picked a random product that we had never talked about before. We landed on a bread maker - I have no idea why! I then went back into my room, and without touching my phone, started talking about bread makers. I mentioned "I want a bread maker, homemade bread, bake bread at home, bread machine, etc." over and over again. I felt like a nut! Anyways, I then left the room to finish up my evening. When I came back to go to bed for the evening, my husband and I eagerly got my phone and opened up facebook. Started to scroll down to see the first ad and what was it for...a Hamilton Beach bread machine!!!!!! No one can ever say that this was a coincidence. I'd love to hear facebook deny that!

    • Christian Cawley
      July 19, 2017 at 7:56 am

      Thanks Ally, nice idea!

  43. Maddy
    July 18, 2017 at 12:49 am

    I'm so glad this isnt only happening to me. At first all the ads just seemed to be based off searches which didn't bother me. But I had a short conversation with a friend about PC gaming and how building a computer seems cool. The same day I got an Ailenware ad, despite only talking about it for 5 minutes and never searching/looking at anything PC related online.

  44. Tracy Cales
    July 18, 2017 at 12:19 am

    My boyfriend proposed to me last August while his brother was visiting us. Of course we talked about it with his brother while he was there, but other than him we kept from telling anyone for a week or so. Before either of us had said anything to anyone else, we both started suddenly getting a lot of wedding ads on our computers. From tux rentals, to bridal sites, to wedding registries, all of it started flooding in. We spoke to each other about it because it seemed so odd, and we had definitely not said anything to anyone outside of our home and neither of us had googled / searched for anything wedding related on our computers. I have no doubt in my mind that my phone is being monitored. Since this weird coincidence, the same thing has happened with other conversations we have had at home, it's scary. The last serious conversation we had, I put my phone under our mattresses just in case!!

  45. Matt
    July 17, 2017 at 5:12 pm

    Yesterday, we went to a one year old's birthday party. The hosts had recently bought some outdoor "zero gravity" lounge chairs. We talked about them as we had never seen them before and they looked comfortable. When we got home, my wife opened Instagram and the very first ad was for the same zero gravity chairs. We did not search the internet for anything related to the chairs, we simply talked about them for two minutes at the party. We are not Facebook friends with the host. That is disturbing.

    • James Bruce
      July 17, 2017 at 5:24 pm

      Products get advertised to a certain demographic, at a certain time. Your friends recently bought one, after seeing it marketed somewhere, then you also saw some marketing. It's summertime. Summer goods get advertised.

      Just yesterday I was thinking how silly fidget spinners were, then the next day I saw ads for them on Facebook! It's like Facebook literally read my mind and knew I was thinking about them.

      • Matt
        July 17, 2017 at 5:41 pm

        Sorry James, but no. These were odd looking chairs, had either my wife or I EVER seen an add for these, we'd remember. Like I said, we are not digital friends with the owners. Nor were they recent purchases as they said they had bought them over a year ago. Then two hours after seeing these for the first time in our lives, the opening page of my wife's Instagram account recommends these chairs.

        • James Bruce
          July 17, 2017 at 7:44 pm

          "The hosts had recently bought"... "nor were they recently purchased".

          Story seems to have changed, though I guess it's of little consequence. Google Trends will show you that in summertime, search traffic and therefore sales and marketing budgets for "zero gravity chairs" increases significantly.

  46. Seth
    July 17, 2017 at 9:18 am

    A few hours ago I was talking to someone about a topic I have never searched or spoken about before. It is a Volcano in Ecuador called Cotopaxi. I just met this person today and am not friends with her on Facebook. She showed me photos she took from there on her phone and also I think searched Cotopaxi on Google. I just went onto Facebook and I had an Ad for a company called Cotopaxi. Now 1) best case scenario my phone was listening. Scarier is I think that my phone was very far away charging where my mic could not hear . If that is the case 2) it used our similar location and her phone to target the Ad to me. Either way there is no doubt that we have very little privacy.

    • Christian Cawley
      July 17, 2017 at 1:32 pm

      Well thanks for sharing this one, Seth, as it's a really interesting account. Having contact with someone you didn't previously know rules out a few social aspects of this, and enhances the geo side.

    • James Bruce
      July 17, 2017 at 5:26 pm

      Developer here: The site you visited after searching likely had a Facebook tracking pixel on it. Facebook knew you visited the site, and showed you a relevant ad. It didn't need to listen to you speaking.

      • Matt
        July 17, 2017 at 5:44 pm

        I see you're going through the site trying to debunk these instances. But please read properly first...the poster did not google search, the person he met did. The poster only mentioned it verbally.

        • James Bruce
          July 17, 2017 at 7:30 pm

          Actually, they're missing the subject of that sentence clause. "I think searched on google" could refer to either them or the the third party, but it doesn't make sense to tell us that the other person googled for that.

    • Seth
      July 20, 2017 at 12:07 pm

      If I was not clear I apologize. I did not google anything. I know she showed me her own pictures. She may have also googled Cotopaxi to show me stock photos as well.

  47. E.S.
    July 15, 2017 at 8:19 pm

    My sister and her boyfriend were discussing co-parenting last night. When she opened her phone this morning, there was an ad for resources for co-parenting. She has never googled the topic.

    • Christian Cawley
      July 16, 2017 at 10:53 am

      Cut and dried. Thanks for sharing!

  48. Sid McMullen
    July 13, 2017 at 1:40 pm

    A friend and I were just talking about his idea of buying a cnc plasma machine at breakfast yesterday. Today I am getting ads about plasma machines in my FB feed. No doubt that my phone was listening to our conversation. I had questioned myself before about these ads, confirmed my suspicions.

  49. Mery Segovia
    July 12, 2017 at 9:29 pm

    Just had a presentation at work (a private university) about a new up and coming Entrepreneurship program. I later went to lunch and had a brief discussion about the presentation and just as in the presentation my alma mater's similar program was lightly discussed a two sentence conversation really. When I get back to the office I check my personal email same as the one connected on my phone which I had carried around the whole time and find a LinkIn mailing with information on my alma matters entrepreneurship program.

  50. Chris
    July 8, 2017 at 7:57 pm

    I was just talking to my wife this afternoon about whether the smoothies we made could be turned into ice cream if we had an ice cream maker. First time I've even thought about an ice cream maker in ten years. I just got an email from eBay with four ice cream makers as suggestions.

  51. Anon
    July 7, 2017 at 3:47 am

    Mine is not ad related but today I was discussing a slang term with my friend and we were wondering how the term originated. I went to google and typed in "how did the term" and immediately the very first auto writing google presented had the term I was discussing with a friend and it popped up for me to click. Never googled it before. Pretty irritating.

    • Christian Cawley
      July 8, 2017 at 8:20 pm

      That is pretty interesting. Thanks for sharing !

  52. Cc
    July 7, 2017 at 3:43 am

    I'm honestly very freaked out. My bf and i started an experiment where we have loud conversations about a specific brand or company and then check Facebook and social media apps to see if we have ads for brands, and we do

  53. Norman Leach
    July 5, 2017 at 12:36 am

    Ok, I have looked up and researched alcohol related materials and I've purchased numerous drinking song cds.
    The coincidence occurred when having entered a local tavern with a book under my arm after placing and breifly discussing the author and his also famous brother, within the half hour I received an ad inviting me to learn more about the author. So, was it my previous inquiry, cameras in the bar or on another's phone, or the mic? No one knew my name and could not have initiated that action. So, why the ad featuring a twenty year old text?

    • Christian Cawley
      July 5, 2017 at 2:04 pm

      This is a really good account, thank you for sharing it, Norman!

  54. J
    June 30, 2017 at 9:12 am

    Last night, my husband and I were talking in the kitchen about making chicken tacos the next night for dinner and guess what showed up on the husband's phone the next day? An ad about how to make chicken tacos!

  55. J
    June 28, 2017 at 3:13 pm

    The other night I was out with some friends, one of them had a fidget spinner ( don't ask ). Two days later I'm on youtube and guess what comes up on my recommended? Fidget spinners .... I've never ever searched it or looked at any videos that even mention them.
    That isn't the first time it's happened but it was the most recent.

    • Christian Cawley
      June 28, 2017 at 6:50 pm

      Hmm. Not sure if we count this one, as fidget spinners are pretty popular right now.

      However, I'm sure you'll find some other instances to share with us!

  56. Neharika
    June 27, 2017 at 11:10 am

    This is bothering me from a very long time. Once I was talking to my friend about amla that is Indian gooseberry, I didn't do any recent internet searches about it and later while scrolling through Instagram I saw ads about amla juice. The other time I was talking to my friend about mensural cycle on the color of mensural blood, later I opened Pinterest and after scrolling a bit had suggestion for an article about 'what your period blood color means'. Once i was talking to my boyfriend once about ethnicity of India and got suggestion on YouTube for 'why North Indians are fair and South Indias are dark'.such specific app suggestion for the talks that I had with my close ones, creeped me out!!!! I didn't allow any apps to have access for my microphone, but I guess u really don't have a choice !!!

    • Christian Cawley
      June 27, 2017 at 11:25 am

      Another interesting account of smartphone eavesdropping search hints. Thanks!

  57. Diane
    June 26, 2017 at 12:40 am

    My iphone 6 ios10 is absolutely listening without microphone permissions being turned on and without Siri being turned on. On Friday, in a marketing meeting, my boss mentioned a producted named EpiServe - I never head of it, so I asked, "What's EpiServe?" I had my phone with me. I don't have Facebook app installed on my phone (although I do have Instagram, but again I had denied Insta mic access). A couple hours later I was on Facebook on my desktop and there was an ad for EpiServe. There is no other explanation for this - it is not a product category I've ever searched. I'm angry and ready to explore options beyone the iphone. Protecting my privacy should not be impossible when using these devices.

  58. Rebecca
    June 25, 2017 at 8:24 am

    This happened to me today and it is still creeping me out. I was at my in-law's house and I had just subscribed to amazon prime due to the fact that they give students a 6 month free trial. I was telling my father-in-law about my subscription and how I got the free trial because I am a student. My phone was sitting right by my side during this conversation. We then go to their office so I can show them a youtube video. The video had an ad promoting amazon prime and how they have the 6 month free trial for students. I was not logged into my youtube account and it was not my computer. What.The.Hell. Seriously..I am really creeped out.

    • Christian Cawley
      June 27, 2017 at 11:25 am

      Thanks for sharing that, Rebecca. Don't be creeped, be vigilant. The more accounts of this phenomenon, the better.

  59. S anderson
    June 21, 2017 at 2:08 pm

    Talking with coworker..about what a great neighborhood _________ was.
    The name is not one I googled.
    Next day ads appeared for property for sale in that neighborhood.
    Have had instances of ads for meds showing up for sympyoms I've talked about also.

  60. RLG
    June 15, 2017 at 6:40 pm

    I had a friend come over with her two young children for a playdate with my toddler. We discussed many topics, most of which were synonymous with my online activity. Two conversations however were on topics I definitely have not searched about recently, if ever: sewing/sewing machines and camping with young children. A little while after they left and my son was down for a nap I opened my Pinterest app as I usually do to browse for a few minutes in peace. Among the first few pins on my feed was one about sewing machine repair and maintenance and another about a DIY kid potty for camping.
    Coincidence?

    • Christian Cawley
      June 21, 2017 at 6:57 pm

      Probably not a coincidence! Let us know if you spot any further occurrences.

  61. Bamboozle
    June 4, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    I really think they do...
    This sort of undisclosed spying/marketing is malicious.
    I was talking to a relative about their holiday plans, mostly involving a cruise in the Adriatic visiting sites like Dubrovnik and so on. Note that I did not do any searching online whatsoever, this was just casual conversation. The next day I was using the Facebook app on my iphone where I was met with a significant amount of ads detailing hotels in Dubrovnik and other towns on the Adriatic. This in particular rang my alarm bells. Facebook ads in particular are tweaked, they aren't general - usually I was targeted with job-related ads.
    This seems to be an issue that would require some sort of investigation on part of a national body.

