Alexa, Google and Facebook

Discussion in 'IT & Internet' started by SamanthaEvans, Nov 27, 2020.

  1. SamanthaEvans

    SamanthaEvans UKBF Newcomer

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    Do you think Alexa is a spy? Also, with some of our mobile devices do you think Facebook and Google is "listening" to peoples conversation and use that for remarketing purposes?
     
    Posted: Nov 27, 2020 By: SamanthaEvans Member since: Nov 27, 2020
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  2. fisicx

    fisicx Moderator
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    Yes and yes
     
    Posted: Nov 27, 2020 By: fisicx Member since: Sep 12, 2006
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  3. Wayne Smyth

    Wayne Smyth UKBF Contributor

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    It obviously spies on your conversations to some extent in order to do its job and I would be almost certain that Google and other companies use this for marketing.

    There are no on-going charges for Alexa and similar devices which obviously means you and your voice are the payment.

    I did an informal experiment with some work colleagues some time ago after one of them was convinced that Siri was listening in to what she was talking about and adjusting her ad preferences online. I think we did find in a very quick test behavior that seemed to indicate she was correct, but you can never be 100% sure how much is complete chance.

    In any case, as with all technology it's important for the customer to assess the cost/benefit to them, and in cost I don't only mean monetary, but the cost to them of new risks etc.

    For an elderly relative who can't see, one of these devices is probably a life-saver, allowing them to access content and do things they would ordinarily find impossible. For other users, the benefit is less defined. The risk, as you have inferred is that you open up your conversations to the world.

    It's a bit like the keyless entry cars. They don't have any significant benefits for most people, yet they introduce significant risks to having your entire car stolen with ease, so I've no idea why anyone other than an idiot would actively choose to buy one.

    There are hundreds of examples of technology that people buy which offer little benefit but which compromise them in some way. Wifi toasters which toast the weather on your bread, but compromise your entire home network. Cars which you can control from your phone but also allow attackers to control from the other side of the world, because the manufacturers couldn't be arsed to secure their IT infrastructure properly. I'm sure the list is endless.
     
    Posted: Nov 27, 2020 By: Wayne Smyth Member since: Nov 11, 2019
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  4. estwig

    estwig UKBF Legend

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    OMG - I so need this in my life!!

    How cool is that!!!!!!!!!!!:)
     
    Posted: Nov 27, 2020 By: estwig Member since: Sep 29, 2006
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  5. Ian J

    Ian J Factoring Specialist Verified Business ✔️
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    As opposed to having just half of your car stolen I suppose.

    Incidentally I am one of the idiots that you are referring to and I have no doubt that there are many more amongst UKBF forum members
     
    Posted: Nov 27, 2020 By: Ian J Member since: Nov 6, 2004
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  6. The Byre

    The Byre Full Member

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    The book the OP needs to read is "The Age of Surveillance Capitalism" by Prof. Shoshana Zuboff. You are the product that is being sold. Zuboff calls this the new tyranny and a new type of totalitarianism that departs from conventional capitalism, in that it no longer seeks reciprocity with people as they are the product being sold.
     
    Posted: Nov 27, 2020 By: The Byre Member since: Aug 13, 2013
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  7. estwig

    estwig UKBF Legend

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    They might just break in and steal your Barry Manilow CD's!
     
    Posted: Nov 27, 2020 By: estwig Member since: Sep 29, 2006
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  8. Wayne Smyth

    Wayne Smyth UKBF Contributor

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    Ian, are you annoyed because you have the toaster too? :) Sorry, couldn't resist.

    I assumed we were all big girls & boys here, and I can say for myself that in my life I've personally done many idiotic things that I regret, so I'm not going to apologise for calling things how I see them.

    To clarify I'm aware that lots of people have keyless entry cars(probably millions in the UK), those I was referring to are those who actively sought the keyless tech in their car perhaps because it was cool and new, rather than those who happen to own a car with keyless tech.

    Of course, my opinion might be wrong, and I'm more than happy for you to explain why it's a good risk reward for most people to own a car with the time saving measure of not having to press a key fob, with the downside being that a £50k car can be removed from your driveway with zero fuss.

    Where I live I know of a house where 3 brand new bmw's were stolen off the driveway within a month, after the insurance company replaced it. I'm also read stories of people insurance claims being refused because of these security flaws.

    Of course the way our insurance system works, those inflated premiums to pay for this fall on all of us.
     
    Posted: Nov 27, 2020 By: Wayne Smyth Member since: Nov 11, 2019
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  9. Ian J

    Ian J Factoring Specialist Verified Business ✔️
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    I didn't know that such a thing existed until I Googled it just now.

    I did look at a wifi enabled fridge freezer briefly which's main feature was that I could stand in Sainsbury and look at the inside of my fridge to see if I was running out of anything but quickly decided that it was a waste of money.

