Wednesday, June 26, 2019
Home Business Do technology companies use smartphones and phones to listen to you?

Do technology companies use smartphones and phones to listen to you?

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It turns out that the companies of Amazon, Apple and Google appointed employees to eavesdrop on what the customers say these companies through the smartphones and voice applications promoted by these companies.

The Bloomberg news website, after talking to Amazon employees, said it was their duty to "review" the recordings of Alexa's headphones produced and marketed by the company.

The three companies say the recordings have been retracted from time to time to improve their ability to recognize sounds.

But the reaction to the article published by Bloomberg suggests that many customers of these companies do not know that human beings listen to what they say in their role.

Bloomberg said it spoke with seven people who reviewed recordings of Amazon's Echo and Alexa's own service.

The Web site said reviewers are reviewing and commenting on consumer conversations to improve the performance of Amazon's speech recognition systems.

Amazon's sound recordings are associated with an account number, first subscriber name and the Echo headset number used.

Some Bloomberg reviewers said they were briefing their colleagues on some funny recordings through an Amazon chat room.

They also said they heard disturbing recordings including those suggesting possible sexual assault, but colleagues told them that it was not Amazon's responsibility to intervene in these cases.

What did Amazon say?

Amazon's terms of use stipulate that voice recordings are used "to answer your questions, execute your requests, and improve your experience and services". The conditions do not address the existence of human reviewers.

Amazon said in a statement that it takes security and privacy seriously, and it only attaches to a very small number of Alexa headphones.

"This information helps us to practice speech recognition systems and identify the languages ​​we use, so that Alexa's speakers are more responsive to your wishes and ensure that the service works for everyone," the statement said.

"We apply strict technical and operational standards, and we do not tolerate any attempt to abuse our systems," the company said. "Employees have no way of reaching information that may reveal the identity of the subscriber or account."

But what about Apple and Siri?

Like Amazon, Apple has human references to make sure Siri's speech recognition engine interprets the requests correctly.

Siri records voice requests requested by participants through iPhone and home iPod phones.

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Image caption

Google Home, Amazon Echo and Apple HomePod Headphones

Apple's security controls stipulate that sound recordings must be free of any references to their sources and be associated with a random number that will be recreated whenever the Siri device turns off.

Any registration for more than 6 months is stored without the random number.

Apple says its auditors can not get any personal information or random numbers.

Then what about Google and the "helper"?

Google said its critics were able to listen to audio recordings from the "Assistant – Assistant"Which is a key part of most Android phones and home speakers.

But added that these recordings are not linked to any information that may indicate the character of the speaker, and the company is distorting the sound to camouflage the voice of the customer.

Do smartphones record all my conversations?

There are serious concerns that smartphones secretly record everything that is said in homes.

But while these speakers are technically at least "listening" to what is being said, they do not "listen" to people's conversations.

All smartphones record short segments of the sounds internally for the questionnaire on words that stem from their "dormancy" such as Alexa, OK Google or Hi-Seri.

If these speakers do not indicate these terms, erase the sound recordings.

However, if these devices are invoked on the appropriate phrase, they keep the phonogram and continue to register to send the customer's request to the speech recognition system.

It is easy to tell whether the smart phone is sending entire conversations to a remote server for analysis, and security researchers have not found evidence that this is actually happening.

Can I prevent human reviewers from listening to my conversations?

Amazon's privacy controls do not allow subscribers to opt out of recording their conversations or offer them to human reviewers, but the subscriber can block the use of their registrations "to help develop new features." The subscriber can also listen to the recordings and erase them.

Google allows its subscribers to listen to and erase audio recordings through a page My Activity. Subscribers can cancel the "Track History" and "Voice and Phonetic Activity" items.

Apple does not allow its users to listen to recordings through Siri's system. The company's privacy site – which allows the subscriber to take down a copy of his or her personal information – is not able to provide information "that does not lead to identification or is not associated with an Apple account."


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