  62. WillyNaler
    June 3, 2017 at 1:14 am

    Last night my SO and I were discussing a police officer. He wanted to carry his gun into the MRI center that we both work at. North Carolina law is clear, no wepons.
    Today youtube has 2 suggested videos. One about concealed carry and one about when you shouldn't talk to cops.

    Tonight my GF had been on FB at work when a new patient arrived. She immediately set her phone down. When she got home and opened FB it was suggesting the patient as someone she might know.

    Yes, they are listening!

    • Christian Cawley
      June 4, 2017 at 7:43 am

      Another great account, thanks for sharing.

  63. ConcernedConsumer
    June 2, 2017 at 6:54 am

    Happened using a Wii!! Made a comment about a very specific off the wall product...

    Next thing. Youtube app on the Wii shows that EXACT product. Not a likeness. THE EXACT PRODUCT.

    This weekend I'll be cleansing my tech :(

    • Christian Cawley
      June 4, 2017 at 7:43 am

      Wow, now that is a whole new dynamic. Are you signed into the YouTube app on your Wii? Was your phone nearby?

  64. Cheryl Lore
    June 1, 2017 at 3:25 pm

    So the other day I spoke to someone on my phone about a medical condition someone had..... I've never searched for it, spoke about it before or really even thought about it.

    I now have emails about this condition, Ads on Facebook about this condition and website browser ads about it. (I'm not mentioning the condition in hopes the word is removed from the algorithm, but it is not a common disease and obscure enough to prove this is definitely not a coincidence)

    If this is happening on an unsecured phone by advertising companies, just think how easy it would be for someone with nefarious intentions. Good thing I don't know any classified information......

    • Christian Cawley
      June 4, 2017 at 7:44 am

      Thanks for sharing, Cheryl.

  65. Mic
    May 31, 2017 at 5:43 pm

    In my case, I was looking at lunch time for t-shirts with custom logos on Ebay using my work computer. To see after that an add popped out from a game app on my phone, showing the first T shirt that I was looking at on ebay!!!! How can this be possible? I do not plug my phone to my work computer? I do not have the eBay app on my phone and did not even looked for the articles from ebay on my phone... How can they link? No bluetooth or WiFi on my work PC?

    • Lix
      June 25, 2017 at 10:26 pm

      Are you logged in to chrome on both devices? Or any other platform? Fb?

    • Danielle
      June 27, 2017 at 2:03 am

      This I can understand, it's happened to me plenty of times. At my old job I searched for a bunch of construction equipment on the computer and it would show up on my phone later. Something with the wifi and cookies, they take computers you're most likely using and somehow put it together to send the ads. Still kind of creepy but not as creepy as the microphone thing which has also happened to me plenty of times.

  66. Liz
    May 28, 2017 at 6:21 am

    This has happened to me too many times now to be a coincidence. On Friday evening I was chatting to a colleague about their upcoming holiday in the Lake District. I mentioned that when I went 10 years ago I took an inflatable kayak which was great fun. This morning, an Amazon ad on Facebook is suggesting that I buy an inflatable kayak... can't remember ever doing a search online for this so can only assume targeted ads are using microphone data

    • Christian Cawley
      June 4, 2017 at 7:44 am

      IT certainly seems that way! Thanks for sharing your account.

  67. Don
    May 27, 2017 at 3:09 pm

    Last night I spoke with my mom on the phone and she mentioned that she was having trouble with TV reception. We spoke for 2 or 3 min about the difference between the antennas she has on each TV. When I woke up this morning, one of the first things in my Facebook feed was a story from Consumer Reports on ways to improve you TV antenna signal.

    Because all of these websites share the same advertising networks, I can see how Facebook and Google can make the claim they are not listening. If *any* app on the phone listens and feeds that info to the ad network, every other app and website on the same ad network will reflect the data. The question is, which one is it??? And, do Facebook and Google know but choose to turn a blind eye?

  68. Amanda
    May 23, 2017 at 3:38 pm

    I was talking to my daughter about Halloween costumes and she mentioned she wanted to be the Morton Salt Girl. It was just a verbal discussion and I didn't do any searching for images. The next day, Instagram served me up an ad for Morton Salt! I just thought a salt ad was too weird to just be served up like that. It was no coincidence. I'm a marketer and always looking for ways to target, but this hit a little too close to home.

  69. Angelique
    May 15, 2017 at 6:49 am

    I too have noticed these coincidences !!! Or someone else is talking about something and more than once it's showed up on Facebook.. I would love to get to the bottom of it.

  70. Pam W.
    May 15, 2017 at 3:32 am

    I asked my sister yesterday how she liked her new Dyson vacuum, I'm not vacuum shopping, just making conversation and today I got a Dyson ad on Facebook. Same conversation I mentioned a dress brand I'd just bought and I got a FB ad for that too. I've never Googled either one. I'm freaked out, and pretty convinced my phone is eavesdropping.

  71. Ain
    May 10, 2017 at 5:27 am

    I just started using Android couple of weeks ago (finally switched from Windows Phone, which I can now say, was very much ad-free). So yesterday I saw my colleague in his hotel room had a weird machine and asked what is this. He explained it was the sleep apnea machine. I've never ever before talked about sleep apnea with anyone or searched it. Lo and behold, today I get sleep apnea machine ads in my facebook feed. WTF!?!?!?
    Switching off microphone, Ok Google has to go as well. But keep in mind, I never said "OK Google, what is this weird machine you're having here". So this listening-in is happening constantly and not only with Ok Google. Very disappointed in Android. And Google is lying when they "categorically deny" this happening. This cannot be coincidence.

  72. Mitch
    May 3, 2017 at 6:15 am

    A friend of mine mentioned the Xiaomi Air to me in a conversation. He was talking about it in reference to the quality of their products - as he had just bought a Xiaomi Phone. Then the next day I was getting ads about the air in the same location where the usual products that I have googled sit at the bottom of various click bait pages. Very creepy.

  73. Joel
    May 1, 2017 at 5:19 pm

    I've been interested in buying a particular bbq and we were discussing it last night (and at other times previously). Today my wife is seeing ads for that bbq. We do not share devices or accounts at all and she's never searched for it. The other day I was mocking a co-worker for suggesting that devices are listening. Now I'm not so sure.

    • Christian Cawley
      May 2, 2017 at 11:18 am

      Same old story: always a laugh until it happens to you!

      Thanks for sharing, Joel.

  74. Chelsie
    April 29, 2017 at 3:18 am

    I searched for information on this after it happened to me. I was out to eat with my family talking about my upcoming trip to Cancun and how I was afraid of snorkeling (I feel like I am not going to be able to breath). So I mentioned that I might try these new full face masks they have for snorkeling. I get home that night and I am scrolling through Instagram and there was an add for these full face snorkeling masks this was literally two hours later and I had not so much as texted the word snorkel on my phone. It really creeped me out and there is now way it is coincodence. I live totally land locked in Colorado so I am way more likely to get hiking or skiing adds not tropical ocean gear adds. So crazy. I have also heard several of my friends say they have had it happen but blew it off until this happened.

    • Christian Cawley
      May 2, 2017 at 11:18 am

      Well at the very least, your friends aren't wrong, and you're not alone.

      Enjoy the holiday!

  75. marie
    April 27, 2017 at 2:41 pm

    Just had this talk yesterday with a friend. We had been talking about glue for a mug and about trying super or crazy glue. My iphone 5s was nearby. Hadn't talked about this glue in litterally years and absolutely never searched for it. Later the SAME DAY an ad pops up for a sale on... 'Krazy Glue' at a local store no less! WTF? We also talked about a skirt I hadn't worn in a while. Just today a new ad pops up randomly for an almost indentical skirt (color, material, length etc)! The kicker? I my GF it was a bit tight at the waist...the ad for the skirt was for one a SIZE UP!!

    It seriously has me concerned and feeling invaded. The show Marketplace did a couple of documentaries on smartphones spying on us. They were an eye opener! Watch them.

    CNN, CBC and or BBC need to do an independent investigation on this because either Google is LYING or they've been hacked. My guess is this is a well known well kept secret among marketers/ retailers and parts of the media!

    • Christian Cawley
      May 2, 2017 at 11:19 am

      That's a pretty definitive piece of evidence right there, thanks for sharing Marie.

  76. DL
    April 24, 2017 at 7:23 am

    I texted my husband something about Lifelock and he got an email ad about it hours later. Coincidence?? I think not. Now they're spying on our texts. I never gave Apple or any other company permission to do this, as we all have done by being on Facebook. It's the evil we agreed to for a free account and free Google. But I think spying on my texts is an extreme violation of my privacy!!!! We are all exposed to pretty much be spied on and it's insane. I'm so sick of targeting advertising in general. I do one google search for something and have 50 ads for it appearing everywhere on every app or platform. Google, Facebook, and every company like them should go *!*# themselves. I'll never get Alexa or any device like it!!

    We're just a stones throw away from law enforcement starting to do this to people.

  77. Brittani
    April 24, 2017 at 5:52 am

    I was telling my friends that my phone listens in on my conversations and ads coincidentally pop up after said conversations. Well the three of them are getting master's degrees to be therapists and were talking about it. Today I had an ad on Facebook and Instagram about licensed therapists. It totally confirmed my suspicions.

    • Christian Cawley
      April 25, 2017 at 5:21 am

      What did your friends think about this?

    • marie
      April 27, 2017 at 2:42 pm

      Read my comment I can relate.

      No joke.

  78. Aaron
    April 11, 2017 at 4:07 am

    I was driving home yesterday, telling my partner how I want to retire and mow lawns ( a silly retirement fantasy of mine lol ). I was saying I should probably buy a franchise to learn the inns and outs first...low and behold next morning in my gmail, from Google is an Ad to buy Jims Mowing franchise in Sydney where I live...suspect.

    If its going to get scary like this, Ill go but an 1990's Alcatel. Privacy please, if it exists anymore.

    • Christian Cawley
      April 11, 2017 at 9:19 am

      Thanks for sharing, Aaron.

      It certainly is suspect!

  79. Sean
    April 8, 2017 at 2:21 am

    I googled this article because this has happened to me. I have very specific conversations about hotels and tourist attractions at work, but they are things I have never searched for on my mobile phone. The very next day I have been receiving advertisements on my mobile for businesses that I had spoken of only at work, where my mibile sits on the desk next to me.

    I feel absolutely violated. I didn't sign on for this.

    • Christian Cawley
      April 14, 2017 at 9:11 am

      Thanks for sharing, Sean. Interesting to see a bridge between every day stuff and business conversations -- nothing is exempt, it would seem!

  80. Jameson
    April 7, 2017 at 10:51 pm

    Dropping my two cents in here. Having a chat with friend, phone in my pocket, and he asked me if I have every done psychedelics, specifically using the word psychedelics not drugs or tripping etc. I have not talked about, google'd, or am interested in mind altering experiences. I opened up YouTube app on iOS about 3 min after the conversation and there is a recommended video for Sam Harris on psychedelics from Big Think. I am a fan of Sam Harris but have never heard of the Big Think channel (looks interesting though). And to have this video show up with a specific word minutes after a conversation about it seems like something more than coincidence.

    • Christian Cawley
      April 14, 2017 at 9:09 am

      That is, appropriately enough, pretty weird. Thanks for sharing, Jameson

  81. Kendra
    April 7, 2017 at 6:56 am

    Okay, I never comment on these online posts, but I HAVE to on this subject because this happens to me almost daily. At first I thought I might have just been being paranoid...but after situations like this happening to me day after day, week after week...this is no coincidence.
    I was speaking with my mom about a very One day I was driving with my mom talking to her about a specific brand of food seasonings, my phone was locked and in the cup holder. When we paused between sentences, my phone says "I'm sorry, if you said something, I didn't hear that." Okay, I didn't have any apps open, no Google maps or anything. I thought it was weird at the time but then a few hours later, my instagram is covered in ads for that spice (I never Googled it either).
    My sister and I were shopping last week and went into a store, I told her I liked the store but that they needed more variety in sizing...hours later, ads for that store appear on my social media. Again, I never Googled this store.
    My sister she wanted a dress to grow into as she is currently pregnant....not kidding, a few hours later guess what my ads are about?? Maternity dresses!!! I NEVER GOOGLED THESE THINGS! Only ever had verbal conversations...
    And lastly, just happening yesterday, I was talking to a friend about Tampons (lol yes, tampons) and later that evening...an ad for tampons.
    Anyone who says their phone isn't actively listening to them is either oblivious, or in denial. We are being listened to.

    • Christian Cawley
      April 14, 2017 at 9:10 am

      Great description of your encounters with this, Kendra, thanks for sharing

  82. Sid V
    April 6, 2017 at 10:55 pm

    It is absolutely true, and I have no clue how to turn it off. We really need to get everyone together and hammer Apple hard for this. I'm "almost" positive it is a marketing deal between Apple and Amazon, as that is where most of my 'coincidental' ads stem from. I do not search for things like - deadlifting, lifelock, security LED lights, brake bleeders, nitrile gloves (it apparently has good speech recognition, just not when I want to use Voice to Text!!!) or cookies. But I have spoken about them, the last one was for lifelock. Last night during a conversation someone I know had to call them. This happened at 6:30pm. At 9:00am today, I have a lifelock ad on drudge. It is happening, and super creepy. What if you talk about something sensitive? Who's listenting?

  83. not fooled!
    March 31, 2017 at 11:01 pm

    It could be coincidence, but, I have been seeing explicit ads for women's bra's. Now, because my wife is a complete non-techy, I do all ordering online for women's clothing from a catalog she gets. Also many other women related purchases. So, seeing ads inline with that, which is kinda hilarious because google don't know exactly how to classify me, is to be expected. But the bra issue is something she has been quite vocal about for months now. I won't bore you with the arguments, but needless to say, I have seen more than my share of ads for just that product. And I have never ordered, nor has she ordered any, from anywhere, at any time in the past. So, I'm left scratching my head, as I have every avenue for targeted ads turned off, Opted-out, etc. This includes Google, and Sprint, my ISP. But, I have used Chrome exclusively when ordering online, and receive account information from her women's catalogs in Gmail. And any other orders have only been thru websites. So, you be the Judge.

  84. Will
    March 21, 2017 at 3:56 pm

    This morning, I answered the door for a piano tuner coming to our house. He introduced himself as the "piano tuner" and I let him in to do his thing. I then went into the backyard where my mom was to let her know the piano tuner was in the house and left for school. My phone was in my pocket for all of this.
    Flash forward about two hours, I'm playing Block! Hexa on my iPhone (free puzzle app). It has ads pop up from time to time and also runs banner ads along the bottom. Now the pop up ads are usually for Mobile Strike, Game of War, some other crappy looking games or the new Mass Effect etc etc. all very popular and generic. Same thing with the banner ads, where I've noticed things such as Uber and GMC trucks. Today, however, I get TWO pop ups back to back for a piano tuning website! I've never searched for that before in my life and have not even spoken about one, besides today, in years (probably since the last guy came which was well before I owned this phone).
    For some more context, I checked the settings within the app and there is nothing about mic usage nor did it request it upon downloading, and the only app that has permission to access the mic on my phone is Shazam. I thought maybe this was a coincidence but after reading the other comments here I'm not so sure now!

    • Christian Cawley
      March 31, 2017 at 7:37 pm

      Well, that's a superb account, Will, thanks for sharing it with us.

      It really is a worry that these things appear to be mere coincidences when viewed in isolation, only to prove to be part of a wider issue when compared side-by-side.

      Keep them coming, people, we need more of these!

      • Jon
        April 2, 2017 at 4:06 am

        First noticed 6 months ago. Driving past 5 Guys national hamburger chain. Told my wife "we should go to 5 guys sometime". An hour later, 5 guys milkshakes ads on my news feed. Today, commenting on Evan Williams Bourbon at a wedding. Ad pops up 2 hours later. This has happened to me with different products and services at least 7 or 8 other times.

  85. Tara
    March 18, 2017 at 6:58 pm

    A few days ago my gf and I were talking about traveling. She's upset I'm going to Egypt without her and made a snide remark about going to Somalia. Next day ads about Somalia pop up. Today I mention my mom went to a Vera Bradley bingo... now Vera Bradley ads pop up. My gf insisted it was a coincidence until she looks at her instagram and sees ads for a Toyota Camry ( my car rental). Creepy and not cool.

    • Christian Cawley
      March 27, 2017 at 7:33 am

      Nice account, thanks Tara.

  86. Deirdre
    March 1, 2017 at 11:05 pm

    I cannot believe what just happened. I was at work talking about how the name of our school's auction, Blazing New Trails, reminds me of Blazing Saddles and the irony of it all and not five minutes later, Netflix pops up with a message on my screen stating, "New Arrival for You: Blazing Saddles". I did nothing except have a very casual conversation with another person - I hadn't even touched my phone or computer for an hour prior to this conversation. What else could it be besides an unauthorized use of my microphone? Feeling pretty violated right now and I don't even know what to do about it. Any suggestions out there as to how to keep this form happening?

    • Bob
      March 15, 2017 at 12:44 pm

      That's a coincidence. It was a featured showing on Netflix. Everyone who signed on saw Blazing Saddles in the arrivals section.

      Not saying phone isn't listening, but this example is not it. Hope that makes you feel better!

      • Christian Cawley
        March 15, 2017 at 1:16 pm

        Hey Bob - good catch!

  87. Cindy Pickering
    March 1, 2017 at 4:09 pm

    I just bought a specific creditcard holder on holiday in Hong Kong. Today on my return, I was face timing my daughter and showing her the creditcard holder. I spelled the name of the company out for her, then we chatted for a further half hour or so about general stuff. We hung up and she IMMEDIATELY got an ad on Facebook about the exact same credit card holder. There is no way this is a coincidence. Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they're NOT listening to you! (To quote a poster from the 70s or 80s). It has disturbed us both to think that everything we say is being monitored somehow, somewhere.

    • Christian Cawley
      March 31, 2017 at 7:43 pm

      Okay, now that does sound weird. I'd venture that the exact type match is a coincidence, but the credit card holder item match is not...

  88. kk
    February 20, 2017 at 4:56 am

    I happened to speak to my flatmate about a friend who broke up with her partner because the partner was infertile and I see an advertisement on male infertility on my YouTube ads. I have not done any searches on this topic nor seen any YouTube videos for it. In the past YouTube advert videos were related to what one is watching but that does not seem to be the case today. Very scary indeed.

    • Christian Cawley
      February 21, 2017 at 7:20 am

      Wow - that is pretty compelling isnt it? Thanks for sharing

  89. Haley
    February 19, 2017 at 9:10 am

    This sort of thing just happened to me tonight under strange circumstances. I went to hang out with my friend and we're doing normal stuff, hanging out and talking about random shit. His girlfriend says she wants a Lisa Frank horse tattoo. It was one, concise and short sentence and we didn't continue talking about it. I went home and signed into Pinterest - the first "trending" board to show up was "Lisa Frank Tattoos" and the thumbnail was a Lisa Frank Horse. I immediately realized that somebody's smart device must have heard her say that. I've never in my life searched for Lisa Frank anything so there's no chance I've forgotten or anything like that. The strong part is: My phone was way outside inside my car in a parking lot and nowhere close to hear the conversation. That means whatever device listened to us is somehow connected to my home IP address. Weird.

  90. Haley
    February 19, 2017 at 9:03 am

    This sort of thing happened to me tonight but under strange circumstances. I was at a friends house talking about random shit and hanging out - and his girlfriend mentions that she wants a Lisa Frank horse tattoo. One short sentence about it and that was all. Pretty specific, random, and something I have definitely for 100% never searched for in my life. I come home late and get on Pinterest and the first board suggested to me is "Lisa Frank Tattoos" and the thumbnail image is of a Lisa Frank horse. What freaks me out the most is that my iphone was left my car over 100ft away from my friends house. I'm not sure if it means that somebody else's phone heard us and then made a connection with me and my IP address or something. Weird.

  91. James
    February 13, 2017 at 3:46 pm

    My SO and I were talking one evening about trading in her vehicle before it dies. The question was brought up about how much we could get for it, and if we could even sell it if it's not running.
    This was the first time we ever discussed this and nothing was searched online. The next morning she got a text from an unknown # saying "WE BUY CARS $$$ TOP DOLLAR PAYED $$$ .... and the most disturbing part "FOR CARS RUNNING AND NON RUNNING VEHICLES"
    I've heard of stories where ads were targeted based on the conversation, but not a direct text message.
    Has anyone else encountered this?

    • Christian Cawley
      February 14, 2017 at 12:30 pm

      Thanks for sharing -- we'd like to know too!

    • Tyler
      February 16, 2017 at 6:42 am

      I went to see one of my high school friends college football game awhile back and today I mention the small school juniata very casually to someone and a few hours later a video from juniata college popped up on my Facebook news feed. the video only had 1-2 thousand views so odd that it would be sponsored to me.

  92. Kara
    February 11, 2017 at 11:10 am

    This has actually happened to me a number of times - the most uncanny though, is that when my SO and I were watching the remake of footloose, we were arguing over where it was filmed. I decided that I would look it up, and I typed "where was" ... the FIRST suggestion was "where was footloose 2011 filmed." After that, I started taking note of when things like that appear.

    Recently, when watching the tennis open, a friend was telling me about Margaret courd- or whatever her name is. When I type in "marg" into google, her full name appeared, even though I had never looked up anything tennis related - ever. Seriously weird!

  93. PrettyFreakingCool
    February 7, 2017 at 10:49 am

    I knew that google was listening for a while and I'm quite okay with it, but I never really saw the effect of it until now.

    1) I happened to be browsing Reddit on my phone, and I passed a comment to my girlfriend that "There are really a lot of celebration cakes on the front page right now".... then later that night a google+ recommendation on my phone pops up about Celebration Cakes.

    2) I was speaking of an old friend who used to sell me Pot 10 years ago... suddenly I see him in "people you might know" the next day... which is a bit strange to me, hardly being an active social media person.

    My biggest frustration is that, if it really is listening to me all the time and making recommendations based on what I've said... how come "Okay Google" never f****** works for me.

  94. Lyle
    January 24, 2017 at 10:13 am

    It happens to me all the time. My wife and I have a conversation about going somewhere or doing something and then I pick up my phone to google details and it auto-completes the entire phrase I was going to type based on the first 2 words I've typed in. This happens more often than not.

  95. Ariel
    January 17, 2017 at 7:58 am

    I don't know when this story was published- but I have never EVER googled anything in regards to tea~ and tea drinking or bought tea products online. But after a brief phone call with my boyfriend I noticed an ad displayed on instagram for yogi (you guessed it,) TEA. It's happened before with other subjects but this one was the one I finally decided was just too convenient. And thinking about it now, multiple apps ask for access to your microphone..

    • Christian Cawley
      January 22, 2017 at 8:46 am

      Thanks for sharing your account, Ariel!

  96. Anony
    January 16, 2017 at 6:24 pm

    I noticed this occasionally but the most direct example was a conversation I had with my cousin yesterday about something SHE liked and suddenly I get ads for that on Facebook today. I have never in my life looked it up or anything similar to it before. I found it very creepy.

