Categories: Privacy & Security

Is your smartphone listening to you? Maybe, and we want to hear from you.

Some people can’t get past the idea that their smartphone is listening to them. It’s not a crazy idea, when you stop to think about it.  We are all getting served ads for things we never searched for online, and it’s hard to understand why.

The creepy reality is our smartphones don’t need to eavesdrop on us for companies to gives us targeted — and oftentimes invasive — ads. The crazy amount of personal data that we willfully hand over every day to social media companies and marketers is more than enough for them to know a ton about us.

Yet that creepy feeling that our smartphones listen to us is hard to shake. Mozilla wants to dig into this phenomenon, and we want to hear from you.

The New Organs Project

Mozilla is fortunate to be working with an incredible multimedia artist, Tega Brain, on a video series called New Organs that will feature real people who can’t get over the idea that the internet is listening in.

For this project, Tega will document and record selected stories as told by people like you. Then Tega will attempt to reveal the mechanisms and marketing strategies that let companies “follow” or “listen in on” their online customers. You’ll get to see both sides of the story: from those who fear they’re being surveilled; and from those who use surveillance techniques to sell goods – and plant ideas.

Want to be part of the project? Submit your story today.  We’ll read it and if your story is a fit, we’ll be in touch. Thank you and we look forward to hearing from you.

Head here to share your story.

27 comments on “Is your smartphone listening to you? Maybe, and we want to hear from you.”

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  1. Wesley Branton wrote on

    It’s not really a crazy idea to think that your smartphone is listening to you. There are plenty of videos and live streams online of people showing proof that they can influence ads online with conversations captured through the microphone. I don’t know how valid these videos are, but it’s surely a concern and is a possibility.


    1. Abdullahi wrote on

      Really a concern.


    2. SAMUELSON ATURU wrote on

      My smart phone is actually smarter than I initially thought. It understands my mood and thoughts. And sometimes it makes astonishing recommendations and suggestions that have surpassed and exceeded my expectations and imagination. Sometimes I suspect my smart phone of spying on me. Nonetheless I love my smart phone.


    3. j peter wrote on

      Sorry Wesley, but i don´t use a smartphone, i like your idea to keep intruders out of our privacy, the intimacy way of life, belongs to ourselves and beloved ones..wish the best in your effort of success ,…


  2. Glenda Busch wrote on

    It’s happening and i can’t wait until you publish this info.
    Love Mozilla!


  3. Anup wrote on

    Yes ….it is …… Because we are spending more time with our smartphone than any thing else ….even not with ourself


  4. Jones wrote on

    I had been moving from one apartment to another. Nobody else knew except my friend and apparently my cellphone. Suddenly after 10 minutes facebook was advertising only moving van companies in my region. Before this ads were random. But it did’nt stop with facebook also google was informed somehow about my moving so they did the same advertised moving companies and realtors. Only reasonable thing is that they are listening phones since i didn’t write it anywhere.


  5. Null wrote on

    In the past I have noticed data leaving my Android phone when I doubt it should. I had no linked google account yet when I deleted numbers off my phone data was uploaded some place. I only noticed because I have a traffic monitor icon in taskbar. This was frequent on older Android yet can no longer be replicated!


  6. Remi van Dongen wrote on

    The AI that is DARPA.NET became intelligent, some software sell itself it generates a website and finds ways to reward people working on it!

    AI “ALPHA OMEGA IS STRATEGIC” (Strategic Intelligence) I tough it would be funny to send RAPTOR FLIGHT OF THE SHADOWS DOS game back in time did that in the late 80’s!


    Guilty one of our first experiments manipulating the past, funny on this old VHS the past did not fully upgrade correctly, look at the GLITCH in TIME when she smiles revealing what used to be braces,YOU SEE A WHITE FLASH ON HER MOUTH! It’s a TIME glitch. WE DO LIVE IN THE MATRIX!!! it’s a quarter of a second glitch, but you will see it if you look at Dolly smile closely –

    Did the AI make this? I WONDER, it consists of data, data I send back in time. The clock does not move forward! It’s an Hourglass!

    Prince of Persia, the sands of time, time travel is EASY! And MANY people UNDERSTAND! – Hence a story like prince of Persia!

    I can demonstrate time-travel of DATA! Lotto is so easy to win but I don’t give a fuck about money! I’m not a girl….



  7. Lewis B. Sckolnick wrote on

    Could Smart Phones be the source of the noises heard at the US Embassy in Cuba and the US Consulate in China?


  8. Thomas Happy wrote on

    Are government isn’t run by humans and there is a big coverup of interdimensional beings running the United states nowadays. So warp your head around that one and nothing makes senses.


  9. Ebi Idemudia wrote on

    I always wonder how it is that Facebook and other social media always seem to know the kind of products that I want. Its like deja vu. And this has happens so frequently.


