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Community Champion

Hey, Google, why are your contractors listening to me?

Google's dirty little secret is that they use contractors to transcribe what Google Hub hears so that they can "improve Google services". When asked for a response they said: Yes, we’re listening. Just a little.


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Influencer II

One of the kids uses Siri. Another uses Alexa. My baby brother uses "Hey
Google" on his Android phone. (His eyes are going, and I'm a bit jealous because I
really *hate* those soft keyboards ...)

Way back when PDAs (remember them?) first started to become a "thing," I
predicted that they wouldn't be big until they could talk (and listen) to us. What I
did *not* foresee was that the heavy lifting in the listening department would be
done by giant servers at the corporate end, and that, therefore, all of our
interactions with the devices would be accessible to giant enterprises that would
mine all of our conversations in a way that makes "big data" look like a little
black book.

I don't use Siri or Cortana or Hey Google, and, whenever one of them switches on
I turn it off. My TV is cheap enough that it doesn't have a camera or a
microphone. I don't have on of those cylinders or pucks that turns on your lights
because I don't have smart light bulbs. We don't have to have constant "tunes" or
"playlists" playing in the house. (This actually leaves Gloria and I free to talk to
each other, something that we apparently do much more than most people.)

My extremely old car does have a computer in it, but it only talks to the service
department (and then only when I bring it in). We drive little enough, now, that,
by the time I have to replace it, I may be able to simply get rid of it and use taxis.
(Yes, taxis. I know some of you *love* ride-sharing, but I still see too many
problems with it to go that route. Besides, for most of my transport-related
problems, I see very few issues that the 210 bus doesn't solve.) So I probably
won't have to get used to a self-driving car, that's talking with every other car on
the road (*and* the manufacturer, *and* my insurer, *and* the local police). (As
much as I hate machines that think they are smarter than I am, I do believe we
should get the self-driving cars on the road as quickly as possible, because, for all
the "this car killed it's driver" anecdotes, they already drive better than we do, and
it would, even now, save lives.)

This may sound funny, as I'm writing this on a computer, and I'm surrounded by
three more computers and another three "devices." But, as the joke has it, I'm
not going to worry about all my computers ganging up on me until the computer
actually starts reliably talking to the printer that's right beside it. I still have to
reboot my cable modem (and sometimes short out the coax cable) to get the
Internet back at times, and I still have to power cycle the spiffy new PVR the
cable company gave me to fix problems with the old one.

It's not the computers that scare me, it's the companies. Facebook, of course, has
amply demonstrated that it cares nothing about its users. Google scared me,
intially, with the masses of information it collected, but, over the years, the "don't
be evil" mantra seemed to work out. Recently, though, Google has demonstrated
some very worrying tendencies. Apple has always wanted to lock you into their
world, but hasn't seemed to care for much beyond getting you. Microsoft, of
course, was always the big evil empire, but lately isn't quite so ... big.

And, no, thanks, I *don't* want the government to take over and regulate
everything in sight. I started out in malware research, and watched various
governments make bone-headed decisions about creating laws just to try and make
viruses illegal. Governments are having a tough enough time (and taking a long
time) to get "sufficient" regulation to reign in some of the corporate excesses.

We have a lot of things to learn about privacy and security, and constant vigilance
is the price of et cetera, et cetera. We are going to have to struggle through, and
it will be a lot of work, and it means we have to pay attention to a lot of stuff
going on.

Welcome to security.

====================== (quote inserted randomly by Pegasus Mailer)
Politics, at the highest level, is the reconciliation of conflict
- Preston Manning at Regent College, 20120125


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