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first light © Robert Sommers 2019

Thursday, September 19, 2019

Google, are you listening?

I was talking to my friend Larry today on my android phone and he mentioned that he and his wife were flying to Canada to visit Jasper National Park next week. They were scheduled to go a few months ago but she fell ill so this is a makeup trip.

I turned my computer on after I hung up a few minutes later. Bang, there was an advertisement from Google for cut rate accommodations to Jasper National Park. This is the second time in a week that it strongly appears that Google is straining my phone conversations for information. Both incidents were very specific and outside the realm of coincidence.


I did a search on "Is google listening to my phone calls?" and got this: Google Is Absolutely Listening to Your Conversations, and It Confirms Why People Don't Trust Big Tech

Every time you say "Hey Google," or physically access the Google Assistant feature on your smartphone or Google Home, your interactions are recorded and those recordings are then potentially reviewed by contractors that Google says are used to improve its products.However, in addition to listening when you give a command, sometimes your device will experience what Google calls a "false accept," which means that your conversation is recorded even though you're not directly engaging with Google Assistant, and haven't given the wake command.That means it's possible for Google's contractors to listen to audio recorded when you're talking to your spouse or on the phone, even when you're not interacting with a Google device.As for your personal information captured, Google says that just 0.2 percent of all audio snippets end up being listened to by the company's language reviewers. And the company does allow you to delete those snippets manually, or automatically after a period of time. 
I'm not sure I still trust the company whose motto was once Don't be evil. Of course that clause was removed from their charter a year ago. So twentieth century...

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