  97. WHYwhywhy
    January 11, 2017 at 8:14 pm

    I recently injured my lower back and was talking to a family member about it while my laptop was right in front of me. I never made any search on my phone or my laptop relating to lower back pain. The next day when I went to use my laptop all of the ads on my internet browser were for lower back pain products. I found that really disturbing, especially since I almost never shut down my laptop it is always on. The funny thing is my friend the week before had told me about a friend of hers that accidentally left a Spanish channel on overnight while their computer was on, and in the morning when they went to their computer all of the ads were in Spanish and her suggestions were for Spanish shows and movies. At first I didn't believe that story but now that it happened to me I was shocked. Is there anything that can be done to prevent this?!

  98. Anonymous
    January 11, 2017 at 5:26 am

    Well I had found this page because I've noticed these things happening on my phone, but really intrigued me when after me and my bf watched reservoir dogs, his phone was close by, mine wasn't. After the movie, we went to search the movie to see some details, but it was already the first thing in the search.. I'm pretty sure when you type "r", for the most part you'll get "restaurants near me" and so forth, but it was on the top... freaky.

  99. People Power
    January 10, 2017 at 6:47 pm

    Dear Reader,

    It might not have to be a tablet or smartphone beside you. There maybe a number of other possibilities that they are using.

    1. Landlines

    1a. All landlines now are based on VOIP (voice over internet protocol), for the novice that means that while you might think you have a landline, this is only the last few feet, the rest returns back to the exchange (backhauling the data) and then this is forwarded via satellite transmission, so in essence it is collected then from here.

    2. Satellites

    2a. Bringing attention to satellites actually also picking up conversations in homes and while out and about in public spaces, far-fetched one might think, however not so far-fetched these days with more and more people reporting on what they are witnessing. Has anyone watched a TV series called Prison Break? If yes, do you remember a scene where a conversation takes place in a boat on a lake and where they do not speak, but actually write everything down on paper because the main boss character appears to know something about the listening capabilities! Far-fetched again maybe, but could this actually be happening, it surely now seems more than possible doesn’t it? Especially when you look at possibility 3.

    3. Induction of lines

    3a. With the introduction of induced electrical lines and then the smart meters, do people actually know that the electrical cables are now possibly a conduct for the transfer of voice data? What most people do not know or even realize is that when there is a power outage, the electrical company actually sends a message down each electrical line, which then pings (just like pinging and internet connection) back the problem or issue with the line, which has been subjected to weather damage.

    3b. One more example to explain to unbelievers is the transfer of data over electrical cables, has anyone used a Wi-Fi PLUG extender? This works by plugging one plug into a wall near the installed internet box while simply plugging another plug into another room, as far away as you like, this is because the electrical cable is connected in a complete loop in your home. Advancement of such technology may not yet be acknowledged by the general public, which brings us to possibility number 4 below.

    4. Smart Meters

    4a. With an introduction of Smart meters working the same as pinging the sending and receiving of data, If the smart meter can operate like a smart phone, then the electrical cable can be used to pick up frequency and voice vibration, this is very advanced and most should progress their further research from this mere comment, if interested. The reader might be very shocked at what will be found in regards to the exact extent of the invasion of our private homes and personal privacy and TORTS of Trespass. All these smart meters to be very honest however were forcefully (now becoming more and more apparent) introduced due to the scamming of electricity supply by some of the very same protestors who were objecting to them, but yet operating weed growing farms, calling a spade a spade here. Playing right into the hands of the corporation globalism elite, that after all own, control and operate all media sources and other sources of globalist control (a little off topic one might think, but really is it?).

    5. Television

    5a. With TV how could this be even possible. Well, it is very possible when you think about this. The TV is now plugged into an Electrical socket which, the cable is induced and connected to a collective SMART METER. Again people only ever think of a TV, as been a one way source of data, but you would be very wrong. The TV is and has always been a two way form of transmission right down to the simple relay of CHANNEL CHANGING which is the setup for the two way communication, simple you might think but it is right there in your face, two way communication regardless of how simply you might think it is or what you are told it is or how you perceive it to be.

    5b. A TV license agent can detect from outside your home if you have a TV whether or not it is switched on or off. How do you think this can or could even be achieved? The TV License agent can even detect how many TV´s a household has. The TV license agent could even detect in times gone by if a house had either a Black and White TV or a Color TV as the license fee was different. Then this brings us to the license fee which in itself was just a covert way of funding Globalist Media Propaganda and Targeted advertisement for the Globalist Agenda now been witnessed and commented on here.

    http://www.bushywood.com/tv_detector_vans.htm

    5c. Moving on to TV Oscillation which is used by the controlled globalist corporate network and their brainwashed insider security detail also misusing such technology. Oscillation might be fobbed off as used by the TV License Agent, however, think outside the box on this, especially when hearing about TV viewing numbers, you know those boastful reports on such things as a weekly or even daily TV program episode having achieved so many millions of viewers. We used to hear about how in advertisement breaks, a surge in power could be noted when the viewers would boil the kettle for a cup of tea etc. When really the frequency relating to the channel transmission was the actual real source, you know like tuning in to your local radio station!

    http://www.danalee.ca/ttt/transmission.htm

    5d. Yet again another use of Oscillation however is the use to detect the movement amongst other things of the body in a household using the possible oscillation of heat or simple frequency movement collected by the TV screen or even voice frequency. Could it then be a possibility that such could be relayed back through what the general public might think the TV is a simple basic instrument, think again!

    While stating such comments is not an attempt to get people to give up watching TV or anything else for that fact (pigs might fly first). These are not even comments to try and control ones thinking, they are mere comments to attempt to inform and keep the public that now more so than ever live in what seems like a bubble, informed. No one reads anything these days, it seems.

    This is also not some quest to stop anyone using a smart phones or any type of Smart technology. A book of comments could be written here on this one topic of TORT of Trespass alone or even TORT of Defamation, since even medical privacy it seems is being shared with third parties i.e. advertisers.

    No this is not some quest to shut anything off, however, such comments should be reflected upon when it comes of the acts of TORT against each and every one of us.

    a. Privacy
    b. Defamation
    c. Trespass

    It has become all too relevant that writing to any state appointed official falls upon deaf ears when trying to do anything in an individual capacity. Even intimidation and harassment can follow due to the Billions in potential capital loss to corporate elite criminal mindsets of such corporate directors, controlled by the lunacy of greed and corporate global rich list position.

    Technology can be absolutely amazing even right down to the electricity smart meter if used correctly and for the good of mankind. The mere Electrical Smart meter not only stops the huge theft of supply which the general working people have to foot the rise in costs for, while the weed growing thieves of the commodity claim that such should be free in the first instance, (but never actually giving any answers as to how then the workers would sustain any form of living in a rational real world.) yet while growing substances and misusing such substances to live a life of… ah wasteful luxury and helping in the crimes of all forms of trafficking. Off topic one might say, but really is it?

    So if technology is a must in life now, there is another option.

    We as a global voice have the global power to make a change. Rather than merely being singled out and writing to the local state department that just passes the buck from one office to the next, drawing the issue out for years. We all need to be intelligent and pull together in Class action style lawsuits. If the people together challenge and investigate, then it is the People Versus the Technology/Corporate Giant and bringing such to court in a class action and not where some bureaucratic office receives a fine. This again is ridiculous in nature as to how the state departments always seem to impose a fine and then allow such companies to behave exactly the same again. A class action should be used to have the corporate charged through civil and criminal remedy and being successful then individuals whom have been harmed should and have the right to litigated remedy for the TORTS experienced as it the right at Law.

    A Petition should be formed and members of such a class action given every opportunity to speak and offer their knowledge and experience without any form of censorship.

    There should also be no fear from the corporate outbursts of litigation for defamation so commonly seem used. When in fact the very rebuttal of such an attempt to thwart any investigation or litigated remedy would be a petition to the higher courts and then the Police via such a court order to investigate the apparent similarity of statements of claim where TORTS have been experienced and harm, loss and injury occurring.

    In essence then the law has already been set, so why then write to a state or political figure who has to use the same law, but really promised the ends of the Earth but never really gets things done.

    Privacy is like freedom; a grand illusion or perhaps delusion, if the invading listeners are listening to our private conversations, we have to imagine that perverse uses to invade and threaten not only our private relationships but also our children’s safety, a far greater and serious factor at play here. We see on a daily basis the exposure of perverts and pedophiles targeting our children. This invasion of privacy, not merely being advertisement targeting is more and must be stopped and our privacy put back in our control and legal remit to stop i.e. what we search for and only at the time of our interest, should pre-suggestions be permitted and again only if pre-suggestions have been agreed to and are permitted by us the researcher searching.

    • Bob greene
      August 23, 2017 at 6:25 pm

      TLDR esp after the first part is blatantly wrong. I worked in the communications field for 20 years before going full time software dev in feb of this year. I worked for a landline company, in the central office, on the equipment itself as a technician - I also worked for a large long distance company & helped build their network. Not all landline calls are voip- very few are actually, especially local to local calls. Most landline calls by traditional phone companies are still to this day processed on old school digital switches from the 1980s because this equip is paid for, rock solid reliable, and there is not revenue incentive there to replace it (they are much more focused on spending their money on data/internet services). Much of the long distance traffic now is converted to voip, but again, almost none is ever transmitted via satellite- it is mostly backhauled via terrestrial fiber networks. Several reasons- satellite is expensive, difficult to maintain/update, it is low capacity, and most importantly, it is high latency. There are zero reasons the phone company would send a non international call to satellite.

  100. Mel
    January 8, 2017 at 7:56 pm

    This just happened to me yesterday. I was teling my wife that maybe our toddlers needed some type of "Metamucil" to help with regularity. Later that same day, guess what sponsored advertisement showed up on my Instagram feed? Bingo! Metamucil! Never purchased it before, never googled it, never even walked down the aisle and looked at it in a store. Random? I think not. That is one of many daily occurrences.

  101. Rachel Johnson
    December 29, 2016 at 10:44 pm

    I was talking about how my dad got colitis last Christmas and wasn't able to cook. Guess what showed up in my advertisements today? Have ulcerative colitis? Last week I was talking with my friend about how I had a dream that something was wrong with my spleen. And guess what showed up in my advertisements last week? Take these drugs to cure your spleen blah blah blah. Never search the internet for it or anything. My phone wasn't even unlocked. It was listening in for sure.

  102. ryan
    December 29, 2016 at 1:33 pm

    This is totally accurate. I was with a group of friends discussing tools , specifically snap on tools. When I logged into my home PC and checked youtube all the top suggestions were snap on tool videos. I cant say it was app specific I feel like alot of what I have read can be from targeted ads but it still came from the Mic regardless of who did it.

    • anon
      February 1, 2017 at 4:39 pm

      I was with a group of friends too, we where listening to music, and they mentioned a song that i never heard or played before on yt. Half an hour later, when some song finished, that song came up as recommended. We freaked out... I new that they use what you write on private chat to target you, it happend a lot, but this was like next level shit...

  103. Rae
    December 28, 2016 at 7:42 pm

    Was just googling this to see if Google/Facebook/Apple were still denying they do it. Yes, they absolutely do, and it's not just facebook. I don't have the facebook app on my phone, but it happens to me repeatedly. I told my husband my vacuum barefloor attachment had been lost for a week and I really needed it for my cleaning jobs. I was hoping it would turn up, so I never googled it, I didn't send any emails about it, and I didn't text or message anyone at all about this missing item. Very next day, I had advertisements showing up on facebook and at the bottom of news articles for my EXACT barefloor attachment. I don't know how they managed to discover even the exact brand unless they views my past history where I purchased one about 6 years ago, or they found my recent order of my vacuum this spring. I feel like my privacy is seriously violated that they were obviously listening to my conversation, PLUS they researched to determine my exact vacuum. This is a complete violation of our expectations to and rights of privacy.

  104. Luna
    December 26, 2016 at 3:02 pm

    This is not a conspiracy theory. they are listening to your phone/calls to target ads. It happened to me and it freaked me out. How can they get away with listening to private phone conversations?

