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The VICE Guide to Right Now Podcast

Yes, Your Creepy Phone Is Listening to What You Say

Even without triggering Siri or Google, our phones can store data from our daily conversations.
Image: Sam Nichols

Insert linkHave you ever discovered a new cool product—maybe a lip gloss or gadget—and then suddenly found your Instagram and Facebook feeds flooding with similar advertisements? In this day and age, it can seem like our devices can read our minds and act accordingly.

Well, they can't read our minds (yet) but it's true that our phones are listening to us all the time. While companies like Facebook and Instagram deny it, they are designed with audible "triggers" that tell the app to record and store data. It's hard to say what those triggers are, and which apps are the most invasive since most tech companies are tight-lipped about how they operate. The more obvious data gobblers, though, are the voice-activated services like Siri and Google.

It's easy to shrug off privacy concerns when you don't think there's much sensitive stuff happening in your conversations. But these breaches in privacy could prove dangerous, exposing our health information to third-party advertisers. On today's episode, we talk to reporter Sam Nichols about what's happening in your phone.

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