A bombshell report reveals Cox Media Group (CMG) may have quietly built an advertising empire around harvesting private conversations. Leveraging always-listening devices, CMG’s “Active Listening” initiative claims to transform casual chatter into targeted ad campaigns. Critics call it an egregious invasion cloaked in legal fine print.
CMG’s brazen concept relies on constant speech analysis via AI “listening posts” – quite possibly millions of smartphones. Once the system flags relevant keywords, ads tailored to overheard discussions swarm the very same users through personalized channels.
So complain about appliance issues, and spontaneously see promotions for repair services. Grumble about mortgage rates, and watch lenders vie for business across your feeds. Complain about a vacation need, get bombarded with travel deals.
The privacy violations seem endless, yet CMG asserted full compliance thanks to broad TOS permissions users unwittingly sign away. And CMG is no small player – as part of Apollo Global Management and Cox Enterprises, its media and infrastructure tentacles run deep across industries.
When cybersecurity outlet 404 Media questioned Active Listening, CMG vanished all references from its sites. Meanwhile its big tech partners like Amazon, Microsoft and Google remain silent over potential involvement. And all inquiries to CMG itself now go unanswered.
Online sentiment grows increasingly suspicious over how far inside our lives CMG reached under an ethical cloaking device. Class action lawsuits now churn over related CMG initiatives accused of even shadier practices. Despite the paper thin legal grounds CMG stands upon, the reality of highly personal surveillance at this scale leaves consumers deeply unsettled.
The startling revelations underscore the unchecked power of media giants to repurpose our own voices against us. Companies like CMG already pervade everyday infrastructure most can’t avoid. Are Orwellian advertising ploys based on harvesting private words a line too far? Perhaps regulators or legislators will soon have to decide.