Facebook Launches NSA-Style Auto-Eavesdropping Feature

Tyler Durden's picture

"I hope there are people who love the feature and post more," says Facebook's product manager excitedly about the new feature they just added. We suspect people will not... As The WSJ reports, starting Wednesday, the app has the ability to recognize music and television shows playing in the vicinity of users. Read that again... 'in the vicinity of users'. In other words, Facebook is unveiling its own NSA-style eavesdropping feature (on you and all your friends). Don't worry though... even if users decide not to share what they’re hearing or watching, Facebook will hold onto the data in anonymous form, keeping tabs on how many users watched particular shows. Sound familiar?


We're listening...


As WSJ reports,

Facebook’s mobile app just grew a keen sense of hearing. Starting Wednesday, the app has the ability to recognize music and television shows playing in the vicinity of users.


The feature is designed to make it easier for users to share. When users begin to write a post, the Facebook app will offer to include information about music or shows playing in the background.




The audio-recognition feature works similar to the app Shazam, which also can identify music and television programming using the built-in microphones in mobile phones.


...Facebook says the app can recognize a live show within 15 seconds.




If enough users opt in, the new Feature could give Facebook enough data to start compiling television ratings. Even if users decide not to share what they’re hearing or watching, Facebook will hold onto the data in anonymous form, keeping tabs on how many users watched particular shows.


...By tapping on the show or song, users can post it to their news feeds and let other users know what Facebook has already figured out – what they’re seeing and hearing.

We are sure this will not be abused or hacked by the NSA... and we are sure there will be plenty of small digital print that users will understand... One wonders though, is there any way for non-Facebook users to know that they are being eavesdropped upon?

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g'kar's picture

People still use that barbarous relic?

Harbanger's picture

Who needs the NSA when every self centered douchebag on the planet tells you about and posts pictures of their entire meaningless life on facefuck.

john39's picture

soon the government corporate fascist merger will come fully into the light...

Looney's picture

There's a simple solution - don't use Facebook... and in other news... The first Yuan-Ruble transaction!

VTB (a major Russian bank) has completed the first non-dollar transaction between Russia and China in the amount of 20 million yuan (more than 110 million rubles).

My Putonghua (the official version of Mandarin) is a bit rusty, but the article says that the purpose of the transaction was making sure that either Ruble-denominated or Yuan-denominated transactions go through without a glitch.

Next week, a batch of Brazil’s Real-denominated transactions is scheduled for testing, and by the end of the first week of June, 2014, India’s and South Africa’s currencies will be test-run.


NoDebt's picture

Wait until Zuck lobbies Congress so it's illegal NOT to be on Facebook.  '1984' vid screens in every house.  We're almost there.

Looney's picture

We, as parents, should start scaring our chillen with Zuck-monster. ;-)


wee-weed up's picture

Yet FaceFuck stock was up big-time today.

God help us - the mind-numb sheeple are in control!

ebworthen's picture

Because they can sell their spy data to the highest bidder.

Most people under 35, and a number over, bleat quite a bit.  Nice wool though, Farcebook busy shearing.

Manthong's picture

Gee, I might be a bit worried now.

Are the Wicken incantations that I am compelled by the Matriarch to have playing in the sanctuary next to my computer desk of any concern to anyone?

Siniverisyys's picture

I believe this technology works by sending a highly filtered spectrographic hash to a server, which is in turn queries their database. It wouldn't be feasible for the server to accept petabytes of raw audio to process. I can't see audio being transmitted to their servers. It's impossible to retreive speech or identify sounds from a "spectrographic hash." If the hash doesn't resolve in their database, there is no means to determine what the sound is.

The potential problems are:

1. You take issue with Facebook being able to identify music or television shows you are enjoying. (This doesn't bother me one bit.)

2. They add identifying sounds to your environment. Like "audial fingerprints."

3. The Facebook app is exploited to send raw audio data to an attacker.



Confused's picture

Ok. So here is a question (please forgive if it has already been asked):


How can it determine the songs/TV shows around you, but NOT conversations? This sounds rather odd. It can filter out this information from background noise? Why would I presume that it is NOT recording conversations? 


Not disagreeing with what you said. And doesn't XBOX Kinect already do this? 



It would appear that well meaning, or interested computer guys/gals create something and it gets co-opted. Big companies just need to provide the sandbox for these folks to play in. Then they get to reap the benefits big time. 

Think for yourself's picture

I still use FB because I stupidly tagged myself early on either way. The NSA and similar agencies don't need to read my latest posts on my profile to know that I'm against the control system... that price has been paid upfront when I started to realize what was going on, polarized into the expected reactionary stance and painted it all over the web.

So I might as well use FB to keep spreading timely and insightful info... helping to open even only one brother/sister's eyes is worth it ten times over.


Siniverisyys's picture

The audio isn't analyzed per se. The audio is processed into datagrams that contain no useful information other than to be used as keys in a database transaction.

A hash is one way.

It would be similar to how many websites "hash" your password. If your favourite website is compromised, it's likely that the passwords are hashed and cannot be "reversed" into your real password.

These "spectrographic hashes" cannot be reversed back into real audio. It's a representation of the audio that's being sent to Facebook's server, not the audio itself. MAYBE some mathematical genius out there could glean some characteristics of the audio based on the hash (i.e. amplitude, frequency response, noise, etc.), but never the audio itself.

If the hashes do not exist in their database, they have absolutely no way of knowing what the sound is.

That said, there are still probably ways of exploiting the Facebook's system. Even then, it's wouldn't be more effective than attacking Android or iOS itself. I'd be a lot more concerned about my phone in general than the Facebook app in particular.

trx's picture

Funny how many dat files you'll find on your computer while searching...even thou you havend played a single audio file in days, and the systems sounds are disabled.

