Smart Speakers and privacy

Earlier this month, Amazon said it had received more than 3,000 requests from police for smart speaker user data in the first half of this year, and complied almost 2,000 times.

This WIRED article doesn’t mention products from Apple or Google, but the issues described remain. It would be interesting to see if Apple got similar requests, and whether its privacy orientation meant they couldn’t comply (or comply as fully) as a result.

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This really sucks IMHO. We’ve become a police state, and tech is making it worse.

Bowline, do they need a search warrant to gather that information? Right?!

It is mind blowing that Amazon can do that, amass private data with Alexa or however! Couldn’t a Court prohibit them from doing so? There have to be other ways of improving their products! There is an expectation of privacy in your own home! If not there, where? In a deserted parking garage.

But we are deep into 1984 when the police can access it!

I was watching a movie about Edward Snowden a few years ago. He was talking about the tiny cameras on computers and laptops – that they needed to be shut down, I believe, so they are not tracking you all night long.

There is an episode of Frontline about AI that’s a few months old. Channel thirteen in New York is good about letting you access the shows without pledging.

The abuses of AI a la Big Brother floored me!

We are so lucky that privacy is such a priority at :green_apple: Apple! The pedal may be to the floor but Apple’s presence at least puts on the brake. ie somebody has to!

The reports are that they were asked, not that Amazon required a warrant. (It could have happened but it isn’t indicated in the article.) The article did point out, theoretically, that by amending a warrant police could continue to get data over long periods.

It’s no coincidence that Amazon-owned Ring has contracts with police departments around the USA in which they agree to hand out customer video on demand (temporarily halted in the wake of the George Floyd death), that the contract incentivizes police to recommend Ring, and that they are forbidden to use the word “surveillance” in describing the product. In fact Ring’s contracts with police give Amazon/ing final say over any statements police issue about its products.

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Omg! I just read what Wikipedia said about them! Your typical American is totally obtuse! They don’t know the first thing about civil liberties and just sign their rights away as if it were nothing. “Well, I’m not doing anything illegal.” There’s nothing to prevent them from educating themselves if they hear objections to these assault products on civil liberties and their support social networks.

You’re obviously well-read so you have likely heard of it but in criminal law there is such a tenet "fruit of the forbidden tree” in that if a search, for example, is bad the incriminating evidence that follows that evidence gathered from the search is bad too and cannot be presented at trial.

A sharp defense lawyer just might be able to make a case for that and ultimately guilty people wind up back on the streets as opposed to waiting for grounds to get a good warrant and getting them off the streets like they are suppose to do. Just a thought.

There’s the potential for neighbors to gang up on each another, certainly to the point of protecting criminals themselves.

Reminds me of Nazi Germany— people informing on each other.

Oh and the doorbell. Well, I thought that might be pretty harmless. Perish that thought. Facial recognition! Just like Communist China.

Pandora’s box is open and if there is money to be amassed, crime statistics to be manipulated, any angle at all, the consequences be d*****!

“Fruit of the poison tree.”

However, homeowners sign away their rights when they install Ring and permit the video to be retained and used for these purposes. (In most cases Ring video is used to triangulate passing pedestrians and cars for tracking purposes, and in the USA there is n presumption of privacy when one is in public.)

"Police can keep Ring camera video forever and share with whomever they’d like, Amazon tells senator"

My question, and I don’t think there’s any way to definitively answer this, is what metadata about the Siri random ID assignment can be turned over to law enforcement. It’d be pretty obvious that a random ID created from my Comcast IP is me, and while Apple would probably not package that information up too readily in their LEO portal, it could be made accessible if retrievable.

I’m not worried about the other data associated with the ID unless Apple responds for reverse queries (e.g., if LEO knew someone’s favorites in Apple Music and was able to request random IDs with those favorites associated.)

And yes, I don’t appreciate that my neighbors have Ring doorbells.

Context for the random ID:

It’s not simply metadata. Read the article - it mentions police gathering accidentally-recorded audio.

Yes, I read it. My understanding is that Apple has a different model for storing that audio that would prevent similar retrieval. Hence wondering about other methods of LEO finding it.

It’s certainly not Apple I am worried about.

In college, my friend drove and had a class at 8 am in a large lecture hall. I started at 9. So I audited all her early classes with a Criminal Justice professor Dr. Johnson. That brilliant man talked incessantly about Big Brother, computers and the right to privacy. Many students thought he was a wee bit whacky but he went into great detail and made quite an impression on me.

Well, we use to have a right to privacy (although it’s not explicit in the US Constitution). For all practical intents and purposes, now it barely exists, it has been whittled away. It’s likely gone or close to it. And it’s likely never coming back.

Kids growing up today won’t even truly know what it means, having had never experienced it.

We were probably already knee deep when it came to light that there should be no expectation of privacy for even emails– private communication, unless you address it otherwise. Why not?

These ignorant people are not only signing their rights away, they are impinging on the rights of others by doing so.

Pedophiles can and will access the data. Of course, there are stalkers. Cops that have little idea that accessing this data is a violation of those privacy rights. They are going to do what they can get away with and justify it after the fact. This probably opens up an entire new realm of criminals. Join a neighborhood group and map out the area for the burglars.

Homes are supposed to be havens? of privacy– that’s why the cops need warrants– allegedly.

So we each get a little bubble and we can call our own but not if you venture over to a neighbor’s house. And ring the doorbell. Big Brother Ring answers first. 0h and you invited Alex into your living room or bedroom!

I read a book by Dream Koontz about ten years ago. He wrote about satellites being able to peek right into your home’s window. Based on Google Maps, I certainly believe it.

Just who is even trying to protect our right to privacy? So we have a Senator upset. The ACLU, I’d surmise. Edward Snowden. Apple.

I hope someone hauls them into Court on a class action suit. When it starts sounding like we are living in Communist China, something needs to be done to slow it down SOON!

If you get a chance, watch that Frontline episode I mentioned on AI.

On one hand a lot of the “Satellite View” data is actually collected by airplane. On the other hand these airplanes are just as invisible to me as satellites would be so this isn’t actually comforting.

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Since 2016 Apple has been using drones to capture aerial mapping data.

I’ve been surprised that with the recent explosion of small, cheap, geosynchronous satellites Apple hasn’t tried using them for mapping. (Especially for real-time traffic reporting to work with autonomous vehicles.) On the other hand, they are doing some sort of research into satellites.

I’ve been reading a book called The Age of Surveillance Capitalism. It’s really good.

And you bought it from Amazon! :wink:

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I almost posted that I appreciated the irony but I was worried about responses about the meaning of irony…ha


Can you opt out of letting LE use your cameras for surveillance on a Ring system?

A Control Center update now can notify you if local police have access to your video clips in the Neighbors app, and will let you disable sharing those videos with police and see which devices and third-party services your Ring account is connected to. (But for years it was mandatory and could not be disabled, and it remains on by default.)

In the future, the company plans to offer other, more vague improvements, including “the ability to easily view and control other privacy and security settings right from the Ring app.” It all kind of sounds like an afterthought, but given the time it took for Ring to take customer privacy seriously, that’s probably because it is.

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Just ran across an interesting article about increasing surveillance, which included this creepy cartoon included as part of an Amazon patent application

Image on 2020-09-04 03.18.28 PM

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