Are there gremlins in my computer? (1 Viewer)

Eljefegeneo

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To me this is SO SCARY. I’m thinking about deleting all my iPhone and iPad apps. Is there no way to stop the invasive spying? I think I am getting more and more paranoid about such things and I really don’t want to be this way.

My son told me a story the other day about someone who had posted a blog about a company that was selling shoddy goods. Seems the company retaliated by hiring some guys on Russia or some place like that to bombard the guys web site with hits and effectively shut it down.

while I am not going to wax nostalgic about the good old days and looking up info in an available encyclopedia, at least no one knew what I was doing,

Please tech giants, leave me alone!
 

Isaac

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So some please tell me that this was just a coincidence. I’m visiting my grandkids in LA and it’s raining so the forced air heaters are blowing and my eyes are drying out. Say to my wife, going to walk to CVS and get some eye drops. I have not looked up anything on a browser. Get back to the hotel room and my wife is listening to Pandora. On comes a commercial for eye drops. She says she has never heard this ad before. Coincidence or her iPhone listening to our conversation?

There is one thing to remember or keep in mind when it comes to potential paranoia versus reality.

A state of hypervigilance causes coincidences that may not have otherwise been noticed but may have still been occurring previously, to now be noticed.

Hope that helps you..
 

Pat Hartman

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Is there no way to stop the invasive spying?
No. Not unless you cut yourself off from the world.

At the moment, the spying by big tech is still mostly benign. It is annoying to be bombarded by adds for something you just bought but that's all.

Think of how China is using the surveillance. They are calculating your "social" score and if it is too low, you will be bared from travelling, many jobs, and anything else that "they" want. This is happening in the US, Australia, and Canada also. Places we thought would always be free are no longer free. You can't get on an airplane without a photo ID unless you are an illegal alien and in that case it is even worse because the taxpayers also pay for the trip but you don't need any ID to vote. The Biden administration is trying to get you fired if you won't take the "emergency use only" vaccine and have made great inroads into controlling our movements. You can't get a job interview if you are not vaccinated either. The full force of the DOJ and FBI have been put to bear to root out all people who entered the Capital building last Jan 6th. Your phone carriers and credit card companies have been reporting information to the government without a warrant to help them to determine if YOU were in the vicinity of the Capital on Jan 6th. Hundreds of people are in jail still one year later, without bond for what essentially amounts to trespassing. They are political prisoners. Somehow the flash mobs that are ransacking stores in our big cities can't be stopped because the police can't identify or find the people. Maybe because they're wearing the approved face diapers which mask their identity and the trespassers were proudly showing their faces. Or, maybe it is because the DOJ and FBI are just too busy persecuting soccer moms who speak up at school board meetings.

Goggle and the other big tech companies have no compunction about working with the Chinese to help them to control their population and improve the accuracy of facial recognition software and AI for the Chinese military but balk at working with the US military because they have "ethics". Google has made itself the arbiter of "truth". If they say the sun is green, the sun is green and you are pushing misinformation if you say it is yellow so you need to be cancelled. FB and Twitter take the same position. The Iranians shouting death to America and threatening to drive Israel into the sea isn't hate speech but saying that there are actually only two sexes is. BLM and Antifa planning riots using social media is fine but sick people discussing bad side effects their doctors told them were caused by the COVID vaccine have to be cancelled because that is misinformation.

For anyone who as ever read 1984, "Big Brother is watching you" but his name is now Alexa and she's here to "help" you. Won't you please let her in? The world has gone crazy when "truth" is flexible and history is erased when it doesn't suit the current narrative. Pulling down statues of Lewis and Clark because some idiots misinterpret the position of the native guide as being subservient to white men as opposed to simply looking down at the ground and tracking. Evil people see nothing but evil. It is their own impulses reflected back on themselves from inside their bubble that they are attributing to the rest of us.

