Ad Company Gains Attention for Claiming They Can Listen in on Users’ Conversations… Then, Promptly Deletes Their Page
Shocking revelations have recently come to light about a long-debated theory that marketing companies can listen in on the public’s smart device conversations to target them with ads.
Cox Media Group wrote of “Active Listening” in a recent blog post, a technology aimed at helping with targeted ads. According to the post, they claimed to be able to listen to people’s conversations via smartphone microphones.
Are Advertising Companies Listening to Phone Calls?
The idea that device companies are able to use smartphones to listen in on private conversations was once considered nothing more than a myth.
However, recently, a marketing company has bragged about precisely this during a blog post, according to 404 Media.
Cox Media Group shared a blog post centered on a new form of software they refer to as Active Listening.
According to CMG, this new king of technology can use data sourced from microphones on smartphones and tablets to analyze “pre-purchase conversations.”
CMG Deleted the Post After Backlash
After receiving a considerable amount of backlash and being accused of breaching personal privacy, the blog post was later deleted.
Before the removal of the post, viewers also noticed that CMG mentioned they used AI to determine what phrases uttered in smartphone conversations could be relevant to advertisers.
Viewers Can No Longer Read the Post
Last Friday, online readers noticed that when they tried to access the CMG blog post discussing Active Listing, they were taken back to the website homepage.
However, an archived version of the article can still be viewed on another website.
Is it Even Legal?
CMG quickly covered its tracks by claiming in the blog post that the Active Listening software is 100% legal.
They wrote, “It is legal for phones and devices to listen to you. When a new app download or update prompts consumers with a multi-page term of use agreement somewhere in the fine print, Active Listening is often included.”
How Does Active Listening Work
According to the original blog post, Active Listening uses voice data from conversations users have on their smartphones.
This is only possible thanks to advancements in AI, which they claim has the “growing ability to access microphone data.”
Targeting Customers Based on Conversations
The technology uses specific terms as keywords for advertisers that could relate to different items or services they’re trying to sell.
“With this unprecedented understanding of consumer behavior, we can deliver personalized ads that make your target audience think: wow, they must be a mind reader,” CMG wrote.
Blog Post Spreads Fear Amongst the Public
The news that companies could listen in on the conversations of everyday smartphone users may now be a reality in certain situations.
Until now, no such evidence would suggest this myth was true. Yet, sophisticated ad tracking may already be using technology like Active Listening.
No Response From Cox Media Group
However, it’s important to note it’s unclear whether or not the Active Listing software is currently in use.
CMG has not yet responded to any request for further information from various news groups.
Privacy Fears Reach a New High
Unfortunately, the CMG post has only further intensified an already suspicious public with regard to privacy concerns centered on technology such as Active Listening.
Some people have claimed that Facebook has used a similar Active Listening technology for years. No evidence has been brought against the social media giant to suggest the claims are valid.
Apple Forced to Change Their Software
In recent years, Apple was forced to change its iOS software to ensure app-makers were more transparent when apps accessed or used a smartphone microphone or location data.
Now, an orange dot will appear in the top-right corner of the when an Apple product microphone is in use, just like a phone call.