Media Company Boasts About ‘Active Listening’ Technology to Snoop on You Through Your Phone

Media giant Cox Media Group has come under scrutiny after boasting about its “Active Listening” technology, which allegedly enables marketers to eavesdrop on conversations through smartphones and other devices.

Fast Company reports that Cox Media Group (CMG) claimed in a since-deleted post to have developed a technology that can listen to customers through embedded microphones in smartphones, smart TVs, and other devices. This technology, named “Active Listening,” is designed to gather data about customers and serve them targeted ads, as initially reported by 404 Media.

In a document written by CMG’s VP of digital strategy, the company states, “Yes, our phones are listening to us,” and CMG boasts of its technical capabilities to leverage this for business advantage. This claim contradicts the common consensus in the tech community, which generally denies such possibilities. Notably, Facebook had to publicly refute similar allegations previously.

“Active Listening” is claimed to be legal because customers supposedly consent to phone listening through the terms of service when purchasing a new phone. The technology purportedly creates customer profiles from what it hears, arguing that this benefits both consumers and businesses by reducing irrelevant ads and targeting potential customers more effectively.

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