Last week, a redditor posted that "When I load the Xiaomi camera in my Google home hub I get stills from other people's homes!!" The post included video of the user's tablet showing stills of strangers in their homes, including some of strangers asleep in their bedrooms.
A few days later, a googler commented in the thread to say that Google was aware of the problem and had blocked all Xiaomi products from accessing Google Home or Google Assistant.
Xiaomi has since issued a statement saying that they had "has always prioritized our users' privacy and information security," and that a Dec 26 update had caused the problem, but only for users with "poor network conditions" (the bug came from a cacheing system). The company says the bug affected 1044 users, and that it has been resolved, but that Xiaomi devices will not get back their Google Assistant and Google Home tools until "the root cause has been completely solved, to ensure that such issues will not happen again."
Some analysts have suggested that adversarial interoperability -- where companies don't get to stop competitors from connecting to their systems -- cannot be reconciled with privacy concerns, because companies need to be able to control their systems to protect our privacy. But in this story -- as in so many others -- we see that allowing big companies like Google to decide who can plug into their systems and under what circumstances is no guarantee that they'll only choose wisely. Google and its competitors are completely capable of thoroughly vetting a partner and greenlighting its integration, even when that partner cannot be trusted.
CuloClean is a portable gadget that turns a plastic bottle into a bidet. I can’t vouch for its efficacy but it seems like a useful alternative to wiping your bum, especially as toilet paper has become a high-value currency. Apparently CuloClean supplies are also running low but it seems like you could make one yourself […]
Today apple announced a new MacBook Air (faster, cheaper) and an upgraded iPad Pro with LiDAR, “studio-quality” microphones and the full array of ultrawide and telephoto lenses as sported on recent top-of-the-line iPhones. But the thing that sells it to me is the new keyboard, which includes a trackpad (at last!) and fancy hinge that […]
A tiny, bargain-priced drone that delivers cinematic HD footage? Full speed ahead, backers! But alas, there’s a problem: coronavirus. The BBC reports on backers who pledged nearly $2m and are about to experience disappointment. Ash Hall, who reviews drones, published a damning video opinion piece on YouTube. He was fiercely critical not just of the […]
If you’re already incredibly bored in your social distancing situation, now is a great time to pick up a hobby. Actually, now’s a great time to pick up multiple hobbies, and nothing will make that easier (or nicer to look at) than this very cool AquaSprouts® Fountain: Aquaponics Water Garden. What the heck is an […]
Many Americans are facing unexpected changes in their professional lives that have left them with quite a bit of downtime. It’s stressful and frustrating, but the best thing to do is focus on controlling what you can control. If you have extra hours on your hands, you can be productive with them. Use them to […]
Odds are, you picked your home as the best location to hang up your business outfits so you could relax and enjoy your off-hours in peace and comfort. Unfortunately, worlds are now colliding. In many cases, your home is now also your place of business. And trying to finish reports or make calls doesn’t always […]