    I was on the phone with a friend, this past Friday, because I was going to pick up cheese for her son, at a local Amish store. She said she had a home slicer, so buying the whole block would be cheaper, because she could just slice it. I never looked up a slicer on my computer, or mentioned one on Facebook, but shortly after that conversation, an ad, for a meat/cheese slicer started constantly showing up, on my Facebook. I've seen it for the past 3 days. It's such a random, specific item, I knew it had to be from the telephone conversation.

  105. Luna
    December 26, 2016 at 2:57 pm

    This is not a conspiracy theory. They're listening to your phone calls to target ads. It happened to me and it freaked me out.

    I was on the phone with a friend, on the eve of Christmas Eve, because I was going to pick up cheese for her son, at a local Amish store. She said she had a home slicer, so buying the whole block would be cheaper, because she could just slice it. I never looked up a slicer on my computer, or mentioned one on Facebook, but shortly after that conversation, an ad for a meat/cheese slicer started constantly showing up, on my Facebook. I've seen that dang ad every day, for the past 3 days. It's such a specific and not very common product. That's how I knew they listened to my private phone conversation.

  106. Anna
    December 26, 2016 at 6:52 am

    Boyfriend and I received a box of clementines from his dad. He and I were saying "clementines" repeatedly as we were joking back and forth about whether they were oranges or clementines. I googled recipes for oranges, but not clementines specifically. He didn't Google oranges or clementines. Just now, as we were getting settled in for the night and he was reading Facebook, he saw a sponsored "Tasty" recipe video for some"Clementines" baking recipes.

    I'm sorry, but that's just too damn specific to be a coincidence. Facebook has lied about what info they collect before. I'm deleting the app. That's too far.

  107. Eric
    December 25, 2016 at 12:00 pm

    Just happened to me. At a friends house for dinner last night. Asked him where he got the amazing chicken we had. He replied "Newcastle farmer's market." Right before I left his house I asked again, as I forgot. Today, get an ad for "newcastlefarmersmaket.com" on a random website.

  108. Sarah
    December 22, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    Its happened to me too many times to count. Just today I was talking about the Corpse Bride piano duet at work, I never googled or searched anything to do with pianos or Corpse Bride, went on my Youtube and a suggested video was a guy playing that song on the piano. My youtube is primarily used to watch makeup tutorials....

  109. Zach
    December 22, 2016 at 6:56 am

    This is 100% happening. My FB feed is blowing up with people giving specific examples. Just tonight, I was in my kitchen and my wife walked up to me and asked "did you just trim you beard?" And we had a little chat while she playfully touched my beard and said the word beard again once or twice. Not ten min later, my Facebook feed had an ad for a Norelco Beard trimmer! I haven't googled anything about bears trimmers in months since I bought one maybe 9 months to a year ago. That was the one that really disturbed me.

    • Christian Cawley
      December 23, 2016 at 10:20 am

      Whoah, another good account. Thanks for sharing!

  110. Lauren
    December 21, 2016 at 7:02 pm

    Just happened yesterday. Watching TV ... a (OLD!) song came on and we wanted to figure out who was singing it, but didn't know the name of the song. I had gotten as far as entering two words of a lyric "I need" into my phone's browser and suddenly the very top hit was for the song. "I need" is way to common a search term, not to mention phrase used in lyrics, for the very top hit to be the exact song (from the 1970's) I was looking for. The song was still playing as I was conducting my search. There's no way that didn't influence the search results.

    • Christian Cawley
      December 23, 2016 at 10:20 am

      Now that is a pretty damning account. THank you for sharing, Lauren!

  111. Brenda
    December 21, 2016 at 5:50 am

    My daughter has developed a really bad case of dandruff, she went to the dermatologist Today and was to she has seborrhea, and psoriasis dermatitis. I told her when she wad a small child she developed seborrhea with a fungus, later that night i got a email from Ermis Labs for medicated soaps for the very condition she have being diagnosed with shipped by Amazon. I have always felt my conversation was being recorded because this have happended so many times.

  112. Carol
    December 18, 2016 at 2:53 am

    This has happened a few times between my husband and myself. Most recently today, I was talking about Christmas gifts for my nephews on my smartphone with my sister-in-law. We talked about some general religious medals. She texted me that they wanted a St. Michaels Medal. My phone was in my purse when I mentioned this to my husband. Hours later I am online looking at board games on Amazon when a picture and link for a St. Michaels medal shows up as I am the scrolling through the list of board games. I am finding these things to not be very coincidental. This was such a specific thing. Feels like an invasion of privacy.

  113. Brittney
    December 15, 2016 at 5:54 am

    I've been on Amazon for the past hour, looking at novelty funny t-shirts for a gift. The entire time, the "more suggestions for you" bar at the bottom of the amazon page kept showing different novelty and funny t-shirts, nothing more. My husband came into the room and I asked him what he thought of the gift for the particular person. He said, "I don't think he wears t-shirts, he wears golf shirts." I said "Ya you're right huh, he always wears golf shirts." The NEXT novelty t-shirt I clicked on, the "more suggestions for you" bar at the bottom of the page was filled with golf shirts, not the novelty t-shirts like had been there for the past hour. And I know for a fact we have never searched for, looked at or bought golf shirts on amazon. I was using a macbook pro and my iphone was sitting on the couch next to me. This kind of thing has happened several times before, too. I don't like it.

  114. Stephanie
    December 13, 2016 at 10:42 am

    I have had this happen twice now that I have noticed and it is happening while using my home landline, speaking to another person on a landline phone (not smart phones). I don't even have a smart phone. I was talking to my mom one day about specific bed sheets from Pottery Barn on the phone, and the next day there was an ad for those specific sheets in my FB ads. Yesterday I was talking to my sister about a story I saw on Shark Tank for "Letters from Santa" and this morning there is an ad on FB to send your kid a letter from Santa. I find this very disturbing especially since this is happening while talking on our home phone.

    • Christian Cawley
      December 13, 2016 at 12:15 pm

      Thanks for sharing, Stephanie. Are you using a computer or tablet with a microphone perhaps?

  115. Steven
    December 12, 2016 at 5:30 am

    This happened to me today, which led me to do a google search and see if it happened to anyone else and that's how I found this article. My wife was talking about her mother went to an essential oils party with some friends. Her mom came home with some essential oils samples and was telling us about them. Then, as I'm scrolling through ESPN.com I see an AD for essential oils. I have never searched them on my phone. In a separate instance (but similar topic), I have been to different cities/states and after I hang out with someone in that area, I get suggestions from facebook to be their friends, even if we have no mutual friends. FB definitely tracks where you go. Very disturbing.

    • Christian Cawley
      December 12, 2016 at 1:31 pm

      Thanks for sharing, Steven. Be sure to make everyone you know aware of this "coincidence"!

  116. Teresa
    November 28, 2016 at 12:13 am

    Yes, my son came to visit this past Thrusday 11/ 24 and we were talking about the pillow with Mylar insulated for my cat that I made and he told me about what he has in car the survival blankets and the first thing I see on Facebook is an offer for survival blanket. Coincidence? I think not!

    • Ashley
      December 10, 2016 at 6:05 am

      My daughter literally just asked me about churches chicken 3 hours ago and as soon as I got on Instagram right now ad popped up about churches chicken. Are they targeting Childrens voices??

  117. Tim
    November 27, 2016 at 7:29 am

    While standing outside with a few friends of mine I experienced this. One friend asked another for his Pokeball weed grinder. I then asked, "you have a POKEBALL grinder?". I don't smoke and therefor don't search for anything relating to marijuana on my phone and a little while later saw an AD on Facebook for the same exact Pokeball grinder we were talking about.

  118. Tammy Yuth
    November 22, 2016 at 4:02 am

    Absolutely, this article was shared onto my page because I posted about feeling my phone was putting advertising on my page from my conversations with other people. I have noticed it at least ten times now.

  119. coco
    November 4, 2016 at 1:27 am

    This is happening recently. I have been searching things online regarding r/c aircraft and ads have bombarding me 99% of the time about drones, uav, rc stuff, etc... ok? no problem.

    Then today, away from home on vacation downtown, I had my phone in my front shirt pocket. I asked a local verbally where there might be a e-cig/vape store. it was early in the day just down the street on my side of the street, so, no need to even google map it or search the number or info for hours. Now on my LAPTOP, chilling online hopping around sites, ads EVERYWHERE about vape supplies, etc and none more about rc/drones/etc... WTF?!

  120. Erin Sayer
    October 29, 2016 at 9:20 pm

    I am convinced of this. I have so many stories. My favorite is one where I was saying to my friend that 100% our phones listen to us so we tried an experiment. We both had our phones in front of us at a bar. Both phones asleep. We start talking about how we want to go on a cruise to Africa. We talk about different countries in Africa, we talk about how great Africa is. Immediately when I got home I checked my email. Guess what? Tons of spam about cruises and Africa, and even the specific countries we named. Same thing for her. Facebook, ads about travel in Africa, weddings in Africa, decorating in Africa, and sooooo many cruise ship ads. It was unbelievable. Now we both turn off our phones and put them out of earshot when discussing sensitive things (however, we are talking about going on a cruise, of which neither of us has ever had an interest before).

    • Christian Cawley
      November 1, 2016 at 10:38 am

      Thanks for sharing your story, Erin, it's great that it worked on both phones in the same location.

  121. Denise
    October 28, 2016 at 11:05 am

    I told this to my husband a few months ago! We were at Karaoke and a Kid Rock song came on and I said to him "wow I haven't heard Kid rock in 15 years". That same night i got spam emails for kid rock concerts.. Then a few days laster i asked my husband "did you call our friend to give them a moving company number?" Again that same day I got several e-mails about moving when I NEVER typed anything about moving on that device! Today my husband and I are briefly talking about when were planning on selling our house and a few hours later I get SPAM mail about moving companies!!! This video proves my initial suspicion about APPLE!!! Maybe they can hear us complain and STOP this shit!!!

  122. listened to
    October 27, 2016 at 8:38 am

    No question about it, they listen in. Today in the grocery an older man needed help lifting something, I offered to do it because he was wearing a hat that resonated with me. He was in a unit that I was very familiar with, we started to talk a bit about out service days, mine were not long ago his were Korean war era. I never have a conversation with anyone about my service, ever! I get home one hour later, pull out my phone to see an ad for getting a military discount card from someone. These instances are reoccurring daily about conversations I have in person (only). Its consist in the last month. Always relating to a verbal conversation I have had. No coincidence here! Coincidences are almost never a coincidence.

    • Christian Cawley
      October 29, 2016 at 7:27 pm

      That's a pretty damning account. Thank you for sharing it with us.

    • Cattery
      February 12, 2017 at 5:17 pm

      How many of you and your friends know what the Total Information Awareness program is? They say "was" as it was *ostensibly* shelved soon after 9/11, yet blatantly has continued. Spying on EVERYONE EVERYWHERE ALL THE TIME is not some sort of natural consequence of technology, it WAS AND IS THE *GOAL*. They are power-obsessed. They cannot turn down the opportunity that the technology gives them, no matter WHAT the ethical consequences and effect on the human soul (for want of a better term).
      Undemocratic, hidden policy. Not the kind of behaviour by government that all those millions of Russians, British, American, Canadian, Australian, Polish, German, etc fighting for 'freedom', died for, let alone the 2,700 on 9/11... Let alone Operation Iraqi Freedom. Perhaps the likes of Ghaddafi wanting some independence from these globalist corrupt powers, had a point. Look what happened to him. He was no more a terrorist than the USA was (supported the same people as Irish diaspora in Boston, plus the USA via CIA has supported terrorist acts over Cuba, for example, and that's without going into the effect of the lying War On Drugs on Mexico's ability to have democracy and freedom. Patriots need to start being capable of discerning between the People and the Government, and the Government-within-a-Government, and the Military-Industrial Complex. I see way more blind flag waving even today in 2017 when people should know better.
      People need to start giving a shit, and needed to around A.D. 2002 but ego and distration and fear get in the way. The powers that be employ many psychologists and manipulators of ALL kinds. What they need to fulfil their goals, is hard info on their targets. What do you think the point of listening to everyone is? Fighting the tiny minority of potential terrorism? Nope. They're too greedy to limit it to that. Read the legislation and powers and weep. Or start the resistance.

