About a year ago, I noticed something disturbing: My wife’s car is eavesdropping on me.
Many (most?) of you may already know about this capability, but it’s news to me. I felt it might be worth posting this for those that
know about it and who value their privacy.
Pretty much everyone knows that when you type in a search on one of the big search engines, you’ll get ads related to that search popping up on your
laptop, phone or desktop. Algorithms and all that. And I’m sure we all know that iPads, iPhones, computers and pretty much anything with a
‘personal assistant’ embedded in its software is constantly eavesdropping on everything you do or say in your home. Hell, even my frickin’
is listening. And we ALL know by now that these systems are constantly making suggestions on what to read or what to buy, based on what
they hear. But I failed to make the connection that a Bluetooth equipped car
would be no different.
My wife bought a new Volvo in 2019 that came equipped with Siri and Bluetooth. On any given day, my wife and I hang out in our nice, clean garage
with one or both roll up doors open, smoking cigarettes, drinking a beer and enjoying the shade. It’s the closest thing we have to a Three Seasons
room. Because her car was new, we parked it in the garage.
I started noticing ads popping up on my iPad that were related to topics of discussion we’d just had in the garage. I wondered: Just how
sensitive IS my iPad? Can it REALLY hear conversations 15 feet away, through a solid door?
[I usually keep my iPad in the kitchen, which is on
the other side of the garage door, about 15 feet from where my wife and I sit in the garage]
So I conducted an experiment. I placed my iPad in my wife’s home office (a good thirty feet from the garage) and turned it off. I still got ads
related to our conversation. I hadn’t done a search…so how was my iPad getting the most recent information from our conversation, information to
base its ad content on?
And then it hit me: my wife’s car was eavesdropping on us—even though the cars ignition was off and had been for many hours!
So just to
check this theory, I ran a second experiment. I sat alone in the garage and said out loud “Jeans. I think I need new blue jeans”. I didn’t
really, and shopping for clothes is my LEAST favorite activity on earth. It’s just not something I talk about or look for.
I went in, grabbed my iPad and turned it on. Then pulled up a website I browse from time to time. Sure enough, there’s an ad for blue jeans!
Here’s my takeaway on this: Apple and Google were both busted for lying to their customers about their personal assistants not listening to you
when your device was off. They’ve managed to turn EVERY ‘smart’ appliance, tool and and now even our parked cars into a listening device. I
knew about the others, just not a parked car that (in theory) SHOULDN’T have enough voltage going through the car to power it’s Bluetooth system.
How else could the car send a wireless report to your home server?
So every time you walk past a newer car parked on the street with your wife or buddies, just know this: someone somewhere is listening. Even if you
left your phone at home.
edit on 4-11-2021 by Thoughtcrime because: Clarity