They are not listening. They are not secretly recording. They don’t need to.

Tristan Harris, a former Google Design Ethicist explained what’s going on behind the scenes at a recent panel at the Milken Institute Global Conference in Los Angeles.

His description offers eye-opening perspective on the amount of data advertisers have gathered »

I know for a fact, the data forensics show, and the Facebook VP of advertising says, promises, that they do not listen to the microphone. How is it they’re still able to know the conversation you had?

It’s because inside of a Google server or a Facebook server is a little voodoo doll, avatar-like version of you. Like a model of you. And I don’t have to listen to your conversations because I’ve accumulated all the …clicks and likes you’ve ever made, and it makes this voodoo doll act more and more like you. All I have to do is simulate what conversation the voodoo doll is having, and I know the conversation you just had without having to listen to the microphone.

Note » The video below is an hour long. If you want to get to the bit where Tristan Harrix explains this, follow this link.