  123. Stephanie
    October 22, 2016 at 4:44 pm

    I have definitely seen this happen, although I don't have a specific example coming to mind right now. What I HAVE noticed relates to the voice recorder app on my Android phone. I use it to record ideas, etc. and that's all well and good. Occasionally, though, I'll notice recordings that I never made, and when I listen to them, it's literally just the ambient noise of me going about my daily life. Sometimes the recordings are as long as an hour!

  124. Hannah
    October 22, 2016 at 2:53 am

    This has happened soooo many times that I found this article by searching about the microphones listening in to see if others were experiencing it as well. Just this evening, my daughter turned on Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory while we were eating dinner, and we haven't seen it for at least a year. Since I've seen the movie several times, I was scrolling Facebook on my phone...and in my newsfeed is a sponsored ad for a Willy Wonka game WHILE we are still watching it. I don't EVER play games, and if you've seen the movie (the new one with Johnny Depp), you know they say "Willy Wonka" numerous times when talking about the candy bar, the factory, and so on. This is one of many many similar experiences I have had in which I didn't type in any search terms and was only speaking, and in this instance, it was picking up the dialogue on the TV in the room....can't wait to be a part of the class action suit when all this comes out!!

  125. Hannah
    October 22, 2016 at 2:50 am

    This has happened soooo many times that the reason I even found this article was by searching about the microphones listening in to see if others were experiencing it as well! Just this evening, my daughter turned on the movie "Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory" while we were eating dinner. We haven't seen it it about a year. Since I've seen the movie several times, I was scrolling Facebook...and in my newsfeed is a sponsored ad for a Willy Wonka game, WHILE the movie is still on. I don't EVER play games, and if you've seen the movie (the new one with Johnny Depp), you know they say "Willy Wonka" numerous times when talking about the candy bar, the factory, and so on. This is one of many many similar experiences I have had in which I didn't type in any search terms and was only speaking, and in this instance, it was picking up the dialogue on the TV in the room....can't wait to be a part of the class action suit when all this comes out!!

    • Christian Cawley
      October 22, 2016 at 9:34 pm

      Sponsored ad for a game while still watching? Excellent detail, thank you for sharing, Hannah.

  126. Kay
    October 21, 2016 at 2:05 am

    My son was talking to me about dropping out of college because he just couldn't focus. He mentioned a lot of kids that have that problem are on Aderall(?) and maybe we could look into it. A bit later I picked up my phone and right under the weather feed was a news story about his school (not local to us) and then an ad for antidepressants. I was positive I never searched for either thing on my phone! Also, another weird thing... I was at Trader Joes shopping when I heard my phone notification ding and it was an ad for what was on sale at Trader Joes. Is that because my Google location is on??? Both things very freaky.... I found this website after searching "smart phones listening to me". I was relieved to hear it's not just happening to me. Anyway, I'm about ready to dig out my old flop phone and start using that!

    • Christian Cawley
      October 21, 2016 at 8:49 am

      Thanks for sharing, Kay - we need all the testimonies we can find:)

    • Erin Sayer
      October 29, 2016 at 9:23 pm

      Just a heads up: Adderall is a stimulant, it's like speed. Kids love the stuff. It is NOT used for depression. Sounds like your kid is trying to get a script for Adderall. Just sayin.

  127. DB
    October 18, 2016 at 5:10 pm

    My wife and I looked at rugs on LLBean.com this past Sunday. On HER Samsung phone.

    We narrowed it down to 2 rugs. She called LL Bean and purchased one.

    On Tuesday I'm on my company PC at work and visited Yahoo.com. What appears? An LL Bean 300x250 ad banner showing the 2 rugs we narrowed our search to, one of which she purchased.

    See that ad banner was weird enough for me to do some Googling to try to figure out what's going on. I'm in digital marketing and know about behavioral targeting. This kind of targeting, if it isn't a coincidence, hit too close. It's creepy.

    • Christian Cawley
      October 19, 2016 at 7:15 am

      Yeh, that's definitely weird. Thanks for sharing.

  128. Kati
    October 17, 2016 at 4:21 am

    I was talking to my boyfriend of almost 5 years about the status of our relationship. We both agree that we're not going to get married, but we're committed to spending the rest of our lives together. From our time in Sweden together, we'd picked up this term, 'sambo' which is similar to a domestic partnership, and we both agreed that this best describes our relationship.

    Outside that conversation, I'd been thinking about getting a ring more to be respected at work since I'd read some research that people take women more seriously if they're married or engaged. I'd never googled either of these things before, though. The day after our sambo conversation, in which both my computer and my phone were in the room, an ad featuring a woman talking about how she may never marry her lover, but she'll love him forever popped up on my Chrome. It was an ad for De Beers rings. It blew my mind that it was being told basically from my perspective and a little scary that it may have matched my reading history about engagement rings and respect in the work place (probably from Facebook because it wasn't something that I actively looked for) to the sambo conversation. Chances of that being a coincidence are slim to none (I don't look up any jewelry at all).

  129. K. Nissl
    October 17, 2016 at 12:55 am

    I'm a molecular biology graduate student, and today in my lab another grad student and I were talking about something very specific and technical that I have never so much as thought about before: developing nanomachine probes for visualizing peptide or nucleotide sequences. Both my phone and my computer were a few feet away. Moments later, when I returned to my computer to google something utterly unrelated, the targeted ad that popped up was for "Llama nanoprobes". The odds of this happening by chance are slim to none, in my opinion.

    • Christian Cawley
      October 20, 2016 at 7:52 pm

      Well that's pretty compelling, isn't it?

  130. Branson
    October 14, 2016 at 11:31 pm

    I work at a phone store and was talking to a customer TV and he mentioned the SlingTV app which I had never heard of. I asked hime a bit more about it, but forgot about it. Later that night (and ever since that conversation) I have several SlingTV ads pop up when I'm using Chrome.

    In another case, I was talking to a family member in my own home about cloud storage services which I have never searched for because I use Google Drive. The next day I see the first ever cloud storage ad that I've seen come up on Chrome.

    Like others I've also noticed that when I've been talking to someone about a question and go to Google it my question will be suggested after typing only 3 or four letters. I'm not normally paranoid about stuff, but there's way too much evidence for this to be a coincidence in my opinion

    • Christian Cawley
      October 15, 2016 at 7:46 am

      A useful inclusion, Branson, thanks for adding it!

  131. Daniel Pike
    October 14, 2016 at 7:17 pm

    The other day i was asking my friend who the black actor was on the show,"Westworld" the engineer guy, I just could not place him in memory, yet know i had just seen him in a recent movie or something. I went to search for this information on google. I got as far as typing "Who is" . Amazingly the top suggestion was, "Who is the the black engineer that plays on westworld?" I had always suspected my android was listening to me but I now had a witness. I highly doubt that the most common search for typing in "who is" is for that guy. Who knows though, maybe he is the most mysteriously unknown actor in the world.

    • Christian Cawley
      October 14, 2016 at 7:33 pm

      Good share, Daniel, thanks for telling us about it.

  132. Donna Elliott
    October 10, 2016 at 12:16 am

    I was talking to my husband on a phone call about arthritis in my thumb and by that evening I had an ad for arthritis in my Yahoo email. This is no coincidence. How can we shut that off?

  133. Kelly
    October 9, 2016 at 1:29 pm

    I have an apple and it was on my desk at work. I hadn't touched it or activated Siri. The phone wasn't off just in 'sleep' mode. I was talking to a client on the phone. I had said "oh, I am so sorry to hear that." Siri turned on my phone and responded "That's ok Kelly". I am certain our phones are listening.

  134. Thomas mitchell
    October 9, 2016 at 1:11 am

    My wife and I were driving down the road and talking about dashcams. The next day I was getting ads for dashcams. I have never done a search for them anytime before talking about them in the vicinity of my phone. Another time we were talking about a medical clinic in our area and I started getting ads for that clinic. So yes the app is listening to you and picking out relevant words and sending you ads based on those keywords.

    • Christian Cawley
      October 9, 2016 at 8:46 pm

      Thanks for sharing that, Thomas.

  135. Dan
    October 7, 2016 at 2:40 am

    It happened just now. I had youtube.com open in Safari on my MacBook. My daughter started telling me about a conversation she had at school with classmates about Ouija boards.

    Shortly after, I searched for some more classical music on youtube, found a video that looked interesting, clicked play, and was served up an ad for Ouija boards.

    Within hearing distance and powered on were the following:

    MacBook Pro (mentioned above)
    Amazon FireTV, with Voice-Recognition remote
    Apple Watch
    Two or three iPhones
    One iPad Air

    This felt very similar to something that happened about a year ago. We had the youtube app on the Amazon FireTV on. Someone spilled their drink on the carpet. I loudly said "Get the paper towels", and after we got it all cleaned up, I went back to perusing the recommended videos, and very oddly the first recommended video was an old paper towel commercial (e.g., an old Bounty commercial). That video was clearly not like the others recommended -- and I hadn't been searching at all for anything related.

    I just clicked "up" on the big circle on the Amazon Fire TV remote, and woke the screen up on my TV. Interestingly, the YouTube app on the Amazon Fire TV is what was running (earlier I had been watching youtube on my tv through the Amazon Fire TV).

    I am suspicious of the YouTube app on the Amazon Fire TV.

    • Christian Cawley
      October 7, 2016 at 9:15 am

      Excellent account, Dan, thanks for sharing.

    • Ellen
      December 15, 2016 at 1:13 am

      I also had a similar thing happen when, while watching a scary movie that involved a Ouija board, I said aloud that I would be too afraid to try a Ouija board. My laptop was nearby and when I went on Facebook after watching the movie, there were ads for Ouija boards!

  136. Jenny
    October 6, 2016 at 4:50 pm

    I made a dinner reservation on my phone, in a conversation last night for tonight. Just now I was emailing a friend that I was going to dinner tonight and a message appeared that said I had an appointment and it displayed the time of the dinner reservation. No where did I type the time.

  137. Darren
    October 5, 2016 at 10:07 pm

    In an office conversation today a colleague tells me he is replacing fascia and guttering on his house. Guess what ads are popping up on my phone this evening? A local supplier for fascia and guttering! I have never searched or discussed this on the phone before. Not the only example for me but today definitely proves to me this is a listening / tracking device.

    • Christian Cawley
      October 7, 2016 at 9:16 am

      Now that is a concerning account! Thank you for sharing, Darren.

  138. Ryan
    October 5, 2016 at 5:08 am

    I just spoke to a friend at work about her young son being bullied on the way home from school recently. My smart phone on my desk in front of us during the conversation. A minute later I opened Facebook on my PC to find an add for a Kids Smart Watch GPS Tracker with SOS alert function. Coincidence?

    • Christian Cawley
      October 7, 2016 at 9:16 am

      Do you think it was a coincidence, Ryan?

  139. RC
    September 28, 2016 at 4:54 pm

    My wife and I visited a small chain auto parts shop this weekend. While there she mentions that "we should get one of these", pointing to a portable jump starter kit. I turned and repeated aloud what the item was, agreeing we could get one for each car. We have never before seen or considered this item much less discussed it. This morning, on my Facebook page I was shocked to find an Amazon ad promoting -- you guessed it -- a portable jump starter kit. No such thing as coincidence. Back to the flip phone for me...

  140. RC
    September 28, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    This weekend at a small chain auto parts shop, my wife made mention to me that we should consider getting "one of these" and pointed to a portable jump starter set. I repeated what they were, aloud, and agreed, suggesting we could get one for each car. this morning, on Facebook, I received an Amazon pop-up ad for a portable jump-starter. Never before mentioned. Never before considered. Never before seen. No such thing as coincidence. Going back to flip phone...

