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alexa has been eavesdropping on you this whole time

by:LSDD     2020-01-08
Will you let a stranger tap and keep the recording in your house?
For most people, the answer is, \"Are you crazy?
\"However, this is basically what Amazon did to millions of us with the assistant Alexa in the microphone --
Equipped with Echo speakers.
It\'s not alone: tapping our home is the next frontier in Silicon Valley. Many smart-
The speaker owner didn\'t realize this, but Amazon kept a copy of everything it recorded after hearing Alexa\'s name.
Apple\'s Siri, along with Google\'s assistant, also keeps recordings by default to help train their AI.
So go along memory lane with me for an unwelcome walk.
I listened to my Alexa file for four years and found thousands of pieces of my life: pasta-
Timer requirements, random clips of joking guests and \"Downton manor.
There was even some sensitive conversation that somehow triggered Alexa\'s \"wake-up words\" to start recording, including my family discussing medication and a business deal with a friend.
You can listen to your own Alexa profile here.
Tell me what you found.
Even though we are bothered by prying apps on computers and phones, our home is where rubber is really on the road for privacy.
By thinking that a smart speaker or device is not enough to solve the problem, it is easy to rationalize the concerns.
But in increasingly connected homes, cheeky data grabs are going on, with few regulations, regulators, or the average --
Keep the feeling practice of checking.
Let\'s not repeat Facebook\'s mistakes in smart homes.
Any personal data collected can and will be used against us.
An obvious start: Alexa, stop recording us.
\"Bugging\" is a sensitive word for Amazon, and when we use the Alexa device, it has struggled with the consumer\'s confusion about when, how, and even who is listening to us.
But this problem is largely caused by itself.
Alexa recorded the sound heard each time the Echo speaker was activated.
It should only be recorded with the \"wake-up word-“Alexa! ” —
But anyone with these devices knows they will become rogue.
I counted dozens of times when my record didn\'t have a legitimate prompt. (
Amazon says it has increased the accuracy of \"Alexa\" as a wake-up word by 50% over the past year. )
What can you do to prevent Alexa from recording?
Amazon\'s answer goes straight beyond Facebook\'s script: \"Customers can control it,\" it says --
But the design of the product obviously can not meet our needs.
If you know where to view and remember to continue to return, you can manually delete the recording from the past.
You can\'t stop Amazon from making these recordings except for the microphone that muted the Echo (
Main purpose)
Or unplug the damn thing.
Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos owns The Washington Post, but I am equally critical of all technologies.
Amazon says it keeps our recordings to improve the product, not to sell it. (
This is also a line for Facebook. )
However, there are risks in personal data at any time.
Remember to have Alexa accidentally send a recording of a conversation to the family of a random contact?
We also saw that the judge issued an authorization order against Alexa\'s recording.
Recently, when Bloomberg found out that Amazon employees were listening to recordings to train their AI, Alexa\'s voice Archive made headlines.
Amazon acknowledges that some of its employees also have access to the location information of the recording device.
Saving our voice is not just a phenomenon of Amazon.
More private apple-
Other aspects of smart home will also keep a copy of the conversation with Siri.
Apple says voice data is given a \"random identifier, not personal \"--
But how anonymous is your recording?
I don\'t understand why Apple doesn\'t give us the ability to say no to store our recordings.
The unexpected leader on this issue is Google.
It\'s also used to record all the conversations with the assistant, but last year it quietly changed the default settings, and it won\'t record what it heard after prompting \"Hey Google.
\"But if you are one of the people who set up the assistant before, you may need to re-adjust your settings (check here)
\"Pause\" the recording.
I\'m not the only one who thinks keeping the recording is too close to bugging.
Last week, the Privacy Committee of the California Parliament proposed an-
Eavesdropping behavior, requiring the smart speaker manufacturer to obtain the customer\'s consent before storing the recording.
The Illinois Senate recently passed a bill on the same issue.
This is not a big extension either: many state laws provide for permission to record someone privately.
\"They gave us the wrong choice.
We can have these devices, enjoy their features, and how they can improve our lives without compromising our privacy, \"MP Jordan Cunningham (R)
Bill\'s sponsor told me.
