“TVs emit a tone during ad breaks that is inaudible to humans but that smartphones are listening for; now corporate entities can link the tv & phone as belonging to the same person”

@Gargron I'd highly recommend everyone getting rid of their cell phones and just going back to using a land line

@Gargron so, the same thing Spain's LPF was sued by the EU for?

@Gargron this was like a theoretical paper a few years ago now on detecting someone's phone by playing high pitched audio and listening to it through the microphone, knowing that different speakers and microphones would detect it differently.

This is a slightly easier to achieve version of that, but relies upon a great deal of extra work in tying a phone and a TV together by having them both playing/recording at the same time

@Gargron so this is linking to a paper back in 2015

that discussed it. Silverpush claim they used to do it, but they now don't have such a product.

Their website seems kinda unprofessional, tbh, so I doubt it's all that successful. Even in their PR docs, they're claiming you'd need to get a SDK on users' phones to listen for this ad. That seems pretty.. farfetched.

@Eden @Gargron facebook & instagram on iPhone both activate the microphone in the background for a split second. It's the cause of many people's issues with bluetooth audio breaking in Teslas. I observed the screen changing for a split second to the bluetooth microphone / "telephone" icon, then going away.

All issues subsided when we went into app settings for Facebook and Instagram and disabled its access to the microphone. Everyone I've talked to with this issue has reported success when following this procedure..... I think micro-sampling for tones is being actively done right now.

@feld @Gargron Starting point - This isn't anything to do with Facebook, it's to do with some conspiracy about TV Ads.

To talk about Facebook separately, there's no evidence that they are using audio to target adverts, and micro-sampling tones wouldn't provide data that could be used for advert interest groups/data selling.
There's a load of anecdotes they do, but nothing concrete. The bluetooth thing seems fairly explainable as a mic glitch, but doesn't go as far as "nefarious tracking"

@Eden @Gargron I'm not saying these two exact events are directly related, but positing that this type of behavior is probably in the wild or was at one point.

With all of the performance analysis and battery optimization work being done by FB and Insta to ensure their users can be Engaged For Maximum Time^TM I really doubt this was a glitch in their app that was unnoticed for over a year.
@Eden @Gargron *maybe* the issue at hand is that Facebook and Insta are doing that to bypass some iOS background process restriction by opening up the mic for a moment to cause some internal timer to reset so the worker process doesn't get killed.

Maybe. I'm skeptical Apple wouldn't have noticed though.

@feld @Gargron you've kinda got to consider what a moment, however long that is, could really get you in terms of value prop.

Facebook aren't working with traditional TV ads, AFAIK, so this type of thing isn't viable. Maybe they are doing it for device id, but there are better ways and if it's apple you've got less to go on.
And finally a moment isn't sufficient for text context for ad interests. So what benefit is there?

@Eden @feld @Gargron AT&T tried to sell this to my last marketing agency. They claimed to be the first to implement it with integrated systems. It was designed not for broadcast but to their ads in their DVR systems and crap like that. It required a mobile app to embed their toolkit in it as a listener.

I'm the end it wasn't a fit for our market, but it was very much a real thing. That was over a year ago. I'm sure others are in play now

@Gargron this is really old news tbh but good to share... stores follow us around the store with bluetooth beacons, ISPs sell traffic data, phone companies sell the tower data (showing movement), power companies sell "smart" meter data (showing activity and what is being used and when), Starbucks uses facial recognition tech to track customers purchases, the list goes on, and on, and on., etc., etc., etc...
@Gargron any data collected is sold these days, or used in some manner. (don't get me started on banks)

@Gargron Some time ago, an app called SoniControl (available on the play store) was released to protect users against that.

@Gargron I'm safe. I don't watch TV. Now if I could just ditch my Google Home Minis.

@Gargron I just don't watch broadcast TV with adverts on it.

Admittedly I have to deal with streaming sites, but it's more obvious that they're tracking you in the first place ...

@Gargron paging @oration to this thread to provide additional context..?

@gargron iunno, some of these claims sound a bit weird...

like "Your TV emits a tone during a commercial break, a tone that’s inaudible to you, but your phone is listening for it. Now they can link the TV and phone as belonging to the same person."

unless they can somehow figure out a way to make every TV emit a different tone (which would require messing with millions of broadcasts), there's really no way of identifying anything other than "this phone was in the same room as a TV tuned to this channel"…

@devurandom @Gargron wasn't the idea that you will start getting the same ad on the phone now?

@piggo @gargron that sounds more sensible, but a bad way to actually target advertising...

just because i saw an ad for a certain product on tv doesn't mean anything regarding my preferences for that brand.

@piggo @gargron i can see the document mentions a variation with a _computer_ emitting a noise instead of a tv, and for that, i can definitely see a usage though, since online ads are way more targeted and can be personalized.

@devurandom @gargron TV sets aren't just passive receivers anymore, most are computers hooked to the Internet even if you tell them not to be. So it can encode the TV's serial number, whatever other data they want, and talk back to the phone.

Solution is A) Airgap your TV, only receive HDMI from some other box, B) Don't use virus-loader Android, and hopefully Apple catches some of these on iOS.

@Gargron Can't believe no one made the terminator connection in this thread yet

@Gargron What the actual fuck?! Is this for real??? 🤯 😱 😑 🤦‍♂️

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