It’s a universal modern-life experience to talk about something and immediately see an ad that seems like it must be a result of that conversation. Maybe you tell someone you’re planning a vacation and then start seeing advertisements for flights and hotels. Maybe you talk about how you want to take up running and find yourself bombarded by banners hawking sneakers. Perhaps you open up about how tough it is to be single and notice a series of sponsored posts about dating apps. When this happens, you might suspect your phone is “listening to your conversations.”

This belief is false and paranoid. We do not live in some tech dystopia in which our smartphones clandestinely use their mics to pick up every word we say and then feed us commercial messages based on them. The truth is simpler and not at all alarming: your phone only seems to be listening to you because it’s collecting data about every word you type, every website you visit, and, through GPS tracking, everywhere you go in the physical world.

The hysterical tinfoil-hat crowd urges you to turn off your phone whenever you’re going to discuss something private—like your political opinions, religious beliefs, or medical conditions—as if the phone is somehow going to “hear” them and tech companies will use that info against you. In reality, they already know all those things because they know what news sources you read, the contents of your emails, what WebMD pages you’ve visited, and how long you’ve spent at which church, synagogue, mosque, or ethical humanist center. So don’t even worry about it. It’s not like there are hacks every day, and there will be more and more as time progresses, and some amoral lunatic on the dark web will eventually see a transcript of every in-person conversation you’ve ever had. They’ll be too busy looking at a list of who you’ve spoken to, at what time, and for how many seconds.

Plus, you don’t need to use a phone or even a computer to have your privacy invaded. Did you know that credit-card companies can legally sell data about your purchases to third parties? It’s true! And I bet if you decide to try to evade that by shopping exclusively with paper money, you’ll probably be flagged by your bank as some kind of a weirdo who’s taking out way too much cash and must be up to something shady. Better to just surrender. Feel free to have an in-person conversation with your most privacy-conscious friend about how resistance is futile. Your iPhone or Android won’t be picking it up, and, honestly, like what you’re saying is so interesting. Be realistic, buddy. No one cares about you.

There are a lot of benefits to our advanced information technology, many of which come from the customization you get when companies know your preferences. You can’t change the world we live in, so the best thing you can do is relax and enjoy what’s good about the twenty-first century. And while it may be unsettling to confront the dirt corporations have on you, you can at least take solace in the fact that your voice-to-voice chats remain inviolable and, no matter how uncanny the ads you’re served seem, your phone is not eavesdropping on you.

Also, there’s been a software update, and your phone is now listening to your conversations.