\"Welcome to the era of surveillance capitalism.
\"Inspired by what I found in my Alexa Voice profile, I was wondering: what other activities in my smart home were recorded by tech companies?
I found enough personal data and even the secret East German police blushed.
Google knows that when I get up and have supper.
My Nest thermostat made by Google is 15-
About the climate in my house and the minute increments of whether someone is walking around (
Determined by the presence sensor used to trigger heat).
You can delete your account, but Nest will save the account indefinitely.
Then there is the light, which can show the time you sleep and can do almost anything else. My Philips Hue-
The connected lights are tracked every time they are turned on and off-
If you connect to its cloud service, the company will always save the data (
Need to operate them with Alexa or Assistant).
Every device now becomes data.
Collect equipment.
My Chamberlain MyQ Garage Opener kept the company-
Once again, indefinitely
Every time my door opens or closes the record.
By default, my Sonos speakers track albums, playlists, or stations I \'ve heard when I press play, pause, skip, or raise the volume.
At least they have only held on to the sound history for six months.
Now the craziest part is: after asking about the data practices of these companies, I learned that most companies are also sharing with Amazon what is happening in my home.
Our data is the entry price for devices that want to integrate with Alexa.
Not only is Amazon bugging
It\'s tracking everything that\'s happening in your home.
Amazon admitted that it collected data about third parties.
Even if you don\'t use Alexa to operate the Party device.
It says Alexa needs to know the \"state\" of your device to achieve an excellent smart home experience.
But recording this data is more useful to them than we are. (
A feature called \"Premonition\" allows you to know when the connected device is not in normal condition, such as a door that is not locked before going to bed, but I have never found it helpful. )
You can tell Amazon to delete everything it knows about your home, but you can\'t look at it or stop Amazon from continuing to collect it.
Google Assistant also collects data about the status of the connected device.
But the company says it doesn\'t seem to have much to stop the devices, but it doesn\'t store the history of the devices.
Apple operates home devices by collecting as little data as possible, which is the most admirable job.
Its HomeKit software won\'t report to Apple what\'s going on with your smart home.
Instead, compatible devices talk directly to the data-saved iPhone via encryption.
Why do technology companies want information from our home?
Sometimes they do it just because few people can stop them.
They hope it may be useful in the future.
Ask the company why, the answer is usually artificial intelligence.
\"Any saved data will be used to improve Siri,\" Apple said . \"
\"Alexa is always getting smarter and smarter, and it\'s only possible to train her through recording to better understand requests, provide more accurate responses and personalize the customer experience,\" said Beatrice Geoffrin . \" Alexa\'s director of Privacy said in a statement.
The recordings also help Alexa learn different accents and understand questions about recurring events such as the Olympics, she said.
Noah Goodman, associate professor of computer science and psychology at Stanford University, told me that Ai does need data to be smarter.
\"Technically, what they say is not unreasonable,\" Goodman said . \".
Natural language today
Processing systems need to re-run their algorithms on old data to learn.
Their progress may slow down if it is not easy to access data --
Unless computer scientists make their systems more efficient.
But then he took off the scientist\'s hat.
\"I agree with you as a person.
\"I don\'t have these speakers at home,\" Goodman said . \".
We want to benefit from AI, which can set a timer or save energy when we don\'t need to turn on the lights.
But that doesn\'t mean that we also open up our homes to tech companies as a profitable source of data to train their algorithms, tap into our lives, and possibly in the next major violations
This data should be ours.
What we lack is a way to understand the changes that data and artificial intelligence bring to our families.
Think of Downton manor: in those days, wealthy families can have human assistants who use their wisdom to observe and learn their habits and make their lives easier
Breakfast is always served at the specified time.
But residents know they have to be careful about what they let the staff see and hear. Fast-
Forward to today
We have not yet realized that there are not even more digital assistants in our family.
\"We don\'t think so about Alexa and Nest, but we should.
Read more technical advice and analysis from Geoffrey.
Fowler: you may pay with your privacy when the tax is ready for free, not all iPhones are the same.
These costs are lower and better for the Earth.
Hand over my data!
You should now change 15 default privacy settings.
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