Is your smartphone listening to you when not using it?

How invasive is your smartphone or Alexa?
It looks to me that if you carry the internet around with you on your phone, you can be located where ever you go and people can hear your conversations even when you are not using your smartphone but it silently sits by your side listening to everything that goes on around it.

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Foxy, Have you only just discovered this?
It’s a well know fact and it’s been happening for a long time now.
A while back, my daughter was at her friend’s house and the friend was saying she’d like to get a dog. The next thing, adverts for dog rescue and other dog-related adverts appeared on her phone via Facebook and other places.


It hasn’t happened to us and we’ve had smart phones for a very long time and the Also we don’t use Facebook or anything else.

I think we would be naive if we didn’t realize that our phones & computers allow others to get info from them. Eventually we will be contacted on a daily basis by somebody trying to sell us their new products… even if it does make us angry!

On the other hand, many rescue services have been able to locate people, who have had life threatening accidents, and were able to save many lives.
We can’t have it all ways !

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The thought of being located doesn’t really bother me. I suppose it might bother me if I were in the habit of being somewhere I shouldn’t be.

My conversations are so few and far between, and so uninteresting, that even artificial intelligence would get bored by listening to them. :zzz:


When you think about it, if you’ve got Alexa or Siri, then it must be listening all the time

Because it’s activated by you saying the trigger word So it must be constantly listening in order to hear the trigger word?


The article in the OP was written in 2016, just after the introduction of Alexa.

Since then, virtual assistant technology has developed to become a part of many people’s lives - over 50,000,000 units of Alexa alone are shipped every year and that’s expected to double in the near future.

February 14, 2022

  1. Alexa has gained over 100,000 skills since its launch.


Amazon Alexa is an AI-powered virtual assistant developed by Amazon. The more commands it receives, the more skills and information it learns.

According to Amazon Alexa facts, Alexa started with only 130 skills. However, that number increased to 100,000 skills in only six years. The progress is truly remarkable, considering that Alexa was launched in November 2014.

  1. Since 2020, Alexa has become compatible with over 100,000 smart home devices.

One of the main concerns when buying a smart speaker is that it may not be a practical choice for you if you’re building a smart home. However, this problem is solved thanks to Amazon Echo’s increasing compatibility.

As Amazon Echo stats show, Alexa is now compatible with 100,000 smart home devices. That’s a 40% increase since 2019 when Alexa was compatible with 60,000 devices. Ranging from voice-activated lights to automatic smart door locks, you can connect almost any device to a smart speaker.

Soon, there’ll be an Alexa (or equivalent) in every home … :scream_cat:

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It might be nice to know that someone finds my conversations worth easvesdropping. :wink:

I turn off my location finder on my phone. I don’t use it for anything at the moment. My phone actually has deleted permissions to apps that I haven’t used in the past 6 months.

I do think that Facebook is pretty invasive. It tried to turn on my microphone on my computer that I had disabled. I’m not sure what it’s doing on my phone, but it doesn’t have to listen to my conversations to know how to market. It just replicates the groups I’m joining in ads it serves to me.


We are going to have ads thrown at us whatever we do, so I suppose they may as well be relevant to us. I shouldn’t think many people actually take notice of what ads they are getting. I don’t think I do. :thinking:

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I actually do notice ads. I have adblockers on everything except the streaming services on my phone (they’re blocked on my computer) and Facebook (and it’s progeny Instagram). When I get ads, they’re quite novel since I don’t see them anywhere else. I’m trying to find ways to block those few ads I do get, but when I get them, they’re noticeable. I’m so suggestible that I find myself looking at the ads on Facebook and clicking on them. They’re normally a disappointment but I keep clicking on a few of them, a waste of my emotional energy.


Not in this home there won’t, nor will there be a smart phone either.


I do not have a smartphone or that intrusive Alexa, so I am not being listened to.


There will be when you’re “gone” … :wink:

That’s as may be, but not while V and I are still alive and kicking :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

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The march of the Bots goes on.

I think we all know that the big sales companies have devices that feed back, to their owners, what web pages you visit, what you check prices on, what you buy.

Alexa (and the others) are, likely to be doing the same with your chit chat, in your lounge.

Maybe your Smart TV is doing it, as well?

I have seen emails itemising things that we have only talked about, in the room.

Hardly coincidence?

What can we do?

We could pull the plug, on the Alexa device, when we’re not using it, and that would cut it back a bit.

Then we might go back to the old war time thought “These walls have ears”.




There was me, thinking that you were too young to remember…!

Oh no there won’t!


I was born during WWII but my grandparents were hot on keeping quiet.

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I don’t have Alexa or anything similar in my home - for my iPhone, I can turn off Siri any time I want in my Settings. I have only used it to play with occasionally to try it out, so it’s usually switched off.
Also, Apps usually request permission to access the microphone - and I can check in the Privacy settings for which Apps currently have access to the microphone and turn it on or off for each App - so I feel as though I’m in control.
I don’t currently have any Apps for which I have given permission to access the microphone and I can’t recall any time my iPhone has automatically input Search suggestions when I’ve used it to access the internet.

Maybe there is some secret listening station somewhere that I’m unaware of - I wonder how clear my voice is when my phone lives most of the time in the depths of my handbag or rucksack, inside a cupboard - poor Siri must get a bit lonely in there if he is secretly “on duty” behind my back! :rofl: