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Technology 4 September 2019

The Week in Internet News: Your Doorbell is Spying on You

Grant Gross
By Grant GrossTechnology Reporter

We’ve got our eyes on you: Ring, the Amazon-owned, IoT-powered video doorbell and security system vendor, has partnered with 400 police departments across the U.S. and is providing them with video footage, the Washington Post reports. Privacy advocates have raised concerns, saying the partnerships could subject innocent people, including those who Ring users have flagged as “suspicious,” to greater surveillance.

We’re listening, too: Meanwhile, Apple has apologized for some of its contractors listening in to recordings of customer’s interactions with the Siri digital assistant, Fox Business News says. Apple had been using the recordings for quality control, but the practice was not in line with Apple’s “high ideals,” the company said.

Also, the apps: Google has pulled a popular file-scanning app, CamSpanner, from the Google Play store, after reports that it contains malware, CNN reports. Researchers Kaspersky had found several negative reviews on the app’s profile that complained the app had the “presence of unwanted features.” The malware could show “intrusive advertising” to users.

Internet spycraft: China and other nations are using popular networking site LinkedIn to recruit spies in Western nations, the New York Times reports. One former foreign policy official in U.S. President Barack Obama’s administration received messages on LinkedIn offering to fly him to China and connect him with “well paid” opportunities.

Even better fake news: OpenAI, the Artificial Intelligence research lab cofounded by Elon Musk, recently created a news-writing program that the lab declined to release because of its potential to be used to write fake news. But now, two master’s degree student have reportedly replicated the program, saying you don’t need be “an elite lab rich in dollars and PhDs” to create this kind of software, Wired.com reports.

The IoT for cat poop: A programmer has hooked up his kitty litter box to the IoT, as a way to monitor whether it needs to be emptied, Hackaday says. The sensors are powered by an ESP-32 development board, hooked up to the Thingspeak IoT analytics platform. “This allows for easy graphing and analysis of the data collected from the system.”

Privacy and security should be more than an afterthought. Learn more about Trust by Design and why it matters.

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Disclaimer: Viewpoints expressed in this post are those of the author and may or may not reflect official Internet Society positions.

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