I'm sure you've all heard stories where people get ads sent to them based on stuff they've talked about on their phones. Maybe you've even had an experience like this yourself? Perhaps it is just a (very) smart algorithm, and it did, indeed, somehow predict that you needed that product.
Or is it?
Which is why I wanted to share one such story that happened today to one of the editors here at decentralize.today
I recently got myself a new pizza oven, an Ooni Koda 16 to be precise, and I shared this information via SchildiChat (Matrix) on an encrypted channel with my colleagues. One of them (not the editor in question) even jumped right in and ordered one for himself. No big deal, right?
The fun part is that all communication were on SchildiChat at my end, and Element on editor's end. Totally encrypted, me using a GrapheneOS based pixel phone with zero Google on it, and him using an iOS device, based on the latest firmware which blocks trackers and has the microphone indicator on.
I mention the microphone because we live close to each other and meet up a couple of times a week. And on one occasion, I was bringing him a pizza and yes, of course, it was made in my Ooni Koda 16.
Seems he loved the Pizza, and he thanked me on Threema. Just to point out again, there was no voice involved and we only use encrypted channels. I have sent pictures of my Ooni on both Matrix and Threema. He didn't Google or research the product (as he is not the sort to buy an oven when I live round the corner, hahahahaha, joke!) but just got on with things and took himself to bed that night (no doubt, dreaming of a pizza!)..
Today, he opens his G-mail account. Yes, he shouldn't have one, but it's a legacy issue isolated on a separate device but, no matter, as after all iOS blocks all trackers…plus we did not share this information on any Google product, and considering also that iOS does not allow apps to cross-spy on each other! And bang he gets an ad for the Ooni Koda 12! That's the smaller one, since as he has fewer people living with him then me, why bother with an ad for the same model I have.
The scariest part of this isn't that he uses G-mail, the scary part is that all communications were done on encrypted messaging and a small chat in real life. He's surrounded by 'only and private by design (LOL)' Apple products and me sharing a picture on GrapheneOS.
We started an EXPOSED! mini-series on Mondays recently that starts with the guy, who stands in front of your house and follows you around all day. It's worth reading, you'll understand...
The question remains why would he need an Ooni Koda, and why would he get a seller close to his location getting into his mailbox?
I have and will say it over and over again, your cellphone cannot be trusted, and even if I might sound like a fully paid up member of Tinfoil Hat Brigade, you are being tracked!