I have been designing and developing software since 1968 and I know what we are capable of and it terrifies me. The convenience of banking by phone and having Alexa find your keys is certainly alluring. Thanks but no thanks. I'll find my own damn keys. You are not recording and analyzing every word said in my home. I use NO Google products and I do my searching using Duck Duck Go. I also use NO "i" products. Apple is more benign though but I will not be sucked into an ecosystem that is intended to keep me a prisoner and charge me three times what anyone selling a similar product would charge. You are not safe renting servers from AWS. If they don't like your politics, they can just cut you off at the knees as they did to Parlar. Most people think they just took down Parlar's website. Not true. Parlar was renting servers on which it ran its ENTIRE business. Not just their website but all their internal apps like AR and AP, all their files, EVERYTHING. Gone with 24 hours notice to get what they could or lose it. If you are a small business owner, just think about that for a second or two. Everything you get via your computer just gone. If it is not on paper in your desk drawer, GONE! If American Express doesn't like your politics, they just cancel your account. If Paypal doesn't like your politics, they just cancel your account. If GoFundMe doesn't like your politics, they cancel your fundraising pages.

The world is closing in. If you do not follow the party line, you will be cancelled or reprogrammed as some have suggested be done here and as they currently do in China and is what they did in 1984. Resistance is futile as the Borg remind us.
 
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Saphirah

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There is one thing to remember or keep in mind when it comes to potential paranoia versus reality.

A state of hypervigilance causes coincidences that may not have otherwise been noticed but may have still been occurring previously, to now be noticed.

Hope that helps you..
Exactly this. I do not believe that mobile phones and home assistants are constantly spying on us. I monitored my alexas network traffic for a week and it only sent/received data whenever i used the microphone.
They do have a built in chip to recognize 3 different words (Alexa, Echo, Computer) without using the network traffic, and the microphone is turned off until this chip is triggered.

I do not know about android phones but i did similar traffic sniffing with my iphone and nothing there either.

Keep in mind every day you are bombarded with thousand of ads. Most of the time you do not notice the ads at all. But then one ad pops up that fits to your recent conversation or search history and you suddenly get scared by the "big almighty tech companies".

This does not mean that tracking does not exist. There is a ton of data being collected and sold by your activity on the web.

But at least according to my own research my own devices do not spy on me.
 

AccessBlaster

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Following the events of 9/11, the US government enacted the Patriot Act. The Patriot Act was sold to the American people on the notion that the US Government was going to surveil and track foreign/domestic actors operating within the United States who were planning 9/11 style attacks. Well that myth was busted when "The surveillance of millions of Americans' telephone records first came to light in 2013"

That's millions with an "M" let that sink in next time you say or type anything on any device.

People will often say "if you are not guilty, you have nothing to hide". That's a fallacy.

Edward Snowden remarked "Arguing that you don't care about the right to privacy because you have nothing to hide is no different than saying you don't care about free speech because you have nothing to say."[9] He considered claiming nothing to hide as giving up the right of privacy which the government has to protect.

1641836241124.png
 

Pat Hartman

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They do have a built in chip to recognize 3 different words (Alexa, Echo, Computer) without using the network traffic, and the microphone is turned off until this chip is triggered.
A friend gave me a Dot 5/6 years ago when they first came out and I had never even heard of the device. I opened it Christmas eve with all the other presents. We played with it briefly and gave it our internet password but since it wasn't connected to anything, it couldn't actually do anything. So, I put it aside and the grandchildren the rest of the family moved on to the rest of the presents. Two days later when I got back on line again, I was getting ads for all the things that we got for Christmas. The key was the specific toys that the twins had gotten. I never did any internet searches for them. I went to the store and bought them directly or someone else did. So, don't tell me they don't listen. It is possible that too many people complained and so they throttled back on the adds. Reports I read a while ago said they were actually examining all conversation so they could determine if Alexa was actually interpreting correctly. Makes sense but not in my house. I put the Dot in the Good Will box. Let it spy on someone else.

To trigger the "chip", it MUST be listening. It is ALWAYS on unless the device is unplugged. It may no longer be actively transmitting. The device has been out for years now and there is little justification for spying to "test" the AI aspects any more.
 

