Google got me! How?


I have been using GS290 preloaded with /e/ for a few months and several times the following happened to me:
I have a second phone - Huawei phone which stays at all times at home and watch youtube on it.
So i went outside with friends, with only my GS290 phone, a few times in the past few months and everytime i come home and open youtube on the Huawei phone (not loggged in, i do not have a Google account even) i see adds relevant to what we spoke about with my friends.
I do not use any facebook or google apps on my /e/ phone. All foss apps with 0 trackers! I never connect to Wi fi. I have vpn at all times on mobile data. All wifi scanning and BT scanning and etc is turned off. Very privacy hardened. Micro g is disabled. I never discuss the subjects seen in ads in writting.
Ok, so i thought maybe google knows its me from my friends phones, doing voice recognition or something like that.
But today i spoke with my father on the GS290 about changing car tires and my father has a dumb phone (no internet). The next thing i see on youtube on the Huawei phone is … tire ads…
So the problem is obviously not in Huawei because i do no ttake it outside when meeting with friends.
The problem is obviously not in my friends phones… my father has dumb phone… so how can google know then? The only options seems to be… my phone… but how?
Is there any google code left in GS 290? Maybe the google tracker in micro g? Even though it is disabled.
Is there an app i can install to analyze traffic to see if there is google anywhere?
Any opinions ? Thank you.

The subjects i discussed with friends and then saw on youtube were:

  1. KFC ads (right after i came home from kfc)
  2. Whiskey (i discussed whiskey tete-a-tete, not on the phone but phones were nearby)
  3. Seeing the future in hands. (i was on a date, again face to face, no phones used)
  4. Car tires (see above)
  5. Learning english (at a restaurant with friends…)
  6. Masters degree (verbal jokes, again not on the phone but face to face talking)

Regain your privacy! Adopt /e/ the unGoogled mobile OS and online servicesphone


You can start from here

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This is quite worrisome indeed. I’m not quite an expert on the matter but something made my spider sense tingles : “I have vpn at all times on mobile data”.

VPN often sell themselves as paragons of privacy… but a lot of them, especially the free ones, actually sell your data. So the very first thing I’d try is disabling the VPN (I’d dare say uninstall it for good measure, if you really want a surefire test), and do something akin to the video @nottolino linked : speaking to the phone like “Geez I’d love to buy this or that”. Preferably with no other unknown/friend smartphone around. And see if the black magic still happens.

Besides that not really sure what would allow it if you’re sure you don’t have any application linked to a google/facebook account.

I’ll speculate since it’s above my knowledge on the matter but maybe looking in your phone options > Privacy > Permission manager > Microphone and check for allowed ones (“All the time” for sure, and I’m wondering about “Only while in Use” if an application is launched but the phone locked), if any looks suspicious.

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Permissions are all ok and i use a reputable vpn - paid. Analyzing the situation i think that it is not from my phone. When i spoke with my friends now about this they said they spoke between themselves about car tires when i left. So apparantly Google does voice recognition from their phones… and most of them have iphones. So iphone shares my voice pattern with Google apparently. I have no other explanaition. And this happens only with those individual friends. When i meet with other people this does not happen. Maybe their phones are not configured correctly for privacy. There should be nothing on my phone that records my voice.
The other reason could be my MAC address. My GS290 does not support MAC randomization in the wifi probes so probably Google fingeerprinted me and my friends phones see that i am near.

Have you had a thought its just a coincidence and since you are more interested in privacy you are more aware of the kind of ads you are presented so you make connections where its just coincidence?

There have been quite a few articles debunking what you experience since a) there has not been any proof of constant listening without consent (although its possible to an extend) and b) its a quite known phenomena in psychology.


You are probably right. Keep in mind though that Google, Siri, Alexa and others need to listen all the time waiting for the “Hey Alexa, Hey Siri” word. So in fact they do listen all the time and wait to capture the right word to give you an answer.

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I just went into microphone settings on my two e phones. On telephone, it says microphone never accessed, really, I didnt use a piece of string!

So take some of the info your phone gives you with a pinch of salt.


Well, confused…that makes two of us!

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