privacy

Facebook admits sending voice chats to contractors to transcribe

Facebook admits sending voice chats to contractors to transcribe

As one of the most controversial Big Tech companies, it seems that Facebook doesn't want to get left behind but not in a good way. Google, Amazon, and even Apple have all been exposed sending audio clips taken from AI assistants to human listeners to review and tag those to improve the service. Facebook, however, doesn't have such a smart assistant but is now reported to have also done the same to its users without the knowledge that some human might be privy to their intimate voice chats.

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Tesla Model S mod turns the EV into a surveillance station

Tesla Model S mod turns the EV into a surveillance station

In order for smart cars to be able to make decisions for both safety and self-driving purposes, they need to be euipped not just with sophisticated computer brains but also with a ton of sensors. At the most basic level, those include cameras and motion sensors and in some instances even lidars. That same equipement, however, can also be used for less than simple purposes, like taking pictures of cars passing you by which can then be fed into a computer that can identify not just the make and model of the vehicle but also notify you of potential high-risk behavior.

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Telegram Slow Messages feature hits slo-mo on Chatty Christopher

Telegram Slow Messages feature hits slo-mo on Chatty Christopher

A new set of features heads to Telegram today with intent on changing the way you chat with friends and colleagues. Perhaps the most colorful of these is a new accent selection option for Night Mode on iOS. You probably don't even need to have the latest version of iOS to get this Night Mode accent action - but why wait?

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Skype calls are also being heard by Microsoft contractors

Skype calls are also being heard by Microsoft contractors

Amazon, Google, and Apple have recently come under fire because of the way they have handed audio clips to human reviewers with users' knowledge. All three companies have commented and put their programs on hold to avoid possible lawsuits and further backlash. It turns out that it's not just voice-controlled smart assistants are involved in this business practice. Even Skype calls, long considered to be sacrosanct, are apparently subjected to the same treatment and some Microsoft contractors have become privy to those conversations, even very intimate ones.

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Cathay Pacific Airways says its uses cameras to record passengers

Cathay Pacific Airways says its uses cameras to record passengers

Cathay Pacific, an airline based in Hong Kong, has updated its privacy policy to reveal that it is logging in-flight infotainment system activity and using cameras to capture images of passengers. These images are not captured using cameras integrated into seat-back infotainment systems, according to the airline, which is instead using CCTVs located in airport lounges and inside airplanes.

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How to stop humans from listening to your Alexa voice recordings

How to stop humans from listening to your Alexa voice recordings

Amazon has added a new feature in its Alexa smartphone app that allows users to opt out of having their voice recordings reviewed by humans. The feature comes amid growing privacy concerns over the practice, which is used to help the company -- and others like it -- improve the quality of their AI assistants. Finding the feature in the Alexa app isn't entirely simple, however.

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You should stop using WhatsApp right now

You should stop using WhatsApp right now

Thank goodness I stopped using WhatsApp when I did - things are about to get MESSY. As of this Facebook currently has a content moderation plan*... another NEW content moderation plan I should say... Which will use AI to flag messages before they're encrypted, sending said messages then to Facebook HQ where they can be read by humans. Messages will then be used by Facebook to make their moderator machines smarter and better at detecting term-violating words and phrases from their always-editable lists.

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Apple Siri, Google Assistant pause audio “grading” amidst privacy concerns

Apple Siri, Google Assistant pause audio “grading” amidst privacy concerns

It may have been a running joke that Google and other companies are hearing your embarrassing conversations or expressions said in the presence of smart speakers and smart assistants but little did we know that reality was far stranger than fiction. It turned out, strangers are actually privy to some, but not all, of those audio clips for the usual sake of improving the service. Governments and regulators, however, are putting that process under a microscope, causing Apple and Google to halt such systems in Europe while they try to evaluate privacy implications and, if possible, work around the legal requirements.

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Netflix explains why it tracks your activity on Android

Netflix explains why it tracks your activity on Android

Streaming service Netflix has started requesting physical activity permission for its app on Android, something that came to light after a security researcher tweeted about it. A number of Netflix users have checked the app's permissions on their phone and were surprised to discover that it was tracking physical activity. This, Netflix says, is a test.

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Free, open Amazon? Private app Haven seems too good to be true

Free, open Amazon? Private app Haven seems too good to be true

The app Haven was launched today for Android and iOS. Haven was launched as the official mobile app for the peer-to-peer sales site OpenBazaar. OpenBazaar is an Amazon, eBay, and Alibaba alternative devoid of data collection and fees. Haven allows users to connect with OpenBazaar on Android devices, iPhone, and iPad, and it's all free. Could such an idyllic system be real? NOTE: I need to be CLEAR here - I am equal parts surprised that this system could exist AND skeptical that it's actually real. Let's investigate together!

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TikTok’s ByteDance aims for a user-tracking hammer phone

TikTok’s ByteDance aims for a user-tracking hammer phone

Several companies are coming together to great a smartphone, and it's going to be a big deal. It'll be a big deal, that is to say, if they actually get to the point where the machine is produced. One other prerequisite for this phone's success: It'll have to be a lot more well-executed than what we've seen from companies like this in the past. Take, for example, the HTC Facebook phone.

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Librem 5 privacy-focused Linux phone specs finalized as pre-orders begin

Librem 5 privacy-focused Linux phone specs finalized as pre-orders begin

Despite the growing number of evidence and cases of mobile software that blatantly violate user privacy, it's almost impossible to imagine life these days without a smartphone. While hardcore privacy advocates might be able to ditch their mobile device for good, there are some that try to promise the best of both mobile and privacy worlds. One of those is Purism who has finally finalized the specs and features of its crowdfunded privacy-respecting Librem 5 phone.

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