(Tea Party 247) – A leading investor in the technology sector is warning that companies like Amazon and Google are employing smart speaker technology to spy on their customers.
In other news, the sky is blue and water is wet.
In a recent interview with Yahoo News, John Borthwick of Betaworks explained that the information recorded by devices is relayed back to host companies and cannot be described in any way other than “surveillance.”
“I would say that there’s two or three layers sort of problematic layers with these new smart speakers, smart earphones that are in market now,” he explained.
“And so the first is, from a consumer standpoint, user standpoint, is that these, these devices are being used for what’s — it’s hard to call it anything but surveillance,” Borthwick added.
Remember this the next time someone calls you paranoid for not wanting an Alexa.
“I personally believe that you, as a user and as somebody who likes technology, who wants to use technology, that you should have far more rights about your data usage than we have today,” Borthwick, a former executive of Time Warner and AOL, noted.
According to recent findings, Apple is monitoring audio through Siri and Amazon is doing so through Alexa, confirming suspicions that many have had for years about voice-controlled technology.
Alexa, are you spying on me?
Alexa: *coughs* No, of course not.
— Wrong, Brian (@leonidasmoderus) May 25, 2018
Some reports have also suggested that Google employees are listening in on users’ voice commands for Google Assistant, while Facebook could be doing the same with the Messenger app.
After such revelations, all companies claim to have either stopped this practice or that they will change the default settings so that users are automatically opted out of voice sample collection.
At the risk of being cliche, this technology is the very corporate embodiment of the “telescreen” in George Orwell’s 1984, which was used to monitor and bark commands at citizens of the fictional dystopia.
“The telescreen received and transmitted simultaneously. Any sound Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it; moreover, so long as he remained within the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as heard,” the novel describes.
Facebook recently launched their “Portal” smart speakers which has a camera that will follow users around the room.
— Facebook (@facebook) October 8, 2018
This is a technology that absolutely no one wanted Facebook to have.
No thanks, big brother
— ColdClaw22 (@ColdClaw22) October 8, 2018
From the company that sold your phone number to advertisers.
— Torch (@torchatlas) October 8, 2018
Researchers have also found flaws in the technology that would allow unwanted eavesdroppers to hack the devices.
Do you still have a smart speaker? If so, I’d highly recommend ditching it immediately.
Featured image credit: MethodShop.com – shorturl.at/dimp0