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Smartphones and TVs are ‘actively’ listening to us

Smartphones and TVs are ‘actively’ listening to us

For the first time a marketing company admits to accessing the microphones of phones and TVs and listening to users’ conversations: it is a partner of Google, Amazon, Microsoft and Meta

Since when did he do that? smart phone It has entered our lives and we can no longer do without it. Sooner or later we will all have the impression that “The phone is listening to us“Maybe we talked to a friend and relative of A ThemeAnd service Oh one project specific and then, without having to search for anything on Google or other search engines, We’ve seen ads online In connection with this product or service.


For many years, the idea that phones could spy on us for advertising purposes was dismissed as just another idea Fake news, as credible as the one about alligators in New York sewers. However, news is now circulating that seems to at least partially confirm this theory and which certainly deserves further investigation and analysis. Many explanations.

If what was leaked in the past few hours turns out to be true, even partially, then it actually opens the door to questions Giant Pandora’s Box.

Active listening for local CMG solutions

It all starts from an article published by the site Web 404 Mediawhich introduced the world to something that was already there for everyone to see: as of November 2023, the online marketing company CMG Local SolutionsPay“on his website his service”Active listening“(Active listening) is for those who want to advertise online.

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CMG Local Solutions, an American Publishing Group company Cox Media Groupclearly states that it uses intercepted conversations with microphones smart phone H Smart TV To discover the business tastes of users.

It uses technology developed by CMGAmnesty International To understand when the user begins a commercially interesting speech, and only in this case, activate the recording with the device’s microphone to listen to “Pre-purchase conversations“, any “conversations”Advance purchase.

CGM states, just as clearly, that it can use this data to dramatically improve performance Performance of advertising campaigns Its customers, finally, are assured that this method Completely legal.


In fact, the CGM thesis is just that It is the user himself who gives consent To listen actively every time you install an app and give it permission to access data collected from your phone or TV’s microphone, camera, and other components.

How is active listening used?

CMG Local Solutions says it also uses data collected from the devices’ microphone Target ads accurately and effectively Which are then displayed on broadcast TV, podcast apps, classic website banners, pop-ups, social networks and search engines like Google and Bing.

The company then claims to be an authorized partner for Google, Microsoft, dead (Facebook, in particular) e Amazon And the ability to limit ad campaigns to a radius of up to 10 miles, i.e. approx 16 kmActivate microphones only in that area that interests the customer.

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CGM does not make any direct reference on its website to markets outside of it United StateSo we don’t know if this technology is also used in advertising campaigns Europe.

Is this all true?

This information will follow soon Outbreak of the condition in the United States of Americahave been removed from the CMG Local Solutions website, but can still be viewed by accessing the Internet cache.

However, the company responded to specific questions from the magazine Ars Technica making sure Basically a big part of it, saying that her marketing tools include “Third-party products based on data sets collected by users from social media and other applications and then aggregated and resold to data managers“.


Then he added, “Audio advertising data and other data is collected by these platforms and devices under the terms and conditions provided by these applications and accepted by their users, and can then be sold to third-party companies and converted into anonymized information for advertisers. This anonymized data is then resold by various advertising companies“.

Meanwhile, the first comments have already arrived from the advertising circles in which CMG is a partner. AmazonFor example, he said that active listening is impossible on echo devices, whereas… Google He said that Android always displays a message in the notification bar when an app accesses the microphone (which is true, but only starting from Android 12).

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Microsoft H deadNo statement has been issued yet in this regard.