And the brilliance of it all is that a dat file (usually assosiated with auidio) doesen't neccecarely have to contain any type of sound/noise - these file may very well hold something completely different - only readable to the operators who collect them.

Come to think of it.....all kinds of noise can (in theory) be analyzed, and all kinds of important information extracted from this.  

AmCockerSpaniel's picture

Does the NSA spy on the government and their families too? Who all gets to look at all that

data? Can those with access sell mined info to others, so they can front run on Wall Street?

Just what does "Trust Me" mean on Wall Street?

Confused's picture

Who gets to look at all that data? Its an interesting question. 



Grande Tetons's picture

Same as LinkedIn. The Tylers have spotted a lot of shit just because of Ahole bankers' Linkedin profiles. 

HelluvaEngineer's picture

According to Facebook I don't exist.  Honestly, I did "delete" my profile after pasting links to numerous news topics with no response.  Sheeple will be sheeple.

Berspankme's picture

Please tell me again why anybody would sign up for this facefuck? And feed that cocksucking troll fucknuts Zuckerberg? Fuck you Facebook

IndicaTive's picture

I know a girl who'll think this is a great feature. She was a great fuck.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

Eavesdropping on background music and TV will soon evolve into eavesdropping on background conversations.

It is inevitable.

Grande Tetons's picture


This is truely scary shit, eh? I am no techie...and I am just working on confirmend suspicions here.  

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

The line was crossed a few years back when speech recognition software out of the consumer purchased software box evolved to the point where it would recognize almost 99% of speech perfectly with no 'training'.

Siri on the iPhone is another perfect example.

Grande Tetons's picture

I am going back to two tin cans and long fucking string. 

Thanks for the info, Cog. 

WillyGroper's picture

I couldn't get Siri to dial a number the other day & used a few expletives & called her a "Fucking Moron". 

Her reply was... I kid you not

"I don't know you, I don't know anything about you". ROFL

I pretty much keep the thing in airplane mode & only use when necessary anymore. 

Nothing but a voluntary ankle bracelet. 

HelluvaEngineer's picture

I used to work in keyword search.  And it wasn't speach to text.  It was phonetic.  13 years ago.  You would be terrified.

espirit's picture

My understanding of this is that it is an open microphone.

Recording All.

Enough said?  Use at your own risk.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

One should run porn movies in the background just to screw with Facebook and Nielson.  :)

espirit's picture

Got co-conspirators linked via GPS, vocal diatribes seal the case.

What next? An auto-execution meme?

Edit: I forgot we've got to be "chipped" first.

weburke's picture

"whats next" is already here, and I am still amazed at the total quiet about it. so, I will not be the first. or the second. 

Berspankme's picture

usually do anyways but that's another story

WillyGroper's picture

Perhaps Nixon in an endless loop on "Bohemien Grove being The Biggest Bunch of Goddamn Faggots". 

Or, O"Bunga stating "I'll Have More Leeway After The Election".

How about Pelosi, "We Have To Pass It To See What's In It". 

Even better, The Franklin Scandal.

The fodder is infinite.

cowdiddly's picture

Well I wonder what I would get by playing my old Led Zepplin album backwards while watching Duck Dynasty.

Fuck, Zuck what a piece of work.

Mr. Magoo's picture


I need more duct tape


espirit's picture

Before I talk to you, all phones must be placed in the Faraday Cage.

Cognitive Dissonance's picture

How about if I put myself in the cage and leave all electronic devices outside. Hopefully it will stop the alien mind probes as well.

<Tinfoil bitches.>

Harbanger's picture

Eavesdropping which is a result of technology is a double edged sword.  I love double edged swords.

nmewn's picture

Yes it is and so do I.

Its not what they think they know, its what you allow them to think they know...but they really don't.

A lot like cell phone tracking or credit cards or whatever, its a wonderful thing (they think). But at the end of the day, when the phone or card winds up in Tampa and I'm in NYC, what have they tracked? ;-)

Harbanger's picture

:) They're callous and believe they're invincible so they don't see the noose they made for themselves.  If they're fortunate, they will get a trial before they're hung.

kchrisc's picture

Here's one for you. Several years ago I accidently saved my Google/YouTube credentials in Firefox on a PC I service. The office pukes using that computer were young and mostly Latino--Mexican, PR, etc and ghetto. Now they watch YouTube ALL day and that history becomes associated with my account.

When I realized the mistake I also realized the benefit, so I started doing it routinely to all of the computers that I am responsible for.

I have office pukes that are all shades of Latino, gay, old, young, white trash, ghetto, doctors...

Sometimes I go thru my YouTube history and just laugh. Next to a Sandy Hoax video is a Gangnam Style video, then a video on Boston Boom, then a gangsta rap video. It's hilarious.

And can you imagine the search history they have associated with me?! LOL

miro1a's picture

My kids share the computer/youtube so they'll determine I'm an zerohedge reading anarchist with an affinity for my little pony and funny cats

NickVegas's picture

Sir, my hats off to you. You have opened my mind, and for that I am grateful. You are right, everyone should allow their accounts to be open sourced to everyone. It breaks the system fundamentally. You are the founder a new brand tactic in the information wars. You should name it, give it a name, and it will live.

kchrisc's picture

I don't know about other accounts, but this works for me because I have no credit cards or other sensitive stuff associated with it.

But I can assure you, the DC US' stasi are going to be confused when they investigate my YouTube and search history--Rothbard, Miley Cyrus, Liberty, Jay-Z...

Gangnam style!!!

Mesquite's picture

The mobile app for all this: