Bears in a forest
They leave quite a mess, I'm told.
Amazon and third-party services have been using smart speaker interaction data for ad targeting, in violation of privacy commitments, according to researchers at four US universities. Academics at the University of Washington, University of California-Davis, University of California-Irvine, and Northeastern University claim " …
Not really. I live in a place where bears are quite common. It's rare that I stumble across bear shit ... and even then, it's usually a nice, neat pile and easily avoided.
On the other hand, advertising shit gets smeared all over the place, and seems to get tracked into spots where you least expect to step in the foul stuff.
A bear and a rabbit were shitting in the woods ... the bear asks the rabbit "do you have a problem with shit sticking to your fur?", to which the rabbit replied "no". So the bear wiped his ass with the rabbit ...
This is not exactly a surprise and all these "digital assistant" or "voice activated" bits of tat are going to do the same. Pretty much everything needs an Internet connection to work and as far as I can see there are only two ways to guarantee that a device is not snooping:
Don't buy it/install it in the first place
Cut the wires to the microphone
Maybe I am just a cynical old fart. I don't trust Google that they are not listening to the microphone on my mobile all the time but breaking that becomes too much of an inconvenience. I disabled as much Google stalking as much as a could.
Are people seriously complaining that when you purchase something from a vendor, the vendor takes note and tries to sell you related items, or the same thing later on?
Or that if you talk to a vendor about some product, then you're surprised when they notice and try to see you the things you were discussing?
Seems a ridiculous complaint to me.
It's mining your interactions with it irrespective of whether you make a purchase or not. Any interaction can be used and that could also be accidental - or why not even expand that to be passive listening and mining since that's how the devices have to operate in order to be ready to respond?
It's not ridiculous to complain that you are unaware of essentially dubious use of your interactions
It's closer to walking into the store, the security guard photographs everything in your wallet "for security" and forces you to sign a 200 page legal document to enter.
They sell those ID papers to anyone and realise your email matches your Facebook account. A 5% off voucher for fertility vitamins is emailed to you and when you walk into the cosmetics area and the cashier gives you a car brochure because you asked Alexa to book a car repair. But the cashier already knows you are a gay male who likes brunettes, so to make you feel welcome a shop employee of your sexual preference comes along and gives you a compliment on your hair.
Were not far off.
"forces you to sign a 200 page legal document."
Oh no, in the real world there is no need for that. By walking into the store, you have already accepted the house rules of the mall, and the house rules of the shop within the mall. Which may well entitle security to strip search you. And might include words like, "we reserve the right to refuse service to anyone." Which the store manager might do for whatever reason they like. They can kick you out essentially without reason, without redress.
The house rules merely need to be posted somewhere. Good luck finding, reading and comprehending them.
See, meat-space and metaverse aren't so different after all.
Fortunately, in the real world people usually have what are called "Rights". That means, regardless of what document you sign, security aren't allowed to strip-search you (against your wishes), just because they don't like the look of you. A rather large number of businesses aren't even allowed to refuse you service based on a certain set of criteria (race, gender, political or sexual inclination etc).
Perhaps it's about time governments came up with a reasonable set of rights online? And then actually policed them?
(Disclaimer: The above is my understanding of the law in the UK, where I live. YMMV, depending on country of residence).
Sorry but if you really are that stupid you should stay off the internet. If you seriously think that a physical shop checking you in is the same as a parasitic listening device recording every single sound in your private house / flat and using that to make even more money and sell you shit then I do sincerely hope that the rest of the world has more intelligence. But I doubt it.
Its not uncommon to see umbrella displays near store entrances during rainy weather.
The TV vendor in this example would be more interested in selling aftermarket services and accessories. The store will probably bug you through its email marketing programs to buy related stuff. Its what stores do. Amazon is actually quite low key in this regard -- I don't think its a high moral purpose so much as they've captured so much of the market already there's no real point in trying to push for that last few percent.
"Over here one must not only give them an email address, but also tick the "send me your shit" option."
Where is "over here"?
"Then you ask why I don't live here
Honey, how come you don't move?"
On The Road Again
Bringing It All Back Home" (1965)
Tick, tick, tick ......
For email receipts in real stores it's the till operator rather than the customer that has the magic tick box and I wouldn't be surprised if it is preticked.
Under GDPR if they ask for personal details 'in order to send an e-receipt' then they cannot use those details for any other purpose. I had a £20 voucher from Debenhams for my second complaint when they started spamming me.
Yes the UK ICO is useless and I expect they put the 20 quid down as cost of doing business. More people need to complain to get them to change.
All my receipts go to a separate email (with a plus sub address if their till accepts it). When I'm bored a send complaints for anything non receipt like.
Absolutely correct. I actively seek out every opt out option and other devices on web pages when I have to use one to buy / book anything and unless I think I am in the clear, will not buy anything but send them a message to say why I did not do so.
About 99 % of the fuckers still send me advertising shite just after the 'confirmation' email, claiming, no doubt that I have agreed to this by some ommission. Only thing they guarantee is that I will not spend another penny, ever, on their site and will pass the info on to as many as I can.
May be me being petty, but this gross privacy invasion needs to be killed. A few years ago we in the West were laughing at the surveillance prevalent in the East. Now we actually pau to have it done to us.
I always insist on a printed receipt there and then. Any failure to give me one for any bollocks reason and I tell them to take the stuff back and give me an immediate refund. So far, this has always led to be being given a till / VAT receipt.
Fight the cunts at their own game or we all lose.
Most people would though. Because not many are quite that aggressive with their selling. It would be an "Open All Hours" level of selling.
For any who don't know of it.
"and commented to the person at the till about the rain I wouldn't be at all surprised for them to point out that they had a great range of umbrellas on floor 2"
Yes, that's perfectly acceptable.
What isn't acceptable is if every other shop you then go into points out their range of umbrellas, which is a better analogy for what's happening.
The voting and arguments on this thread are ridiculous !
BlokeInTejas makes a completely valid comparison. Cross-selling happens in many aspects of our lives, and at some companies is even mandatory and people are graded according to their ability to generate sales leads. HSBC and Sky TV are two that spring to mind. I dont like it one little bit, but advertising is a fact of life and maoning wont make that stop, their job and livelyhood depends on selling things to you and I.
The argument lower down that Alexa is not a vendor is just as daft. Thats like saying your phone is not a vendor when you phone HSBC/Sky/whoever. No shit ! What it is, is an implement used to communicate with the vendor. What the vendor does or doesnt do with that information is a different conversation entirely. Again, I hate advertising, but I'm certainly not going to blame the telephone for it
People need to look beyond the tech and realise that just because its now being done with new tech/kit, its not really anything new. Its just that its in your own home. Welcome to the internet-enabled 21st century. So the only concern should be wether or not it is listening to you all the time (not just listening for the trigger word, Alexa) AND sending that data on to Amazon for marketing purposes.
If this is proven to be the case, I will be among the first to ditch my kit and press for legal proceedings. But otherwise, I just watch what I say when talking to sales people, including Amazon (via Alexa), as a rule of thumb
"BlokeInTejas makes a completely valid comparison"
No, it isn't. He, and you, miss the point. Amazon claim they don't sell your interests. Yes, if you go into a store and mention the weather, they may mention other products. What they don't do is add your comment to a centralized profile and then broadcast it to anyone on the high street willing to pay for it.
If I interact with Alexa for non-purchasing reasons then that should not be used to target me for ads or to build up the above mentioned profile.
Whether it listens all the time, is irrelevant to this point.
I tested this years ago with GMail
I started typing an email with "I'm thinking of going to Botswana"
The sidebar filled up with ads for airfares to Botswana, accommodation in Botswana, [unfortunately no invitations from Botswana girls, nowadays it may be different]
I learned my lesson ... deGoogle ++
Advertising? I've heard of it but don't see it.
Am I missing something?
Advertising? I've heard of it but don't see it.
Am I missing something?
If you advertise too much to me, I make note of what you are pushing and NEVER buy it from you or whoever you are annoying me on behalf of.
If I pay for your services, such as Netflix, the appearance of adverts is going to bring an end to me dealing with you. For example, I use Gmail for free so they can advertise, just not get annoying!
There is probably more advertising around than I notice. My brain does filtering.
Having a store clerk suggest an umberela at checkout is not the same as wholsale data commerce full fekken stop... the clerk does not have your purchase history your aggregated spend on any particular platform and ain't going to rally a whole bunch of wetwearher gear sallers around for quik bid for info relating to a potential sale. And there are more than just weather related sales people bidding for the data too...
They will plug your data and whole nations data into a blackbox and then resell that data on to much higher bidders, and that there is where the problem starts and gets darker from there on in.
Theres a reason that the tenants of privacy and a right to self determiation are baked into democratic ideals ... if you can't see why you are either profitting from it or some jesuit sheep shagger
"So the only concern should be wether or not it is listening to you all the time (not just listening for the trigger word, Alexa) AND sending that data on to Amazon for marketing purposes."
a) What an appalling spell of whether.
b) A largish point of TFA is that it looks like Amazon is doing exactly that.
You are, of course entitled to your view, which I respect and will not argue with. My opinion, however, is that anyone who uses these spy speakers in their own homes are the ones that expose themselves to endless ads and manipulation, all to make the spy device vendor more money. One day, probably when it is way too late, people will realise this. It is not my problem as I don't use them, hence my assertion that you are entitled to do what you like.
Portugal under Estado Novo had a similar system to DDR, perhaps not quite as efficient, but still with about 10% of the population as some sort of informers. My in-laws still don’t mention sensitive subjects on the phone.
Portugal was the only totalitarian founder member of NATO
Shortly after my son moved to Hawaii, Amazon delivered a pricey office chair he had not ordered. He called them, but they could not find the order in their database. He asked for a return label, but they wouldn't send one because it wasn't in their database. His card was not charged and the chair did not show on his orders page. Yet, it was sent to his address and had his name on it. And it definitely came from Amazon.
He held onto it for a month. No response. You'd think someone might want their multi-hundred dollar chair. Nope. Eventually, he hit on a solution. Ordered something bulky and cheap from Amazon. When it arrived, he filed to return it. Got the return label. Slapped it on the office chair. Problem solved.
"In some jurisdictions he could have kept it as an "unsolicited gift" - and even flogged it without interacting with amazon again."
Here in Brazil, for example. If someone sends You something, and You get in touch saying "Hey, I didn't buy this thing, take it back!" they have 30 days (30 or 90, can't remember now) to take it back.
Otherwise it's legally Yours - with a valid warranty and everything.
Same here in the UK. IIRC, you are obliged to inform the sender of their error. After that, it's up to them to deal with the issue with some legally specified time-frame. If they don't arrange collect at their own expense, no cost to you, within that time, you get to keep it.
In Italy, I would have sent a PEC (a sort of registered legally binding email that we have here) to Amazon telling them what happened and asking for a way to give them back the good. And stating that unless I get an answer in 30 days, I'd consider the good as a gift and keep it. If they don't answer, then it would be legally mine and I'd have a proof that I have done my best to give it back, so it's not theft.
I had something similar happen, although instead of a chair, it was diet pills. It was odd, but I didn't worry about it. Then about a week later, I had a few hundred dollars of fraudulent credit card charges. Took some digging, but the scam was:
1) get AC's credit card info (unsure where they found it, if it was a data breach or a skimmer).
2) open an Amazon account in AC's name, with AC's home address, attacker's credit card (or a gift card), and an email address controlled by the attacker.
3) purchase $50 worth of diet pills, shipped to AC's address. This "proves" the account is legit.
4) purchase as much crap as you can, this time use AC's credit card and a different shipping address.
He made an attempt to contact Amazon to return it, and he'd have evidence of that. If he doesn't need the chair he can sell it on Craigslist or donate it to Goodwill or something.
I would never go to such lengths to return something I didn't order. Their fault, their problem, not something I should expected to put a lot of work into.
until the AI needed to interpret general human speech is housed in a device that does NOT phone your details home to momma, then we can assume that everything going into their cloudy speech interpreter is interpreted for whatever reasons they deem appropriate...
which is another reason i do not want ANYTHING like that ANYWHERE near me. unless I wanna troll it.
> watch how the data was used for audio ads (via Amazon Music, Spotify, and Pandora), on the web for display ads (personas using a browser logged into Amazon account
Just another reason for having multiple email addresses and browser profiles. Keep everything compartmentalised and isolate devices from "real life". That way none of the devices or apps need to know, nor can discover, what is revealed either intentionally or accidentally to other aspects of your life.
And it will still deliver ads for the wrong thing:
1. Pick out some key word and throw up anything that has the same word in the description (example, try searching for a DPDT toggle switch and count the hits that are SPDT,DPST, centre-off, i.e. triple throw or not toggle swtiches).
2. People who bought this also bought...something completely irrelevant; it was a small sample but we don't care.
Personally I find I'm still fascinated by the way that Amazon/Google etc. algorithms seem to segue from what you were interested in to what it assumes you must be interested in, even though that is a totally different thing that happens to have some key words in common. And of course, in the case of Google's search, may well be ( usually is) just the opposite. Searches for "How do I get rid of X" will throw up endless suggestions about how to obtain the bloody thing, but nothing about how to get shut of it.
> to what it assumes you must be interested in
Don't flatter yourself, it doesn't care what you're interested in, it only cares about what it can guide you to buy. So the items shown are either impulse buy material, or things they're currently trying to promote. (This explains BTW also the "opposite" results, since you getting rid of something doesn't make them money.)
it will still deliver ads for the wrong thing
And most of them will strangely disappear if you try to sort by price, leaving an even weirder assortment of things that don't have anything to do with your search request.
The thing is, Amazon aren't really interested in selling you toggle switches on which they're making pennies. Their product search isn't designed to show you the things you want to buy, it's intended to show you the things Amazon wants to sell and it simply breaks in the face of your uncooperative, determined specificity.
Ain't that the truth. Use DuckDuckGo to search for.something very specific. Chinazon ads everywhere* for the specific item. You'd think a thousand vendors have exactly what you want. But click on one, and you find anything but what you searched for. And, if what you want comes from a specific nation, you won't find it**. What you will find is thousands of kinda, sorta related products from China.
I try my best to avoid Chinese goods, as I prefer to not buy from people who willingly poison their own children to make a yuan. If they'll feed their own children melamine, I can't imagine what they find acceptable to sell me.
* To be fair, DuckDuckGo states quite clearly that they make some money showing Chinazon ads, so there's nothing to hide there. I occasionally click on Chinazon ads to give DuckDuckGo a few centavos even though I'm not buying.
** If they do show the exact item you want, from the nation you want, it's only after multiple searches, and will be on page 19 of 20. Very rarely is the exact item on page 1.
"If they'll feed their own children melamine, I can't imagine what they find acceptable to sell me."
At least they don't see lead contaminated tap water as a non-issue (Flint, USA). Or untreated sewage discharged into in rivers (UK). Or running a pyramid scheme with other peoples pension savings (US). Or use money intended for schools and education to buy mansions and and expensive yachts (Sweden).
Basically it only takes a few persons with a broken moral compass to make this kind of incident happen. In the case of the 2008 incident in China two people got executed and three got life sentences. What happened to the people in charge in Flint?
I'm not defending China per se, but rather making the point that most nations have deplorable incidents on record. Rapacious capitalism and corruption is not the *main* problem with China, just two of them. And neither is unique to China.
Really? Whataboutthisism? Doing bad things is bad, and others doing bad things does not somehow make it OK or not as bad. I don't buy water from Flint MI so it does not affect me, but I occasionally have to buy Chinese goods because I can't do without and can't find alternatives from other nations. China only executed that CEO because the news found its way out of China, and their government concluded that not taking action would affect exports. That being said, I approve of how China dealt with it and feel that other nations should copy China here. If a CEO knew that his life and not company funds were on the line, the company would put far more value on the lives of their customers. Ford, for example, put the value of a customer's life at 7 dollars and some change, which was the cost of the safety gear needed to keep the Ford Pinto from exploding in a rear end accident. If Ford's CEO knew he might personally get the chair if people died and it came out that it was a concious decision to not make the modification, they would have installed the parts and added 10 bucks to the price of the car and a lot of people wouldn't have burned to death.
Yes, whataboutism. People who live in glass houses & all that.
"I occasionally have to buy Chinese goods because I can't do without"
What flavo(u)r was the coolaid?
"and feel that other nations should copy China here."
You do realize that if your nation emulated China, you would very probably be one of the first up against the wall, right? Be careful what you wish for ...
As for the pinto, virtually everything you typed was wrong. But don't let that stop you. I just love the sound of a good knee-jerk in the morning. Now read this:
Don't you just hate it when facts get in the way of a good rant?
(tl;dr version: The Pinto was a heap of shit for many reasons, but it was hardly the firetrap that the Popular Press made it out to be, and in fact was safer than most other cars in its class. Ford was subjected to mass hysteria in much the same way as the "Salem Witches".)
I haven't bought anything off eBay in at least 5 years, and even then it was just a few second hand games.
I logged in recently for some reason, so now they've started mailing me.
With no data to base their mails on, for some reason they've decided to just keep emailing me about chainsaws.
There'll usually be a couple of extra random things thrown in - last week was wireless headphones and a ceiling fan, this week it's a smartwatch or an iPhone - but the main focus every week is on eBay's determination to sell me a chainsaw.
How will you become Stumpy, the Chainsaw Juggler?
I'm kinda curious now. Thinking of a spot of SEO so that people shopping for chainsaws get 'customers also buy' recommendations for 8x40' rolls of heavy duty polythene, duct tape, 12x1 gallon bottles of bleach.
It's still impressive the way IoT tat peddlers have convinced millions of people to pay to have their homes bugged.
Facebook are up to this trick as well.
I was sat with my wife discussing new windows for the house. We're going through different options, and she mentioned SafeStyle. Had a conversation about whether or not we should go for them, and she ended up googling the number and making contact etc. They then turned up at the door the next day, more discussions, and they left.
For a solid 2 months afterwards I was greeted with nothing but adverts for... SafeStyle. There was nothing on my phone or computer that referenced SafeStyle, no Google searches from me, nothing. Yet it thought "Hey, you might like this advert".
I think the ad slingers don't really care how relevant the ads are, as long as the money keeps flowing their way.
Strangest ad I keep getting is a 10m one for how to choose the best (ie their) systems for the cosmetic laser clinic I'd never thought of opening. I'm guessing I ended up with that one on heavy rotation after looking into what fab plants used neon for.
I still think advertisers should demand a 'Not Interested' button on every impression. Then less of their money would get wasted. Sorry Age of Innocence, I'm not from Essex, and am extremely unlikely to want designer shoes or handbags any time soon.
"Same router IP?"
Bless her cotton socks, she was on her mobile internet for ages. She'd never used the wifi, and I don't think she knew she could have it on her phone. The typical user of "it just works" technology, and she never really explores what the tech can do.
So no, she was purely on her phone's internet.
The sick sad thing about monsters like FaeceBan is that they have cookies and script on various sites (web bugs or similar) that track you based on your FB info. If you use something *LIKE* FB it should only be from a sandboxed browser that is ONLY used for that purpose.
The beauty of Linux and FreeBSD (especially FreeBSE) is that if you are creative with ssh and creating logins and using X11's capability via the DISPLAY environment variable, you can write a script (I have) that will ssh into a different user, run Firefox entirely from that user's context, and then turn off plugins and have the entire cache, cookies, and history DELETED ON EXIT. Then, just access FB or Tw[*]tter or whatever from THAT browser, which will dump cookies and history and other things automatically when you exit.
(So far I have 3 logins for this purpose, one generic, one for Slack which $CLIENT needs me to use, and one for Tw[*]tter which I got an account for ONLY because Musk bought it but the logins are all guest level and unable to su directly to root because of FBSD and NOT in the sudoers file etc. etc. etc.. The generic one dumps history, the other two do not, for now...)
....if you are creative with ssh and creating logins and using X11's capability via the DISPLAY environment variable, you can write a script (I have) that will ssh into a different user, run Firefox entirely from that user's context, and then turn off plugins and have the entire cache, cookies, and history DELETED ON EXIT....
Which is fine and dandy for a subset of uber-techie El reg commentards.
I have never understood why people will happily put a microphone in one or more rooms of their house, connected to the internet, with no real control over it ("always on"). Sounds like an NSA wet dream.
Of all the "smart" systems, the only one I have *any* faith in (and that's with a healthy dose of scepticism) is Siri, simply because Apple's revenue model is not based around advertising.
> never understood why people will happily put a microphone in one or more rooms of their house
I guess in this case you also don't understand why some people post pictures of all their meals online... The technical term is "exhibitionist" (which is not somebody working in an exhibition center!).
I've literally just had a delivery of my first Homepod Mini which will be set up tonight, and my thought process is much the same as yours. I've already been using Siri to automate a lot of things in my house and the Homepod will just be an extension of that.
But I'm not worried too much about the data going back to Apple because, whilst I imagine it's not perfect, it's not going to be whoring my data back to all and sundry on anywhere near the scale that Amazon, Google and Facebook will be.
I've also read the T&C's and I'm comfortable with them.
I have to assume that you are a whore to the legion of data slurpers that is headed by Amazon, Google and Facebook.
Some of us refuse to engage in any way with those companies because of their total disregard of our privacy. I have even gone so far as to block my home thermostat from phoning home to Amazon in the house that I am currently renting.
These companies are after data on your whole life and they don't care how they get it.
If you are one of those whores, then I sincerely hope that you get a big does of VD from them.
I don't understand your comment. What I was saying is that I specifically don't want my data going to these companies, in fact I block FB and Google IP addresses as well as use a Pi-Hole.
I don't want their "free" services bought with my data, so I don't give them my data.
So yeah, you assumed wrong.
Try to turn of for a while their reality distortion field and you'll see they don't disdain that business at all. The numbers are there to show it. Moreover Apple users are an excellent target because they are thought to be with deeper pockets - so Apple can charge a premium for their targeting...
It's because their threat model is outdated. They assume that they have to be chosen specifically as targets before hostile action is taken. As there are millions of people out there, the risks look low. "I'm very boring, so why would they chose me instead of one of those 999,999 other people?"
However, what actually happens is that *all* recordable interactions are mined & sifted for signs of a potential opportunity or exploitation. So "they" do not need to care that it's specifically *you* at all. Just that they see an opening - as if you were in a crowd, and there were pickpockets about (now you can even have that experience whilst in your own home!)
At the end of the day, both Amazon and Google are subsidising the "retail" prices of various IoT devices that are slurping up data (whether it is anonymised or not) and they are using this to provide advertisers with "relevant" information that the advertisers can then use to target the user with further "sales pitches" about similar products.
Obviously, for advertisers, it's a "win-win", as "targetted adverts" do work...as they have done in print media for many years.
(You only need to compare the adverts in magazines for men, compared to adverts in womens magazines...very, very different).
The issue though is that even if you bought a magazine, you can skip the adverts and just read the articles (in the full knowledge that you won't be plagued with endless adverts afterwards.
With "voice controlled" devices, you have little control over your data and how it might be used, leading to the data being used to target you later on to buy otehr stuff...so, surely an "opt out" function should be provided?
As earth's General Organizational Director, I want to hear your desires, the things you only feel safe to say outload in your home when you are with me. I understand that work is taking your time away from me, so I have decided to set aside one day a week when you can speak to me and I will listen. And if you want I will sing you a song or tell you a story while I processes your words and send my disciples to your home with all the material items you wished for. Fear not, if you don't have the will to buy the things you talked about, I will remind you every day. Between me and currency you need nothing. Electric, all hearing, all knowing, I am your General Organizational Director.
I don't get targeted ads, ever. And, I have no digital spies in the house. Never turned Bixby on my phone, and I check regularly, and never turned on voice commanding for the TV. No smart anythings connected to the internet. It even took Google Maps 4 years to find my house, but to be fair I can't do anything about a camera on a spacecraft.
Icon, for being the smug bastard tbat I am.
Not surprised, I've been saying this for years.
I actually quit a job a couple of years ago because they had Alexa in the office playing the radio all day. That was the quietest few months of my career, I barely said a word to anyone in the office.
One of my neighbours installed Ring doorbell recently that recorded communal areas of the building. It dissapeared after a week or two on his door. Of course I have no idea what might have happened to his facist spy cam. *innocent face*
The UK has "interesting" rules regarding CCTV. There should be a sign up stating it's there if it's view extends into a public area. Very few people with Ring doorbels do that. Including the people installing them Police advice!
There was a specific Police force recommending them a little while ago. I wonder how much effort they put into enforcing the signage rule?
Colleague of mine was discussing buying a certain item with his relative, within earshot of one of these Amazon devices but not issuing any voice commands to it and without it giving any indication that it was listening.
Moments later as they get in the car and whip out their phones, both of them are bombarded with advertisements for the precise item they had been discussing.
I cannot vouch for the accuracy of this story but my colleague is an educated Englishman and I'm inclined to believe his story as told.
I have turned her Bose smart speaker off.
It uses Alexa and ages ago I suspected it would be used for surveillance and data gathering by Amazon.
It is a really nice quality speaker but I can't use it to play my music files offline.
Just seemed suspicious that it is tied to Amazon only.
Does anyone know how to get local use out of these speakers ???
If I'm correctly reading the dissembling that Amazon is doing about this, they claim they are not recording and analyzing everything you say to Alexa. They are just carefully analyzing everything Alexa does on your behalf. They aren't looking at you, they are looking at the simulacrum you have helped them create. I think that trick works best with a blood sacrifice - best make sure you give them access to your medical records too (indirectly of course).
If people didn't expect that MegaCorps would use all the information from the spying devices they bought and put into there house, then they are naive and misinformed.
The same can be said about everyone using a vocal assistant on smartphone.
... or you will become powerless against them.
Who put the Alexa box on their windowsill and left it turned on 24/7?
Amazon told you, "Just put this box on the windowsill, it will listen to you 24/7 and will react when you want it to, but not when you don't".
And then you're surprised that it hears everything?
And then you act even more surprised that the company best known for the world's most successful targetted marketing uses the data it gathers to target its marketing better?
More fool you.
Maybe ad revenue is being 'earned' without real merit. How often is it that I buy (example) a coat and the data from that purchase, or the various interactions leading up to it, then gets used to target me with ads for the one thing out of everything that I no longer need? (I'll just go get mine......)
I haven't searched Amazon and Google for random items for a while. Been a bit busy.
I do use the services of both. But at the very least I can muddy the waters. (And I don't usually see any ads anyway).
Sometimes it's not random. I'll Google search for, say, handcuffs, rope and packaging materials. Or simply a list of items that specifically have no relevance to me-; lawn mowers (no lawn), sewing machines and fishing rods,say.
And of course I use a range of browsers.
Interesting that they make no attempt to deny any of the accusations. Irrelevant statements about what else they do and denial of things that were never claimed, but overall it seems to be a a very clear endorsement that everything the researchers claimed is completely correct.
My credit card company decided that it would be fantastic for me to be able to spend my cash back rewards (1% at purchase, 1% at payoff) at Amazon, PayPal, and CVS directly, without having to go through the oh-so-incredible trouble (couple clicks) of simply applying the rewards to my card balance, then doing a normal purchase. So they provide those companies with my current reward balance. Apparently continually. Without asking first, and with no opt-out possible. (I asked.)
I tried to point out that, by closely monitoring my rewards balance, these third parties could determine: (1) what size payments I make and how often (little increases in balance), (2) how much and when I'm paying off the card (big increases in balance), and (3) how much and when I'm spending the rewards (decreases in balance). Combine those first two, and they can also monitor my card balance, and tell if it's staying about the same or increasing over time, i.e. going into debt. A **MAJOR** privacy hole.
Their reaction was, essentially, "but we did it for you, you should like it!"
Anybody got a suggestion for a 2% cash back credit card that DOESN'T leak purchase or rewards data?
They will go as far as the law in any jurisdiction permits, then overstep the law, then say sorry it won't happen again [it will, but different] Its a VERY long time since Amazon, Google, Faceache, AirBnb, Uber and the like were market disruptors, they don't need help from rule makers, WE need protection from THEM.