  141. Jason Smith
    September 26, 2016 at 4:42 pm

    Last night we had friends over and were just hanging out. Somehow a joke or conversation mentioned the movie Of Mice and Men. We were talking about who starred in it, so I opened my iPhone and typed "of" into the search bar of Safari. The first suggestion was Of Mice and Men. A 1982 movie, above Of Monsters and Men and a ton of other more current and popular searches. I tried to reproduce that search on other phones and devices with Google and Safari, but that suggestion never comes up at all, let alone at the top. This wasn't even a paid ad, just a search suggestion in my Safari app. But WTF, they are really listening to our mics all the time. Very creepy!

    • Christian Cawley
      September 27, 2016 at 8:16 pm

      Thanks for sharing, Jason.

  142. Chris
    September 25, 2016 at 4:53 am

    A friend called me today and asked me if I've heard of ROKU .. I had not. He told me what it was and that was that. I never searched it or texted it before or after that moment. Within 2 hours I am presented a ROKU ad on my phone in chrome.

    We need another Wiki leak or snowden to make this public.

    • Christian Cawley
      September 27, 2016 at 8:16 pm

      Great example there, Chris, thank you!

  143. Stewart Lanier
    September 23, 2016 at 11:10 pm

    My wife and I were in the car driving somewhere out of our area, but within Massachusetts. I was using my phone for gps. She was not using her phone but it was on her lap. A tanker truck with name Evergreen Environmental passed us. My wife said, "what do you suppose Evergreen Environmental does with their tanker truck?" I did my best to mansplain this and that was the end of it. She did not google or search for it. In the afternoon on the return trip she had an Evergreen Environmental ad on FB. This is not a type of service we have ever used or searched for.

    • Christian Cawley
      September 27, 2016 at 8:16 pm

      Wow, another top example. Thanks for taking the time, Stewart.

  144. Shawn
    September 23, 2016 at 5:27 pm

    Ice skates came up after my wife mentioned ice skating in the car, male long sleeve dress shirts after a call to my mom, and boots after a kitchen conversation. Nothing I have done a google search for in countless months. Never for ice skates.
    I am wondering if it's an app or malware. Not google or facebook, but a something more obscure.

  145. Lee
    September 23, 2016 at 12:25 am

    I was talking about a Ted Baker dress which was too big for me (despite being a size zero!) to my Mam today, I have never googled or typed or I putted anything involving Ted Baker into my phone but lo and behold, that evening I was bombarded with Google and Facebook ads for Ted Baker dresses. Specifically, white ones, like the one I was discussing earlier that day.
    --
    Another time my boyfriend and I were sat discussing testosterone injections, gender dysphoria and a specific psychologist. I had at this point never googled any of these things or typed them into my phone or anything like that. The next day I am seeing ads for that exact psychologist, testosterone injections and gender identity support groups.
    --
    Another time I can remember I was watching binge watching Orange Is The New Black with my phone nearby. I was watching through my Virgin Media box which has no bearing on my wifi connection or my phone or anything else. That night I am seeing adverts for the show, seeing adverts which said things like "similar to Orange Is The New Black" and thinking that it has to be way more than just a coincidence.
    --
    There are far too many instances to mention but I will mention this last one. One time I was discussing a show I had seen and loved at the West End (Love Never Dies) and of course the very next morning I am bombarded with advertisements trying to sell me tickets or merchandise :/
    --
    My phone is definitely listening to me. I only wish I could turn the mic completely off!!

    • Christian Cawley
      September 27, 2016 at 8:17 pm

      Very concerning! Thanks for sharing Lee.

  146. capt14k
    September 20, 2016 at 12:34 pm

    My parents ran out of gas in a restaurant parking lot. They called and ask me to bring them a can of gas because my father didn't want to buy another can at gas station. I never searched restaurant or gas cans and I wasn't in the area. A friend of mine saw them and helped them. I never texted about it. This happened Sunday. Today I wake up to google asking me to review the restaurant and ads for red gas cans are on websites. My parents phone is on a different plan than mine. Something had to have listened to the phone call. What apps beside Google would do this?

  147. Lisa J
    September 19, 2016 at 5:40 am

    My husband told me tonight of a product his physical therapist recommended. I have never googled such an item. Less than two hours later an ad for the exact thing showed up in my Instagram feed! Crazy stuff. Btw, I googled "is my phone listening to my conversations" and this article came up.

    • Christian Cawley
      September 19, 2016 at 1:11 pm

      Thanks for sharing, Lisa. Always a disconcerting experience!

  148. Rox
    September 18, 2016 at 4:47 pm

    Had my Samsung on my desk at work while scheduling an appointment last week. The next day Facebook ads appeared on my wall for that same doctor, who I had never heard of before...

    • Christian Cawley
      September 19, 2016 at 1:12 pm

      Hi Rox, this is useful as it shows that little is out of bounds here. Thank you for sharing.

  149. David
    September 12, 2016 at 4:56 am

    I came home 30 minutes ago, and noticed the garage door was open with the lights on. I went downstairs to check with my dad, and see if he was still in the middle of something or had simply forgotten to close the garage door.

    Within ten minutes of that short conversation, I check my Yahoo mail and have a layed advertisement for Garage Door Openers. I have never typed any such thing into google, and am mortified to think about how much of my daily life is being recorded, transcribed, and/or stored without my consent. Sickening.

    • Christian Cawley
      September 19, 2016 at 1:13 pm

      Thanks for sharing this account, David.

  150. Concerned
    September 5, 2016 at 1:11 pm

    Just ended up here through a google search. (Can be helpful sometimes). I was hanging out with a freind 2 nights ago, and he was showing me his 3D printer. I have never seen our heard of one before, and i did not google anything about it. Sure enough, i have a Facebook add for one today.....

  151. Kris
    September 2, 2016 at 7:11 am

    My girlfriend and I joined a gym last weekend. Since then I've been searching my home for a particular pair of tracksuit bottoms (with a particular brand that I won't mention here), constantly telling my girlfriend "Hey I still haven't found those popular branded tracksuit bottoms."

    For the past two days those exact same branded tracksuit bottoms keep appearing in ads on almost every page I visit. WTF?!?

    Seriously considering giving up the smart phone and going back to basics.

    • Corinne
      February 26, 2017 at 10:12 am

      Yes I have been experiencing the same thing on my Android phone. I asked google to search for something. Was reading something about it then Google came on and it said my phone had a virus and click on this. I had this happen before and no virus was on the phone. Then I don't know if I imagined it but the phone I think took a flash of me! Oh wow. How dare they do that? Obama and Edward Snowden did anyone see the movie,? That's freaky and those government spies must still be doing that. Bastards. We are paying these creeps to do that to us.

  152. Louis
    September 2, 2016 at 6:07 am

    Yeah very weird i could swear that if im about to type something in my phone comes up with full phrase with about one word and does seem to be on google searches, i.e i watch alot of medical stuff, i was about to read up on foetal........ It had already got foetel alcohol syndrome, bloody weird

  153. Sherri
    August 31, 2016 at 8:50 pm

    Happens all the time with husbands android phone. I have never noticed the issue with my iPhone. The most random one was last night. We had to work on our semi and needed wd40 to get a bolt loose. I verbally said I will run to store and get some WD40. About two hours later an ad for WD40 popped up
    On my husband's Facebook on his phone. They are lying and it really irritates me. I want to shut the microphone off somehow. Is there a way? He like to use it to text with though.

  154. Me
    August 21, 2016 at 1:05 pm

    Obama hired top execs from Google his first year (actually months) in office. I saw it on the national news. I also saw that Google received Government Funds right on our USDA website when they were closed down waiting on budget fiascal. Now internet is supposed to be moved out of the U.S. By Oct 1st. Folks...we are in trouble...

  155. Jeannie Baxter
    August 18, 2016 at 1:25 pm

    In my DOCTOR's office one day discussing an unusual topic, the next day an ad appears in my Facebook newsfeed addressing a solution. I've never performed a keyboard search or a voice search on my phone. This is just wrong.

    • Christian Cawley
      August 30, 2016 at 3:39 pm

      Useful account, Jeannie, thanks for sharing.

  156. Sajith Kumar
    August 18, 2016 at 9:39 am

    Strange that many people are having same issue. For me its not ad, I am getting emails direct to my inbox within 24 hours of my conversation or chat. It happened to me yesterday that I was having some health issues and I just discussed with my friend asking whether it could be any thyroid issue? In less than 24 hours I got an email from a blood test laboratory with title as "These could be reasons for Thyroid" and a detailed description. How can we stop this? Throw away the phone?

    • Christian Cawley
      August 30, 2016 at 3:39 pm

      A fascinating new dimension, thanks Sajith!

  157. glamaina
    August 17, 2016 at 12:05 pm

    Happens to me all the time.

    My wife tells me verbally that we need dog food, next day dog food ads on facebook

    My 3 year old cousin tells me he went to DInosaur Land, next day dinosaur land ads on facebook

    Just yesterday someone at work told me they bought an H20 Ninja mask for scuba diving. I had never heard of it and today on Foxnews.com is a google ad for the Ninja

    Once or twice maybe, but this happens all the time. It cant be coincidence. They are listening to everything.

    • Christian Cawley
      August 30, 2016 at 3:40 pm

      Nice examples, thanks!

  158. Dallas
    August 10, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    My kids and I were watching octonauts on TV . All of sudden an ad pops up on fb for octonauts toy. My husband and I will be talking about things and it happens alot. I'm scared

  159. Andrew M.
    August 9, 2016 at 6:28 pm

    The other day we were hanging out at a bar and a friend of ours told us she was pregnant, and told us all about how she found out (home pregnancy test) and all. We go back home, turn on Instagram and next thing we see is an ad for home pregnancy test (which of course we never had in our feed, ever).

  160. wade
    August 5, 2016 at 6:39 pm

    I was talking to mom about water bottles. She specifically mentioned a "Contigo" brand water bottle. I have NEVER searched for such a thing.

    Later that evening I was browsing on drudgereport.com and there was ad for Contigo water bottles on the side frame of the web page.

    I was surprised/shocked. That is how I ended upon this page. It doesn't seem like I had a unique experience though. Google is everywhere!

  161. Alecky
    August 3, 2016 at 12:23 am

    I was talking with a friend today in my kitchen, maybe 10 feet from my phone. Her mother is a runner and I mentioned that I wished I could run more; I also used the words "interval training." I never discuss or search for either term; in fact, I don't think I've used the term "interval training" in years. Three hours later, an ad for a running app that emphasizes interval training popped up on my Facebook feed.

    • Christian Cawley
      August 3, 2016 at 8:24 am

      Another great testimony. Thanks Alecky.

  162. John
    August 2, 2016 at 8:43 am

    At first I thought Google may be displaying ads based on your proximity with someone else. For example, if you are close enough to someone for an extended period of time, some comparison could be made between your mutual friends, interests, etc. And then a somewhat accurate guess could be made as to which ads you should see.

    However, this is all shaken up now... I had a conversation with someone about a new dating app and we both did not have our phones at the time. A few hours later I was getting ads for this dating app and I haven't dated in 5 years and am not planning to in the foreseeable future. So there really isn't any reason I should be seeing anything dating related, and haven't ever before this. Coincidence?

    I never mentioned anything about dating or the app around my phone after this conversation either.

    I wonder if maybe at some point later this other individual in the conversation mentioned the app again around their phone and location data was used to still pin us close enough together that day. Or maybe just using their common search history and displaying similar ads on my end based on proximity is the reason.

    Either way, this is all quite complex logic, but people out there do have the data and resources to make this happen. It seems like a combination of things is at play.

