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most of these things can be turned into spy devices pretty easily
You have a phone?
Ever use internet without vpn?
If yes, then what's the point of putting an effort to protect against one more thing? Let 'em have it all. Overflow their servers with data and they just might crash! In this day and age we are all compromised by ease of access devices which are/can be effectively used to spy on you and there's very little you can do about it. A quote from Manhhunt: Unabomber is trying to get out of my lips here, but failing miserably.
If you don't compromise security for a phone or accessible internet access then kudos to you! But I neither have the resources nor the choice to act like a nomad or a monk and I think it's safe to say neither do most people.
You got one?
Nope, I don't see the reason to buy one. A guy in the office bought one used it for a week before he got bored and dumped it where no man shall ever go.
Because with phone / VPN it's my choice what happens: I can "limit the damage" or not as I chose without significantly compromising functionality.
But with these things, pretty much everything you say or do becomes public knowledge - even without the consent of your family and visitors.
Technically, in the UK at least, not warning a visitor that Alexa / Google is listening and recording can probably be a criminal offense: Is it illegal to record conversations? - DMA[^] and also almost certainly infringes the Human Rights (privacy) legislation of the EU...
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Bad command or file name. Bad, bad command! Sit! Stay! Staaaay...
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Because with phone / VPN it's my choice what happens
Or maybe that's what they want you to think?
On a side note given the information provided in the link is correct, it's scary how the big company has failed to adhere to law or simply just ignored it. I remember a post a few days ago, someone saying we (Software Developers) should start taking strict actions/precautions as doctors do with their oaths. Perhaps we could start penalizing the developers for their complete disregard for security atleast. I doubt individual developer can be held accountable for ever changing law and its clauses.
In other words we need an(other) interface between QA and Dev and Legal. The current manager, project lead, team lead, developer relationship has too many pitfalls.
You even come across people using mobiles in public places and spelling out their card number and 3-digit security number. People in general have a very poor perception of risk in today's world.
As an aside... round here we have a permit parking scheme. In the "good old days" permits were physical paper certificates displayed on the windscreen. The parking enforcement people walked around and if there was a car without a permit they ticketed them. Only data on illegally parked cars was collected, and then only on paper for transcription back at the office. Now the wardens go around with a mobile app, typing in the registration of EVERY car, which is then checked against a remote database (together with time and GPS data). Now details of every car in the area - legally parked or not - together with location and time is reported back to parking HQ. Think of the mischief that data could be used for... yet no-one, as far as I can tell, has so much as blinked at the change from paper permits to paperless. Similarly here in the UK, the government driven stampede to "smart" electricity and gas meters is going to be reporting back in real time (well, up to half-hourly) energy use about virtually every property in the land. Again, dead easy for a bad actor to identify abnormal energy usage and spot when normally-occupied homes are left empty. Yet another reason not to follow the herd into "smart" meters.
There's talk of a "digital divide" - those with access to high-tech, and those without. I'd suggest there's also a "privacy divide" - between those who spray every detail of their lives into the ether, neither knowing nor caring where it goes or is used for, and those who take a degree of control over their data and apply intelligence to manage exposure. (Though in the above example, you may not even realise your legally-parked car is going to be monitored on an hourly basis by the council's subcontractors... and the only option is not to park in a permit parking zone. )
I try to avoid voice control for several reasons, one I talk to myself (I know, I know), two I am paranoid about Big Brother listening (not really an issue) & when I do use it I have an overwhelming desire to say "Open the pod bay doors, Hal" and get disappointed by the reply (I really have to hack it to answer "I'm sorry, but I can't Dave")
I have Google assistant on my Xiaomi Mi tv box, and for that application, it is great. It switches the mic on immediately I enter a search field anywhere (haven't had time to try "Ok, Google" yet), and the search and voice recognition is great.
The box is only on once or twice a week, and Google Assist sure beats entering search terms using on-screen keypads.
"'Do what thou wilt...' is to bid Stars to shine, Vines to bear grapes, Water to seek its level; man is the only being in Nature that has striven to set himself at odds with himself."
The privacy part doesn't bother me... that was lost a long time ago when I started using the internet. I just don't find voice based interfaces the least bit appealing.
The Beer Prayer - Our lager, which art in barrels, hallowed be thy drink. Thy will be drunk, I will be drunk, at home as it is in the tavern. Give us this day our foamy head, and forgive us our spillage as we forgive those who spill against us. And lead us not to incarceration, but deliver us from hangovers. For thine is the beer, the bitter and the lager, for ever and ever. Barmen.
I refuse to have anything like that. Granted, I'm not just "probably", but guaranteed, to be ignorant of how many devices are actually listening without my knowledge. Two laptops in the office upstairs, a laptop downstairs, and my phone are the known suspects.
I am considering getting one as the convenience of just asking the TV to go to a channel etc is quite appealing but I'd have to change the recognition phrase, "Oy dipshit" sound about right and the wife would then refuse to use it.
And yes I do anthropomorphize (I hate US spell checkers) my computers.
Never underestimate the power of human stupidity -
I'm old. I know stuff - JSOP
SHUT THE FRONT DOOR!
My neighbor has an amazon talk box. Im gonna start double sound proofing my house in case it can here me through the walls. I know they can hear us from our house, cause they complained about the loud noises a couple weeks ago. We simply swapped our bed room to the other side of the house.
I have a credit card with a low limit that I use only for buying stuff from
Amazon. It was compromised once and I had to have the bank disable it. (There
were three charges from different locations on the US west coast, each for
I also have Alexa which somewhat concerns me, but I never did use Facebook.
I buy tech when I have a use case or need for them, so no; I have no need of some 'AI' assistant. there are a few times when I first got my new phone, it would respond to a question that i was asking my wife, i felt so creeped out, thought about hucking the damn thing into the pool, then I calmed down and figured out how to shut them off. Do not want.
But I'm still seeing ads for things I discuss with my wife or coworker, and I have never done a search on, and find that maddening.
side note, used to have a coworker that would ask cortana to add numbers for him, when working in excel, above all the office noise, i had to listen to: "Cortana, what is 234.54 + 129.5?" I wanted to beat him with his own keyboard. this was not once or twice, but all day.
The risk in digital assistants is that the companies who provide them have a profit motivation. If you ask google assistant to recommend a popular restaurant or a good PC, you can never be sure that advertising dollars don't influence the answer. And gods forbid you ask it for the politics news, because the response will be influenced in all sorts of conscious and unconscious ways.
A secondary risk is that digital assistants attempt to tailor their answer to what they perceive as your needs, based on previous queries. If you ask for Italian restaurants two or three times, it may stop offering you Thai, because the selection algorithm isn't very smart. Sometimes that's great, but sometimes you may want to change your pattern and go out for Thai. Now think what happens when you read just a few articles from FOX News. Now the digital assistant thinks you're a conservative.
I have Siri on my Apple devices. I am not too worried about Apple having information about me because I don't think my information will be shared; they "don't play well with others". I think Amazon would use all information to try to sell me more crap. I wouldn't have Google because world domination is only "the beginning" for them!