Saphirah

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A friend gave me a Dot 5/6 years ago when they first came out and I had never even heard of the device. I opened it Christmas eve with all the other presents. We played with it briefly and gave it our internet password but since it wasn't connected to anything, it couldn't actually do anything. So, I put it aside and the grandchildren the rest of the family moved on to the rest of the presents. Two days later when I got back on line again, I was getting ads for all the things that we got for Christmas. The key was the specific toys that the twins had gotten. I never did any internet searches for them. I went to the store and bought them directly or someone else did. So, don't tell me they don't listen. It is possible that too many people complained and so they throttled back on the adds. Reports I read a while ago said they were actually examining all conversation so they could determine if Alexa was actually interpreting correctly. Makes sense but not in my house. I put the Dot in the Good Will box. Let it spy on someone else.

To trigger the "chip", it MUST be listening. It is ALWAYS on unless the device is unplugged. It may no longer be actively transmitting. The device has been out for years now and there is little justification for spying to "test" the AI aspects any more.
But you actually don't know if these ads came from your dot spying on you, or various other sources.
I can only talk for my alexa, i never owned a dot. But i measured the traffic. That is proof that (at least my) devices are not listening. The protocol isn't actually encrypted that well. So i was even able to read WHAT is actually sent. Aside from the auth token and a bit of meta data, it is actually just sending a bit stream of the raw microphone input, which is then interpreted by the amazon servers.

Yes the microphone needs to be turned on constantly for the device to detect the "keywords". But the internal chip is processing the input and tries to "listen" for specific trigger words. A microphone which is not sending any data and not storing the audio anywhere is useless. They might be "listening". But if they can't access the data so what?

Your specific experience can also have various other reasons. Here in germany we have cards at the super market which gives you bonus points and discounts. PayBack and "Deutschland-Card". For that they track your whole purchase and sell the data to third parties. Maybe you own/used one of these cards.
My father is working for a big bank here in germany. He told me they often sell specific shopping transactions to the related parties. The big supermarkets do the same.
Another thing is, the tech companies know who is related with whom. Be it your ip (being on the same network) or just by your online profile/name.
So if your children googled for toys to get for christmas, you, as the father, will probably get an ad for these toys.
There are a bunch of other possibilities, but the list is already quite long, and i think you get my point.

Then is the question, did you get these ads constantly, and only for this one type of toy? Or did you one day "notice" that one ad, which was about these toys your children got? Because this can also be coincidence. Remember. These toys were probably common for children in their age. So getting an ad for them is not too far from expectation. And we can assume that the big techs know about the rough age of your family.
 

The_Doc_Man

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I solve the problem of "listening devices" another way. We don't have a voice-enabled assistant in the house. My wife and I turn off our cell phones unless we are outside of the house - me on my daily walk, her on her shopping trips, or when we are away from the home phone (land-line!) My cell's Cortana has been disabled to the maximum extent I could find online.

The only reason I even HAVE a cell phone is because Hurricane Katrina forced me and my wife to be apart for several months as we recovered from the damage done to our house. Also, my position with the Navy required me to carry a beeper or cell fphone. So to keep in touch, I got a cell phone. Now that I'm retired, I have made it possible for folks to be unable to immediately get in touch with me if I'm out of the house.

The Windows assistant on my laptop has been disabled and that machine does not have a voice-activated device on it. It also doesn't have a camera. Someone hacked my Outlook once and tried to extort money for having visited an adult site. I laughed because (a) nothing happened and (b) I didn't have a computer camera anyway. I know I don't have one now because I checked my device list and nothing showed up.

If someone gave me a Siri- or Alexa-based device, I would politely but insistently ask for the receipt so I could return it, politeness be damned. The way to keep that crap out is to not allow entry in the first place.
 

moke123

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Someone hacked my Outlook once and tried to extort money for having visited an adult site.
Did it look like this?

Figure-1-2.jpg


Its a pretty common sextortion email.
I got one at work years ago and on occasion since. The part that freaks you out is that it has a password that you have used. I was able to determine that they got my email address and password from an old hack at Adobe.
 

