The default behavior of hotword, a new, black-box module in Chrome (and its free/open cousin, Chromium) causes it to silently switch on your computer's microphone and send whatever it hears to Google.
Google says that hotword isn't supposed to switch on unless users enable it, but developers have documented instances in which the module triggered the mic without user intervention.
Chromium, the free/open version of Chrome, also got the module as a default update. Google blamed the package maintainers for this, saying they should not have chosen a closed module for inclusion in their version.
Falkvinge countered Google’s explanations saying: “The default install will still wiretap your room without your consent, unless you opt out, and more importantly, know that you need to opt out, which is nowhere a reasonable requirement.” He says a hardware switch to disable the microphone and camera built into most computers is needed.
Voice search functions have become an accepted feature of modern smartphones, but their movement into the home through the smart TV, and now browser, have caused concerns over the possibility of being listened to within the home.
While most services require a user to opt in, privacy advocates have questioned whether their use, which requires sending voice recordings over the internet to company servers for processing, risks unintentionally exposing private conversations held within the home.
Google eavesdropping tool installed on computers without permission [Samuel Gibbs/The Guardian]
Gabriella Corley is a 9 year old with Type I diabetes who’s allergic to the insulin covered by her low-income parents’ healthcare; to live, she must take Sanofi’s proprietary Apidra brand insulin, which has increased in price by 1,123% since 1996, and which is only covered to 25% by her insurer’s Pharmacy Benefit Manager, CVS.
Since the earliest days of ecommerce, analysts have predicted that retailers would use their estimations of their customers’ willingness to pay to invisibly, instantaneously reprice their goods, offering different prices to each customer.
The Intercept publishes a previously-unseen set of Snowden docs detailing more than $500,000,000 worth of secret payments by the Japanese government to the NSA, in exchange for access to the NSA’s specialized surveillance capabilities, in likely contravention of Japanese privacy law (the secrecy of the program means that the legality was never debated, so no […]
Bamboo has lots of uses beyond just being panda food. Things like bikes, roads, scaffolding, and musical instruments are made from the fast-growing grass. But unless you are participating in a tropical-themed LARP, you probably wouldn’t want a shirt made from bamboo stalks. So why do bamboo bed sheets make any sense? Because yarn extracted from […]
If you want to work in tech, but don’t have any desire to code web apps to help businesses sell things to other business, you might want to consider a career in cybersecurity. Judging from the apparent complete infiltration of Russian hackers in American cyberspace, it seems fair to speculate that there’s a major shortage of […]
All moms are different. But all moms like getting flowers on Mother’s Day, and that’s a fact (not, however a fact we can document in any fashion.) Instead of getting chewed out for forgetting to call her on the second Sunday of May, you can take care of it ahead of time with Teleflora’s flower […]