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Daily Archives: May 6, 2019

Consider this – Alexa is always listening and collecting data about you

The Daily Dot – Here’s what you need to know about the security and privacy implications of smart speakers, both the myths and the realities – 1) Smart speakers are always listening – One of the first things you’ll hear about smart speakers like echo is that they’re “always listening” to your conversations—which is technically correct. But we often mistake “always listening” with “always recording.” “The Echo is not recording everything you say in its presence,” says Lane Thames, a senior security researcher at Tripwire. “Recording does not start until you ‘wake’ it up by saying its wake word, such as ‘Alexa.’” Unless muted, your speaker does, however, keep a few seconds’ worth of sound recording. “This limited local voice recording is only for the purpose of the device detecting its wake word,” Thames says.

Once you trigger a smart speaker, it starts recording and sending your voice to its servers, where the real processing takes place. “The bulk of the processing (artificial intelligence and natural language processing) is done in cloud and the voice recordings are made only while the device is in activation mode,“ Thames says. Every device has an indicator to clearly show when it’s recording and sending data to the cloud. For Echo, it’s the light ring on top of the device. For Google Home, it’s the revolving colored lights. “These recordings are stored so that your Echo device, along with Alexa coupled with your Alexa account, can learn and become ‘smarter’ over time,” Thames says. “This is done via AI and continuous learning algorithms based on your stored voice controls and activities.”…

Microsoft offers software tools to secure elections

AP – “Microsoft has announced an ambitious effort to make voting secure, verifiable and subject to reliable audits by registering ballots in encrypted form so they can be accurately and independently tracked long after they are cast. Two of the three top U.S elections vendors have expressed interest in potentially incorporating the open-source software into… Continue Reading

Human Rights Watch World Report 2019

“World Report 2019 is Human Rights Watch’s 29th annual review of human rights practices around the globe. It summarizes key human rights issues in more than 90 countries and territories worldwide, drawing on events from late 2017 through November 2018. In his keynote essay, “World’s Autocrats Face Rising Resistance,” Human Rights Watch Executive Director Kenneth… Continue Reading

New Rules On E-Evidence Could Streamline Criminal Investigations in the EU

Center for Data Innovation – “Law enforcement authorities have a problem: Evidence from crimes is often digital, such as emails or documents in the cloud, but investigators cannot easily access data stored in another country. While this issue is global, it is particularly acute within the EU. According to the European Commission, nearly two-thirds of… Continue Reading

450+ former federal prosecutors statement – Trump would have been charged with obstruction were he not president

Update – Washington Post – By early morning April 7, 2019, ” more than 720 former federal prosecutors who worked in Democratic and Republican administrations had signed a letter asserting that President Trump would have been charged with obstructing justice based on special counsel Robert S. Mueller III’s findings — if Trump were not the… Continue Reading

Report – Nature’s Dangerous Decline ‘Unprecedented’ – Species Extinction Rates ‘Accelerating’

Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) – Current global response insufficient; – ‘Transformative changes’ needed to restore and protect nature; Opposition from vested interests can be overcome for public good – Most comprehensive assessment of its kind; 1,000,000 species threatened with extinction: “Nature is declining globally at rates unprecedented in human history… Continue Reading