(NaturalNews) Some of the most invasive new technology is being marketed as invaluable tools that “help” around your home or office, so-called “Internet of Everything” devices that have massive potential to serve as spy tools for snooping authorities.
One such device is being marketed by online retail giant Amazon. Called the Amazon Echo, it is a voice-activated “knowledge” device designed to respond to users’ questions. But to do so, the device continually monitors all sounds for your voice, and as such, given its Internet connectivity, could serve as a surveillance device to anyone who has the ability to hack into it.
The approximately 12-inch-tall, 3-inch-wide black cylindrical device is part microphone, part computer; when you ask it a question, it responds with an answer that is retrieved from “the cloud.”
“Echo is a device designed around your voice,” says a marketing video. “Simply say, ‘Alexa,’ and ask a question or give a command.”
And there is the “family“ robot line, too
Continuing, the marketing video notes that Echo is connected to Alexa, “a cloud-based voice service, so it can help out with all sorts of useful information right when you need it.”
Further, “Echo can hear you from anywhere in the room, so it’s always ready to help,” says the video.
One user notes the efficiency of the device’s voice recognition technology.
“I can have the water running, I can be cooking, the TV can be on in the back room, and she still can hear me,” he said.
Among the uses mentioned in the video: Echo can help you make a grocery list, provide timely news, control your lights, set timers, keep appointments and even provide timely traffic reports for commuters – all information that can be useful to anyone snooping on you.
And, of course, Echo can connect users to Amazon’s online retail services, to order or reorder products.
The motto for Echo is: “Always ready. Always Connected. Just ask.”
The Echo is not the first, or only, device that can serve as an audio surveillance tool for hackers and authorities. Natural News readers may remember that, earlier this spring, we reported on a new “family-oriented” robot named Jibo (pronounced JEE-boh) that essentially performs the same (surveillance) function as the Echo.
Like the Amazon product, Jibo can do a great many things, like talk to you, track your movements, engage in face and voice recognition, take photos and videos, and even “educate” and “entertain” your children.
As further noted by USA Today:
Jibo promises a sense of humor. With built-in cameras, it can recognize you and learn from you over time. It might ask for your favorite color and factor that in when it presents information.
And Jibo is being designed to recognize critical cues, like whether you’re smiling or not. It might use that to decide when to snap a picture of you or other family members. [emphases added]
It’s not just physical devices – robots, talking “companions” and such – that people have to worry about when it comes to chronic invasions of their privacy. Everyday tech products we use online, like media giant Google, are part of a growing network of technological tools that are being utilized to monitor everything we do.
Online technology is also watching, tracking you
As reported by the UK’s Guardian, Google is installing eavesdropping programs on users’ computers without their knowledge.
The paper reported:
Privacy campaigners and open source developers are up in arms over the secret installing of Google software which is capable of listening in on conversations held in front of a computer.
First spotted by open source developers, the Chromium browser – the open source basis for Google’s Chrome – began remotely installing audio-snooping code that was capable of listening to users.
Google officials sought to downplay the paper’s findings and report, but within a few days the company nevertheless pulled the program.
Written by J. D. Heyes
Learn more: Natural News