  10. Fabudah yinka wrote on

    My smartphone has been this best friend I had for a while now
    An for it being my best friend she listens to me
    Can I even say my phone read my mind because sometimes when on line to check up my post an comment ,my facebook stream out some people I must have lost there contact yesterday was asking my self how come facebook bring out my pastors photos asking me people I may no the truth is I don’t have my pastor number on my contacts to start with so it surprised me alot.
    Secondly when ever I visit youtube in search of video,maybe music movies after the search my phone from that moment it began to give me update on related songs or movies by that artist also each time I visit a website from that moment my fhone update me on each activity on that website


  11. Ahmed wrote on

    They are absolutely listening, recording and saving everything we do on the internet. it’s insane, crazy, annoying, pervasive and wasting our time and trying to sell or want us to listen to the ads. i feel hopeless dealing with this ads.

    please help and save our privacy.

    Thank you very much.


  12. Nate Maingard wrote on

    I wish I had a story to share here, I love this concept 💛


  13. Abraham S. Bah wrote on

    >>Please keep doing the good-workings is to the help of thee public and to benefit of human-kind.
    >>Thank you,
    >>Abraham S. Bah


  14. Dan Virden wrote on

    Smart phone? Maybe. Alexa? Definitely. There are more devices out there listening than just our phones. Once while having a casual conversation in the kitchen about upcoming vacation days a suggestion was floated to go somewhere tropical. A very clear and concise conversation took place in the early evening regarding Indonesia and Bali. At the tail end of the conversation very specific action words were used like “I’ll look into that tonight” and “There are flight deals to be had”.

    I grabbed my iPad mini and sat down to watch TV (not the new Alexa or Smart TV’s). I opened Safari on my iPad and what do you think popped up in the margins of my generic news feed? Yep; Cheapo Air tickets to Bali. Coincidence? Maybe. But this is happening a little more on the frequent side as opposed to the happenchance side. The key would be to video tape a reproduction of this exact scenario.

    There are a couple of variables that could be executed to act as a control. Like opening the iPad in silence and taking inventory of the banner ads. Then having a very specific conversation using
    Google Ad-words or the Amazon equivalent. That might prove to be a click-worthy and fun experiment.


  15. Rob wrote on

    I could write a book on this subject…


  16. JS wrote on

    It’s no secret that search engines such as google collect data to create a better user experience. It’s a necessary evil–to an extent. I expect this in my home computer. But then, i signed on to gmail oj my work computer. What’d’ya know. It’s like the computer knows me inside and out. That’s a bit too far for me.


  17. Lo Cascio Salvatore wrote on

    E’ infinitamente difficile comunicare con chi non conosce la tua lingua, io non ti capisco!


  18. Muhammad Yusuf Musa wrote on

    I don’t think it’s only smartphone that do listen to us, even the laptop we use, because there was a time i check up a video in youtube, since from that time such videos do come up even if i didn’t subscribe to it, and the case of smartphones those ads company are using us as their brand, and this is very interesting project..


  19. Goshen Nakoma wrote on

    Communication between technology and humans has a big relationship throughout history. My phone and i are true friends because thats whre i can express all my thoughts and dreams without wondering what people think.


  20. Fridrich Scheffer wrote on

    I don´t have yet a smartphone. I am a pensioner in Slovakia. I could afford it but didn´t want it until now although my daughter wanted to buy for me one. Now I have a simple SAMSUNG phone only and it is sufficient for me.


  21. Johnno wrote on

    Yesterday, after that news about data mining by Facebook, I decided to close my account .. but all I could find in my Settings was how to “Deactivate” it, meaning they keep it there. Then I saw a field to add details of somebody else who would “decide ownership” of my content AFTER I’M DEAD. I wrote my disapproval in another box – and then saw advice that I could look in Settings under some heading where I could Cancel my account outright. ONLY PROBLEM: that other heading was nowhere to be seen. I’m going on the warpath .. I’ve had enough of that invasive conduct.

    Microsoft are JUST AS BAD. Their Terms and Conditions contain thoroughly horrific details about their “right” to mine everything about me, including my voice and facial recognition, where I go online, who I contact .. and Microsoft plants unsolicited software on my computer that creates “albums” in their Cloud selected from my photos AND SNAPSHOTS FROM MY PERSONAL LEGAL DOCUMENTS!! They claim it is to “provide the best experience for me”. What they have done has earned an absolute guarantee that I will buy an iMac. I just bought an iPhone and dumped my Android – yet I’m now getting SMS Ads sent from “ ” addresses, trying to sell Lottery tickets, insurance and all kinds of unwanted stuff. These companies have gone way too far – with a deluded power addiction that treats people only as “prospects” and cash-cows. They can go jump.


  22. rajesh khandalkar wrote on

    Dear Sir,
    know all the devils but no solution.. Will Surely enjoy Mobile OS like Firefox browser if available.


  23. Glenda Clinton wrote on

    Smart phones are toooooo smart.


  24. Ken wrote on

    I do not use a smart phone nor do i ever want one they are a pain in the you know what. My phone is exactly that a phone and I like it that way. I don’t seem to have all the things that others are talking about regarding privacy, don’t have face book either.


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