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LiveOnNY Good-Hearted

Lauren was in her middle school gym jumping rope when suddenly, she went into cardiac arrest.

“I remember waking up in the ambulance,” she says.

Lauren has hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), a genetic condition that prevents the heart from pumping enough blood. This condition has no cure and while many people with HCM can live active lives with very few symptoms or even no symptoms at all, others live with chest pains, heart palpitations, and dizziness during exercise. It can also increase the risk of sudden cardiac arrest. In fact, HCM is the leading cause of sudden cardiac arrest in young athletes.

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Firefox

When I found out I was pregnant in October 2018, I had planned to keep the news a secret from family for a little while — but my phone seemed to have other ideas.

Within just a few hours of finding out the news, I was being bombarded with ads for baby gear, baby clothes and diapers on Facebook, Instagram and pretty much any other site I visited — be it my phone or on my computer.

Good thing my family wasn't looking over my shoulder while I was on my phone or my secret would have been ruined.

I'm certainly not alone in feeling like online ads can read your mind.

When I started asking around, it seemed like everyone had their own similar story: Brian Kelleher told me that when he and his wife met, they started getting ads for wedding rings and bridal shops within just a few weeks. Tech blogger Snezhina Piskov told me that she started getting ads for pocket projectors after discussing them in Messenger with her colleagues. Meanwhile Lauren Foley, a writer, told me she started getting ads for Happy Socks after seeing one of their shops when she got off the bus one day.

When online advertising seems to know us this well, it begs the question: are our phones listening to us?

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