  163. Dez
    July 30, 2016 at 4:58 pm

    This past Thursday I had a conversation with a colleague while we were driving. We were discussing literature and I brought up the Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. Pretty mundane and obscure. This morning while perusing Google News, something about the Handmaid's Tale turned up in the 'Suggestions for you' section. Hard to imagine this is a coincidence!

    • Christian Cawley
      July 31, 2016 at 6:45 pm

      That one is pretty compelling, thanks for sharing, Dez!

  164. Brian
    July 23, 2016 at 12:19 am

    I was just speaking to my wife and mentioned that I wished Wegmans was closer to us. A moment later I checked FB and the first thing I see is a ad for Wegmans. It's what brought me to this article.

    • Christian Cawley
      July 23, 2016 at 2:13 pm

      Glad you found us, Brian! Thanks for sharing, another useful report.

  165. John
    July 4, 2016 at 6:30 pm

    I had a phone conversation with someone on my Android phone an hour ago. The person asked for a mutual friend's mobile number since they didn't have their address book handy since moving house. I said that I'd text the person's number to them, mentioning the person's name. At the end of the phone call there was a dialog box on the android screen offering a link to press to access the person's mobile number to send it. I wish it had stayed on the screen long enough for me to screenshot it. I don't have OK Google activated. I checked by Google voice recordings and there are none. This is not just disturbing, but worrying. Who might have access to this information in the future, and how will it be used or misused?

  166. ANON
    July 3, 2016 at 5:59 pm

    I googled this occurence specifically so feel compelled to add. Driving home today with my wife and brother in law, my BIL mentions he needs some sudafed. I never take sudafed, and would never search it. I later get on the home PC and all the ads on a forum I visit are for Sudafed...WTH....

  167. Nols
    July 2, 2016 at 4:58 am

    This happens to me all the time. Any conversation I have, I will then get ads or emails on phone for whatever topic I was discussing. I say to my husband and friends all the time that my phone is listening to my conversations. It is not a coincidence.

  168. relizo
    July 1, 2016 at 8:43 am

    I told a lyft driver less than a week ago an anecdote about having gotten food poisoning from subway. Today I got a subway ad on hulu, one I had never gotten previously before.

    This happens all the time. If not half, a good 40% of the ads I get these days I can trace back to conversations that happened exclusively verbally.

    Google searches leading to ads is one thing... When I had pink eye a few months back it was within the same day of realizing I had it that I was getting bombarded with video ads about pink eye treatments. But I also probably googled related topics a lot so you know.. Sure.

    But some of these ~off the grid~ convos so blatantly resulting in ads is a little too much.

  169. CT
    June 29, 2016 at 3:58 pm

    Hey I'm a Web/Android software engineer and I have an old Galaxy2. The only social app I have installed on it is Twitter and I got rid of Facebook last November, due to the ads and it being a waste of time.

    What needs to happen is someone needs to capture the traffic from their phone via WiFi sniffing and run tests that way. I'd do it, but I'm swamped with other projects.

    Meaning, one's phone needs to be in 3g mode with wireless internet turned on, so the internet traffic is flowing through one's own router.

    My accounts...I don't know where to begin to start there are so many but I didn't write them down. Just the other day I joked about being "deaf" because I have trouble hearing people sometimes when other noises trump what they say. I haven't searched for hearing aides, as it's not really a big problem in my life.

    Just this morning I had an ad show on YouTube for hearing aides.

    Since I'm kinda paranoid I almost always use Chrome in incognito mode (CTRL+SHIFT+N, no cookie tracking) to not track my frivolous searches. The real searches I don't mind, such as research and development, that's fine so I use the normal mode. So point being, I pulled up youtube while in Chrome's incognito mode, pulled up a video and boom..hearing aide advertisement.

    Bulls**t. Heinous bulls**t.

  170. steve
    June 25, 2016 at 5:31 am

    Sitting at an airport last week I was chatting to a friend and was asked where I lived. I responded with my hometown of Kingsley.......my phone was in the top pocket of my shirt and instantly I got a text message alert.
    All it was was a link with the title "Message for Kingsley" intrigued I clicked on the link and got directed to an ad for Aldi supermarket that had just opened in a suburb close to Kingsley.
    Big Brother is out there!!!

    • Christian Cawley
      June 25, 2016 at 5:14 pm

      Superb account, thanks Steve

  171. Christian Cawley
    June 23, 2016 at 7:37 pm

    Keep these accounts coming, people. The more we have, the bigger a deal we can make about it.

  172. Paulette
    June 20, 2016 at 11:57 pm

    On Father's Day I was sitting on my dads back porch and having random conversations with him and other family members. The very next day I got emails about everything we talked about.
    1. He needed to build a chicken yard for my great nieces baby chickens. (Got 2 emails about that)
    2. Many yrs. ago someone flew my dad to D.C. On their private Lear jet. (Email about chartering a private jet...like I could afford that)
    3. Talked about family history and ancestors being from Ireland (got email on packaged trips to Ireland)
    4. Talked about me thinking my crazy ass son-in-law having ADHD (email on dealing with adult ADHD)
    All of these emails were received the next morning (which happened to be this morning). I don't mind telling you it freaked me out and it pisses me off royally. So....I sat my phone down on my car seat and said "ok, SOB send me an email about who to call to sue your ass for listening to my private conversations".

  173. Ann
    June 20, 2016 at 2:57 am

    ive had this happen to me three times over the past 3 days.

    Yesterday I was talking with my mother about Expedia and the next time i turned on my phone and checked Instagram an Expedia ad came up.
    The day prior I mentioned to my coworker I was looking into getting a new car and then opened my phone and a car ad appeared on my Facebook feed
    Today I was on the phone with my sister about where should could purchase a new computer and I mentioned BestBuy, immediately after I hung up a best buy ad appears on my Facebook feed.

    Coincidence my ass, how do I get them to stop listening I've turned off all my apps access to my microphone but it is still happening.

    • Christian Cawley
      June 20, 2016 at 8:19 am

      Thanks for sharing, Ann. The more stories we can get on this, the better!

      • Debra
        October 22, 2017 at 2:05 pm

        Over the last few weeks I have been hearing random voice outbust with a musical background from my phone. Always the same. Took me awhile to realize what was said. "You are save humanity. " Disconnected every music vedio app. Still happens. Anyone else having this issue? Can anyone tell me what to do to get rid of this.

    • Frank
      June 23, 2016 at 5:31 pm

      Its at least once a week that I get an advertisement on Instagram about something I talked about a day or two before seeing the ad. I always screenshot them and send them to my friend.
      The most recent one was I went to a bar with a family member and mentioned to them that a few hours earlier I had noticed dark circles under my eyes from lack of sleep. Two days later I get an advertisement on Instagram about an eye cream specifically for dark circles.
      It's happened so many times that I'm to the point that I refuse to believe its coincidence. I've almost made note of my web history vs what I've talked about to make sure it wasn't from search history.
      I'm considering buying a phone case with a cover over the microphone or covering the microphone when not using it and comparing advertisements month to month with the microphone covered vs uncovered.

      • Frank
        June 23, 2016 at 5:32 pm

        That should say "ive also made note of my web history"

      • Christian Cawley
        June 23, 2016 at 7:37 pm

        Thanks Frank, very useful to know.

  174. Raquel
    June 11, 2016 at 4:40 am

    This happened to me. I was at a friends house and she showed me a shutterfly calendar. I never used or looked up shutterfly but for the next several days all I got in my phone was shutter fly ads!

    • Christian Cawley
      June 11, 2016 at 7:42 am

      Thanks for sharing Raquel, always good to get more evidence, anecdotal or otherwise.

  175. Leetness
    April 18, 2016 at 5:50 am

    I once was researching smartphones for a few hours then decided to go to walmart to buy one. Right when I walked in the door an ad for /just the phone I was planning on buying/ appeared on TV in front of the entryway. I really hope it was just coincidence

  176. Bernadette
    March 18, 2016 at 11:13 pm

    I think Employers use this also. My husbands employer insisted he should have an Android Smartphone. After of couple of weeks I told my husband my brother had bought a new car. Not from the dealership he works at. The next morning he was getting questioned about my brothers purchase. Since then I told him to turn it off before he comes in the house.

    • Christian Cawley
      June 11, 2016 at 7:43 am

      This is concerning in a quite different way!

  177. Stephanie
    March 14, 2016 at 6:46 am

    What happens at our house is we will be talking to each other about something and one of us will say, "let's Google it!" So, I start typing and within 2 or 3 letters, the first thing in the drop-down list is the topic we were discussing! We have jokingly said that Google has mics in our home or something and maybe all along, it was our phones? I expect to see related ads when I have purposely been looking for a product on the internet. It doesn't surprise me when after I have been shopping for shoes on Amazon, that later on all other sites, I see ads for the shoes I was looking for. That makes sense to me but how does Google know what I am going to ask it?

    • Christian Cawley
      March 14, 2016 at 8:40 pm

      Thanks for sharing, Stephanie, it's good - if discouncerting - to see that other people are experiencing the same things...

  178. Shore Patrol
    March 12, 2016 at 5:00 pm

    Bullticky, Have these CEO's and the developers go before a congressional panel and swear under oath that none if this is occurring. To purger oneself at this level is indeed a risky undertaking!

    • Cattery
      February 12, 2017 at 5:09 pm

      But you ALLOW THEM TO DO THIS in the terms and conditions, no?
      People are fools all damned day until they get a shock... and then they continue sucking-up to convenience. If they know they're doing it and have been for a long time - then they're not stupid enough to have ignored the legal side, are they?

  179. Anonymous
    March 11, 2016 at 11:11 pm

    It should be easy enough to test.

    Hold your phone near the TV while it's playing the theme song of something you wouldn't normally watch, or complain about some ailment (with lots of commercial meds available) and see what turns up.

    • Christian Cawley
      March 12, 2016 at 2:06 pm

      I would encourage everyone to try this and see what turns up. It not be straightaway when you see something in Google Noew, however.

  180. Alan Stephens
    March 11, 2016 at 4:14 am

    I really wouldn't be surprised to find out that, "In the interests of national security", implementations of this technology, other than targeted advertising, were being utilised also.

    World domination would after all be near impossible for someone who hadn't first honed their skills at Angry Birds or mastered the art of pretending to listen to cruel and cunning schemes whilst inwardly smiling and hitting Like at all those cute pictures of kittens on Facebook.

    "Just 'cos you're paranoid, doesn't mean they're not out to get you" ;)

  181. Jim Gibson
    March 10, 2016 at 1:08 pm

    All apps we download from Google play store require certain permissions one of those is the microphone. What possible use would any organisation need with the use of your microphone other than to listen to what you say and then target you with adverts from the information they record.

  182. Kannon Yamada
    March 10, 2016 at 10:47 am

    Really great read. Most phones include a special listening core which isn't functional at the hardware level (on most phones). A lot of developers, like Facebook, had problems with enabling constant 24-7 listening because it kills the battery, rendering the app useless. So they came up with a workaround. The phone only listens when you make a post. In Facebook's opinion, this time frame was important because they were interested in what music or TV shows users were watching/listening to while using Facebook.

    The thing is, though, that listening cores will eventually be enabled on all phones, meaning you can expect 24/7 listening in the near future. I'm trying to find an engineer to interview, but it's looking grim.

  183. Anonymous
    March 6, 2016 at 4:14 pm

    This is a very curious phenomenon and whilst I am in no way an expert on these matters, I always jut assumed it was because I was very boring and predictable.

    • Christian Cawley
      March 6, 2016 at 6:27 pm

      Well, there's nothing particularly wrong with that assumption. Perhaps those that have noticed anything strange here are simply far more boring than we think we are!

  184. Anonymous
    March 5, 2016 at 8:01 pm

    " Or is it really all just coincidence?"
    As Auric Goldfinger, one of James Bond's adversaries, was fond of saying "Once is happenstance, Twice is coincidence, Three times is enemy action."

    • Christian Cawley
      March 5, 2016 at 8:36 pm

      Superb quote!