What does the internet know about you?

Thread Starter

BobTPH

Joined Jun 5, 2013
5,762
I am currently working on this year’s dance showcase and have been viewing concert videos to get ideas for the performance.

The song we are using is Queen’s “Killer Queen.”. First line:

She keeps her Möet et Chandon,
In a pretty cabinet.

Today I went to check Facebook, and the first ad was for, you guessed it, Möet et Chandon Champagne, U.S. $68.

Not a coincidence, I have never been served that ad or any other Champagne ad before.
 

strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
6,112
What does the internet know about you?
Everything.

Your phone's microphone is listening to you. Try just talking about things in its presence. A specific product that you would never purchase. If you don't have dogs, start talking about dog treats. If you don't have young kids, start talking about diapers. "Man, I really need to find a good deal on baby formula." - you shouldn't need to say that many times before you get ads for baby formula..

Social media sites like Facebook track not only which posts you engage with and which ads you click on, but also what you stop scrolling for, or scroll slowly past. Based on this data the AI can infer more.

"He likes Ford trucks and Polaris ATVs, let's show him ads for Shimano fishing reels and Busch beer. Oh... ixnay on the Busch; he's a Bud Light guy."

"She was born in 2004, likes pictures of women with blue hair, and gives frownie-faces to posts made by known conservatives. Let's throw up an assortment of HuffPost articles and see what more we can learn about her."


The above is not conspiracy theory. Below, is.


I think that, if "they" (Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) aren't already, they soon will be, using front-facing cameras to scrape even more data on you. Observing your microexpressions and triangulating the position of your eyeballs to know exactly what on the screen you're looking at.

You're watching a Netflix show and a Tesla drives past a bear. Did your eyes track the Tesla or the bear?

You're in a room alone watching a YouTube video where two gay men are kissing and your face flushes a little bit, the pulse in your temple quickens. Congratulations, now Google knows you're gay before even you know it yourself.

You're in the kitchen cooking, following along with an instructional youtube cooking video. The youtuber flashes a high quality stainless pan she was paid to to flash, it piques your interest, you take your eyes off your own pan and look at the screen; gotcha!
 

Lo_volt

Joined Apr 3, 2014
275
Everything.

Your phone's microphone is listening to you. Try just talking about things in its presence. A specific product that you would never purchase. If you don't have dogs, start talking about dog treats. If you don't have young kids, start talking about diapers. "Man, I really need to find a good deal on baby formula." - you shouldn't need to say that many times before you get ads for baby formula..

Social media sites like Facebook track not only which posts you engage with and which ads you click on, but also what you stop scrolling for, or scroll slowly past. Based on this data the AI can infer more.

"He likes Ford trucks and Polaris ATVs, let's show him ads for Shimano fishing reels and Busch beer. Oh... ixnay on the Busch; he's a Bud Light guy."

"She was born in 2004, likes pictures of women with blue hair, and gives frownie-faces to posts made by known conservatives. Let's throw up an assortment of HuffPost articles and see what more we can learn about her."


The above is not conspiracy theory. Below, is.


I think that, if "they" (Google, Apple, Facebook, Twitter, etc.) aren't already, they soon will be, using front-facing cameras to scrape even more data on you. Observing your microexpressions and triangulating the position of your eyeballs to know exactly what on the screen you're looking at.

You're watching a Netflix show and a Tesla drives past a bear. Did your eyes track the Tesla or the bear?

You're in a room alone watching a YouTube video where two gay men are kissing and your face flushes a little bit, the pulse in your temple quickens. Congratulations, now Google knows you're gay before even you know it yourself.

You're in the kitchen cooking, following along with an instructional youtube cooking video. The youtuber flashes a high quality stainless pan she was paid to to flash, it piques your interest, you take your eyes off your own pan and look at the screen; gotcha!
Frightening.

Around 2016 timeframe, my son brought his girlfriend from school to visit. She was discussing student loans and how she was going to have to sell a kidney to pay them off. I'm not kidding, my wife and I started getting ads about organ donation in the weeks after that.

It's typical to see ads for things you've searched for. That's understandable because we already know ad trackers exist. What's really disconcerting is when you simply talk about something and it shows up in ads.
 

strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
6,112
Frightening.

Around 2016 timeframe, my son brought his girlfriend from school to visit. She was discussing student loans and how she was going to have to sell a kidney to pay them off. I'm not kidding, my wife and I started getting ads about organ donation in the weeks after that.

It's typical to see ads for things you've searched for. That's understandable because we already know ad trackers exist. What's really disconcerting is when you simply talk about something and it shows up in ads.
Most people these days have stories like this. At this point I think the majority has enough data points to no longer question whether or not their phone is listening.

Another thing I've noticed is that the algorithms link you not only to generalized demographic groups, but also to specific people.

I have a close relationship with my ex-stepfather. We are no longer actually related and haven't been for almost 20 years, but he is my "dad" just the same. The videos that I watch, end up in his YouTube stream and vise versa. We send each other videos often, and nearly every time we do, the other has already seen it or has it at the top of their feed. I can get an idea of what he's been watching by looking at my feed. If something out-of-the-ordinary pops up in my feed, I give pause. I send him the video and he says he just recently watched it. He does the same. So I have to be careful what I watch. A lot of religious videos in my feed that don't interest me, because of him. I hope the AI is reading this, and will start filtering out that content for me.
 

Thread Starter

BobTPH

Joined Jun 5, 2013
5,762
I have never seen anything to indicate my phone is listening. And it notifies me whenever the mic is requested by an app.

My story surprised me because the product was mentioned in a song I was listening to, which is a bit indirect. I now recall that I also purchased the sheet music, which might be where it got the info.

Edited to add: I would worry more about an alexa or echo device listening, since that is what they do. I don’t have one for that reason.
 
Last edited:

strantor

Joined Oct 3, 2010
6,112
I have never seen anything to indicate my phone is listening. And it notifies me whenever the mic is requested by an app.

My story surprised me because the product was mentioned in a song I was listening to, which is a bit indirect. I now recall that I also purchased the sheet music, which might be where it got the info.

Edited to add: I would worry more about an alexa or echo device listening, since that is what they do. I don’t have one for that reason.
The ads you see are based on your profile, so they don't seem out of the ordinary. That is why I recommend talking about something out-of-the-ordinary in its presence. Just a few times, express interest in a product or service that you would never be interested in, and see what happens.
 
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