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.
Logitech’s MX Keys [Amazon] is what it finally took to lure me away from mechanical keyboards. It’s a slim yet solidly-constructed full-size model that’s similar to and superior to Apple’s Magic Keyboard. It’s flat, minimalist, heavy, solid and low-profile, with large backlit keys typeset in something similar to Futura Light. The keys are square with […]
Microsoft is to shut shop on the high streets and malls of America, permanently closing its 116 retail stores. Only 10 were overseas; flagship stores in New York City, London, Sydney, and Redmond will be remain as showrooms that do not sell the products. There will be no layoffs, Microsoft reports. Alarm bells rang when […]
Traintrackr is a powered circuit board showing a map of the London Underground, lighting up in real time to show train positions on 333 stations on all 12 main lines. It connects to the tube’s API for live location data every second. The board is 400mm x 300mm and sells for £249. (There’s also the […]
There was already enough concern about the healthy state of our drinking water before COVID-19. And while there’s no evidence that the coronavirus has ever been detected in the water supply, the general sense of fear surrounding any type of contamination is obviously at a fever pitch everywhere. Contaminants like lead, chromium, arsenic, copper, mercury, […]
Allergies are brutal, affecting about 30 percent of all American adults. While many only saddle sufferers with mild irritations like coughing, sneezing, a runny nose or watering eyes, some symptoms can be even more intrusive and significantly more painful. Sinus pressure is one of those unholy side effects, causing a pain that can stretch from […]
“I probably use my chef’s knives more than any other tool in the kitchen.” – Bobby Flay, celebrity chef Cooking at home has taken on a whole new life in the wake of COVID-19, and even with restaurants slowly reopening across the US, there’s heavy reason to suspect that more of us preparing more meals […]