A Tech Worker Proved That Your Phone Isn’t Really Listening (Phew) But It Is Watching (Fuck)

robert g. reeve phone device gps watching

An American writer and privacy tech worker has hit up Twitter with his recent findings on how our phones capture data from us, and it’s fkn terrifying. It all starts with toothpaste, and a couple of ads that appeared on his phone without him saying a word about it.

For clarity, I threw my phone out of the window before I wrote this yarn. I wish to remain off the grid and free from all the ways our devices capture information about us. But hey, back to the matter at hand.

Writer Robert G. Reeve has posted up a detailed tech explainer about how devices are always watching us after he received ads for his mother’s toothpaste brand on his Twitter. The thing is, he has never spoken about the toothpaste and has definitely never googled it either.

So how the hell did his phone know what brand of dentist scrub he was putting in his mouth? Well, that’s a bloody good question, and the answer is fkn terrifying.

“First of all, your social media apps are not listening to you. This is a conspiracy theory. It’s been debunked over and over again,” Reeve wrote to Twitter.

“But frankly they don’t need to because everything else you give them unthinkingly is way cheaper and way more powerful.”

That’s me in one word. Unthinkingly.

According to Reeve, our phones don’t even bother listening to us, because they can collect enough data from our locations and all of the people we regularly interact with.

Sure you might not use the same deodorant as your partner, but you’re sure as hell going to get ads for it because they regularly buy it from Woolies, and your phone wants you to be a good gift giver.

Siri, queen of love languages she is.

So basically Reeve was getting ads for his mother’s toothpaste because he was at her house, and his phone wanted to show him things that SHE would be interested in.

It’s a hyper-specific example, but Reeve says that through aggregating the data between two people, our phones not only collect information about us, but also the people we hang around.

Calling my family now to tell them all to throw their phones away. Well, I would, if I didn’t yeet my phone out of the window moments ago.

“Your data isn’t just about you. It’s about how it can be used against every person you know, and people you don’t, to shape behaviour unconsciously,” he wrote.

Would love technology to stop doing anything with the word conscious, please and thank.

So is your Alexa listening to you? Probably not.

Does this mean I am going to keep that prying binch plugged in when I’m spilling all the tea on my Zoom meetings? Absolutely not.

No digital ears are welcome into my business.

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