Do you ever get the feeling that your phone and TV might be spying on you? I’ve had enough friends and family mention weird things that have happened to them that I decided to explore the issue.

It’s no secret that when you search for something on the internet, that data is tracked. That’s one of the reasons you may see ads on your social media pages based on something you’ve Googled. Wikipedia has a detailed page on search marketing.

But, what about conversations you have with friends and family being tracked? To me, that’s a much more invasive type of monitoring. I’ve had multiple coworkers share stories of family members who were mysteriously served ads after just uttering certain words or phrases without ever doing an online search.

CBS News covered the story of smartphones monitoring what you say. It gets worse. There’s a Reddit thread that’s hundreds of comments deep with claims that some companies can even listen to audio commands you say in front of your phone to serve ads that would be associated to things you’re interested in. Digital Trends documented this, too.

The Center for Democracy and Technology even went so far as to issue a memo claiming that a technology called “SilverPush” allowed devices like phones and TV’s to work together to track your behavior.

I’m not a naive person when it comes to technology. I have computer certifications and am fully aware that we all leave a digital footprint especially when logged into a personal online account. However, there’s a line that I believe this crosses where I have not given anyone explicit permission to track certain aspects of my personal life like conversations with friends and family. To me, that’s not OK.

What do you think? Do you believe your phone, TV or whatever digital device you use is spying on you? If so, does it bother you or do you accept it as a normal part of life now?

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