Is Your Trash Listening To You? I.O.T.

A Unique Video from a Truther in Southern California by Mitch Santell

The internet of things is a real thing and while it is fun to be connected, has it gone too far?

Technology is not a neutral tool. There are thousands of engineers working behind the scenes to make their company’s products persuasive and to keep users coming back.

Millennials check their phone about 150 times a day, according to Harris. People are always refreshing their social media accounts to see how many new likes their posts received. It’s a reward system similar to what happens when we pull a slot machine lever. “Even when we’re aware that we’re being manipulated, it doesn’t change the fact that the design is still appealing to us,” Harris said. “It’s based on how our psychology works.”

Never in human history has something been able to constantly project images directly to our eyes, he said, adding that if those images depict our friends having fun without us, it can damage our self-esteem. The AI algorithms behind such apps are designed to prioritize the best pictures posted—which over time can change the physiology of our brain and cause anxiety or depression.

More here:  https://bit.ly/2Flshx9

The IOT is back in the news again this week. A judge has ordered Amazon to turn over audio data from an Alexa device related to a murder investigation.

There’s a few interesting things raised by this warrant. The investigators believe that Alexa may have captured audio of the attack itself and uploaded it to Amazon servers, which means that Alexa would have been listening despite the “wake word” not being spoken. This would go against how Amazon tells us the device functions. The investigators may be hoping that Alexa may have incidentally heard something that sounds like the wake word, and recorded audio based off of that. This has happened before.

They are also asking for a list of all devices that connected to the speaker during the time period in question. This means that Amazon is collecting information on everyone that visits your home and when based on their mobile devices that they bring along with them.

These new developments only add to the pile of issues that come with placing internet-connected microphones in your house. There’s the obvious problems like the security of the device, a hacked Alexa can listen to everything you say and do. And deeper problems like being unable to figure out what the speaker is collecting. The device can easily listen and record based on specific marketing or “national security” phrases and wait to upload the information until the next wake word is spoken. You can cram low quality audio in surprisingly small spaces, and because all communication with home servers is encrypted, you can’t know what information is actually being transmitted. A great example is Google Android sending GPS information to Google even while GPS was explicitly disabled.

Read more here: https://bit.ly/2RBWSxf

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