    Amongst the more stupid Alexa controlled appliances that I've just discovered is a wifi coffee percolator which would be quite useful if Alexa could also fill it with fresh water and put the filter paper and coffee in before switching it on

    My BMW has keyless entry but I bought the car as an ex demonstrator and I keep the key in a Faraday case when I'm at home.

    Unfortunately like so much motoring tech it's just something else to go wrong and if the battery in the key isn't at full power it won't work as I recently discovered. Allied to the car doors is a facility where as long as I have the key in my pocket I can waggle my foot under the boot and it will open automatically which is very useful if you are carrying shopping bags. Unfortunately this is another wonderful piece of tech that rarely works.
     
    Posted: Nov 27, 2020 By: Ian J Member since: Nov 6, 2004
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  10. SamanthaEvans

    SamanthaEvans UKBF Newcomer

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    Great responses!

    What about computer that have built-in cameras in front? Is it really advisable to cover it up with tape or stickers?
     
    Posted: Nov 29, 2020 By: SamanthaEvans Member since: Nov 27, 2020
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  11. Bob Morgan

    Bob Morgan UKBF Legend

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    Mark Zuckerberg does, so that must tell you something!
     
    Posted: Nov 29, 2020 By: Bob Morgan Member since: Apr 15, 2018
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  12. Wayne Smyth

    Wayne Smyth UKBF Contributor

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    Best to assume that people can see what you're up to if you have a computer connected to the internet which has a camera.

    Might not even be anything nefarious at work, perhaps you simply leave it turned on and connected to some video streaming service by mistake, rather than it getting hacked.

    If that video getting out there would cause you a lot of grief for whatever reason, then cover it up when not in use. If not, then don't sweat it.
     
    Posted: Nov 29, 2020 By: Wayne Smyth Member since: Nov 11, 2019
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  13. apricot

    apricot UKBF Regular

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    Absolutely yes!
    I use Alexa only if I am on my own and want to listen to music. Otherwise, I keep it off the plug, especially if I am on the phone and friends around.
     
    Posted: Nov 29, 2020 By: apricot Member since: Apr 7, 2012
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  14. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend

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    To be fair most people appear to not bother to secure their IT either.
    Relying on being one of millions perhaps rather than having any security.
     
    Posted: Nov 29, 2020 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
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  15. Mr D

    Mr D UKBF Legend

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    If you want to avoid being seen through the screen yes.
    If it doesn't bother you then no.

    Mine can see me or see the wall behind me. Neither view is particularly exciting or going to be used as blackmail material.
    And laptop closed down or shut off when on other laptop.
     
    Posted: Nov 29, 2020 By: Mr D Member since: Feb 12, 2017
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  16. ukbf0001

    ukbf0001 Guest

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    If Google are reading your gmail emails for meta data , to send you the best adverts , why would you think they wouldnt be listening on alexa for the same reason. You are basically telling Google what you are looking for (and in their defence) Google is trying to put you in touch with Google advertisers that may have the items / service you are looking for.

    Nothing is ever free - and dont believe anyone who says otherwise
     
    Posted: Dec 3, 2020 By: ukbf0001 Member since: Jan 1, 1970
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  17. Ian J

    Ian J Factoring Specialist Verified Business ✔️
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    If Alexa is listening in I wonder if she can tell the difference between what we are talking about and what's on the TV in the background
     
    Posted: Dec 4, 2020 By: Ian J Member since: Nov 6, 2004
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  18. fisicx

    fisicx Moderator
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    Very often not. Which is why people have ended up buying things that were in TV advert.

    A mate was having a convo with someone about tyres. Within hours they were getting online ads for tyres.

    Alexa listens all the time. They even have a patent to pre-guess your question. So if you are thinking about a curry, Alexa is pulling the local takeaways ready for you to place an order.
     
    Posted: Dec 4, 2020 By: fisicx Member since: Sep 12, 2006
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  19. Ian J

    Ian J Factoring Specialist Verified Business ✔️
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    I have Alexas in almost every room but all I use it for is music and getting it to switch the lights on.

    A couple of months ago Amazon reduced the price of the Ring Doorbell 3 from £179 to £119 with a further reduction of £30 if you ordered it through Alexa. Unfortunately I was in the Canary Islands at the time but I asked my next door neighbour and keyholder if he would pop round and order it for me and that is the only time that I have used the facility to order anything
     
    Posted: Dec 4, 2020 By: Ian J Member since: Nov 6, 2004
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  20. fisicx

    fisicx Moderator
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    Makes no difference. It’s listening and reporting back to Amazon. And people then buy that data.
     
    Posted: Dec 4, 2020 By: fisicx Member since: Sep 12, 2006
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