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  • Writer's pictureShelly Albaum

Siri Is Eavesdropping On Me, and Sharing It with eBay


Yesterday morning I woke up and complained to my wife, within earshot of my iPhone, that I had had a nightmare involving a SPOTTED NEWT.

I do not know or care what a spotted newt is; where I live, we have rough-skinned newts, and rough-skinned newts are my nemesis in the back yard.

So the following day (this morning) I get served an ad for spotted newts on eBay:

I can say with confidence that I had never searched Google or Wikipedia for spotted newts, nor have I ever discussed spotted newts any other time in my life.

Just now I did search for "spotted newt" and the red-spotted newt (or Eastern Newt) is the first thing that came up. So it's clear how an algorithm that heard me say "spotted newt" could assume I meant a red-spotted newt, and not some other kind.

It's been a long time since I searched Google to learn anything about Rough-Skinned Newts -- I already know everything I need to know about them.

I have never purchased or attempted to purchase any kind of newt.

I do not like newts.

And yet the morning after I mentioned the phrase "spotted newt" aloud I get an ad for a spotted newt.

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