The_Doc_Man

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The funny part is that they actually sent me a video - that wasn't me, but the quality was so bad you couldn't really see the face of whoever it was. But it was in a room with furniture that didn't exist in my house. (I would NEVER have bought such an ugly color scheme.)

They didn't give me the option to say "Yes" or anything else, because I would have replied something vulgar, something derogatory regarding their intelligence, and then pointed out that I don't have a webcam so they couldn't possibly have recorded the video they claimed to have.

I'm honestly surprised that my old flip phone could even PLAY a video. But didn't matter, they got no money out of me and I have since updated the password on my e-mail account.
 

Pat Hartman

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But you actually don't know if these ads came from your dot spying on you, or various other sources.
Yes, I do. Because like Doc, I don't play the game. My stupid phone is used as a phone and occasionally a camera or flashlight (and it is not good at any of those things. I really miss my flip phone). I do not do email or even web browsing on it. I don't "like" things either.

Today when I search online for something like navy shoes, I get ads for days and then some even months later trying to sell me shoes. If I had searched for any of the things the children got for Christmas, I would have attributed the ads to the search engine selling my search history. But I did none of those things. The precursor to Alexa was listening and sending my conversations to the mother ship who was then selling the information.

So if your children googled for toys to get for christmas, you, as the father, will probably get an ad for these toys.
The grandchildren did not live with me so how would their internet traffic be linked to me? It wasn't coming from any IP address associated with me.

I studiously avoid "gifts" that will enable me to be tracked. I can't avoid having a cell phone since all the payphones have disappeared and if I'm out and need to phone home, I need a way to be able to do it but unlike way too many others, I am not one with my phone. I don't give the cell number to anyone unless I'm meeting them some place and we might need to connect when we're en route. People who know me, know better than to leave a message on my cell. If I don't answer, it isn't on my person and I will not be checking for messages because anyone I want to hear from would know enough to not leave one there.

I stopped using google as a search engine years ago and I always refused to use gmail because that is another invasion of my privacy. Google reads all incoming/outgoing mail and sells the information it gleans from your personal correspondence. Google is evil.

If the service is "free", YOU are the product and YOU have to give the magnanimous company that is "giving" you a service, permission to invade your privacy.
 

moke123

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I would have attributed the ads to the search engine selling my search history. But I did none of those things.
Doesn't really matter what search engine you use. Your being tracked by the one entity that has access to everything about you. Your ISP. Since Net neutrality went out the window your ISP is free to sell everything you do.
 

AccessBlaster

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Doesn't really matter what search engine you use. Your being tracked by the one entity that has access to everything about you. Your ISP. Since Net neutrality went out the window your ISP is free to sell everything you do.
Not to mention all the issues with the NSA.
 

Isaac

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Remember something. Big Tech gathers information on you in more ways than just "listening"/"spying".
So far this conversation appears limited to listening/spying, but your location data may have given you away too.
I think it's Australia right now is suing Google for (allegedly) tricking its customers into allowing apps of all kinds + Google itself with no specific app to constantly track your location.

So while you might remember saying "Flowers" to your spouse, you may have also gone to a Flower shop.

Just another thought to add.

@conception_native_0123
this
It would take me about 2 weeks (but only about 2 hours of actual effort) to set up a business name, attest to my intention to perform Collections type activity on legally owned paper, and sign up for an Accurint for Collections account.
Once this account is active, anyone who knows how to use the system (which takes maybe a day to get used to if you try), can type in extremely minimal information about someone and know the names, dates of birth, addresses, phone numbers, and social security numbers of all 25 living relatives (and dead ones), within 30 seconds.
And that's just one particular subscription company, they are a dime a dozen nowadays.

As I've said before, "Don't let your talent take you, where your character can't keep you"

Moke might drop hints slightly more often than [zero, which would be appropriate], but usually stops short of the appearance of actual impropriety.
Which is respectable, I suppose.
 

AccessBlaster

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You have a smart phone? You are being tracked by location pinging towers constantly. Sometimes it's a good thing other times not so much.
 

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