Friday, July 19, 2019

How Private are Private Conversations?

Ever wonder if your computer is listening to what you say? It just might be.

A little while ago I was about to go outside to mulch the garden with grass clippings. But before I did, I told Ralph I was going to find a dust mask to wear. Last night, I had trouble breathing because I didn't wear a dust mask yesterday while raking and I didn't want to experience that feeling again.

I knew we had dust masks somewhere in the house but wasn't sure where so Ralph and I discussed possible spots.

Long story short, I found the mask, did my mulching and went for a swim. When I was done, I came inside and checked Facebook. And what did I see?

You guessed it! An ad for dust masks.

Coincidence? I think not! I don't have Alexa or Siri or any other electronic helper but what I do have is a microphone on my laptop. It seemed obvious to me that my conversations were being overheard.

Solution? Turn off the computer's microphone. Go to SETTINGS. Type in MICROPHONE PRIVACY SETTINGS. Turn OFF microphone. It's that easy.

Seriously, I don't really mind having ads targeted to my shopping needs but the whole overhearing my private, personal conversation bit in order to decipher my purchase interests is just a little too much BIG BROTHER for me.

If you feel the same, try disconnecting your microphone too. The switch works both ways - ON and OFF.