Edward Snowden has helped design a mobile phone case called the “introspection engine” that, he claims, will show when a smartphone is transmitting information that could be monitored.
Presenting via video link to event at the MIT Media Lab in Cambridge, Massachusetts, Snowden and co-designer Andrew “Bunnie” Huang showed how the device connects to a phone’s different radio transmitters, showing its owner knows when a cellular, Wi-Fi or Bluetooth connection is being used to share or receive data.
Initial mockups of the introspection engine show a small, monochromatic display built into its casing shows whether the phone is “dark”, or whether it is transmitting, and it also can supply an iPhone with extra battery power and cover the rear-facing camera.
It could be developed to act as a sort of “kill switch” that would disconnect a phone’s power supply when it detects that a radio is transmitting data after its owner has attempted to turn it off.
The device is an academic project and nowhere near ready for the mass market, but could still influence how consumers view the “tracking devices” – otherwise known as smartphones that they rely on every day.
“If you have a phone in your pocket that’s turned on, a long-lived record of your movements has been created,” Snowden said. “As a result of the way the cell network functions your device is constantly shouting into the air by means of radio signals a unique identity that validates you to the phone company. And this unique identity is not only saved by that phone company, but it can also be observed as it travels over the air by independent, even more dangerous third parties.”
Most smartphones disable Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and cellular transmission when in airplane mode, but Snowden and Huang say that can’t be trusted.
“Malware packages, peddled by hackers at a price accessible by private individuals, can activate radios without any indication from the user interface,” they write in their paper on the device. “Trusting a phone that has been hacked to go into airplane mode is like trusting a drunk person to judge if they are sober enough to drive.”
The project is an extension of Snowden’s work to inform the public about the surveillance capabilities available to governments around the world. In June 2013 he revealed information about mass surveillance programs from the National Security Agency, where he was a contractor, and he has since become the closest thing digital security has to Neil DeGrasse Tyson or Bill Nye: a recognizable name that can explain these issues in a way the average person can understand.
In addition to educating people about security risks, he now wants to help citizens defend themselves – if the introspection engine ever becomes a reality.
Snowden and Huang say there’s no guarantee the device will ever be more than a mockup. “Over the coming year, we hope to prototype and verify the introspection engine’s abilities,” they write. “As the project is run largely through volunteer efforts on a shoestring budget, it will proceed at a pace reflecting the practical limitations of donated time.” If they do receive the proper funding, they could release the device in partnership with the Freedom of the Press Foundation media advocacy group.
Snowden said the introspection engine was designed to help protect journalists. “One good journalist in the right place at the right time can change history. One good journalist can move the needle in the context of an election. One well-placed journalist can influence the outcome of a war,” he said.
“This makes them a target, and increasingly the tools of their trade [are] being used against them. Our technology is beginning to betray us not just as individuals but as classes of workers, particularly those who are putting a lot on the line in the public interest.”
Sunday Times war correspondent Marie Colvin was reportedly killed in Syria after government forces were able to trace her position, according to a new lawsuit.
Snowden and Huang are concentrating on working with Apple’s iPhone, but also said the device could be modified to work on other smartphones. It’s not immediately clear how Apple will respond to the introspection engine; while it has worked to give consumers security features meant to thwart even sophisticated attackers, the company might not be fond of a device that can separate an iPhone from all networks. Apple has not responded to a request for comment.
Still, the connection to Snowden and the rush of attention following MIT Media Lab’s event might inspire others to work on devices similar to the introspection engine. Even if the tool never becomes more than an interesting subject discussed at an academic conference, it could lead to consumers having more control over what exactly their iPhone is sharing from their pockets.
Today’s world is a strange place.
We are inundated with signals from early on in life, encouraging each of us to walk a particular path, establishing blinders on us along the way to discourage us from looking for alternatives to what the herd is doing or thinking.
Life is so complex that overtime, if we are paying attention, we realize that there are an infinite number of possibilities to what the human experience could be, and we come see that the world is on fire because individuals all too infrequently question why things are the way they are, failing to notice that their mindset or behavior needs adjustment in favor of more intelligent, common sensical, or sustainable patterns of existence.
Not meant to be overtly critical of anyone’s lifestyle choices or personal situation, the following signs that you’re a slave to the Matrix are meant purely as an observational approach to helping you identify the areas of your life where you may be missing an opportunity to liberate yourself from someone else’s self-destructive design for your life.
You pay taxes to people you’d like to see locked up in jail
This is perhaps the biggest indicator that we are slaves to the Matrix. The traditional notion of slavery conjures up images of people in shackles forced to work on plantations to support rich plantation owners.
The modern day version of this is forced taxation, where our incomes are automatically docked before we ever see the money, regardless of whether or not we approve of how the money is spent.
You go to the doctor, but you’re still sick
Modern medical care, for all of it’s scientific progress, has sadly become sick care, where we are rarely advised to eat well and tend to our mental and physical health, but instead are routinely advised to consume expensive medications and procedures that are pushed by the for-profit healthcare Matrix.
You’ve picked Team Democrat or Team Republican and argue with your friends, family and co-workers about politics
This is what the control strategy of divide and conquer looks like in our society.
Both of the major parties are corrupt through and through, and independent candidates are not even allowed to participate in public debates.
By believing in one of these parties and burning your personal energy on arguing with other ordinary people you are turning over your soul the Matrix, and doing your share in making sure that ‘we the people’ will never be united against corruption.
You work hard doing something you hate to earn fiat dollars
Work is important and money does pay the bills, however, so many people lose the best years of their lives doing things they hate, just for money.
The truth about money today is that we do not have money, but instead, inflationary fiat currency that is privately owned and manipulated. Since it is still necessary to get by in this world, it is best that you get more value for your time by doing something you enjoy or by working with people you do not despise.
It is easier than you may think to live on less money than we believe we need, we just have to be willing to go against the grain realize this.
You’re willing to accrue personal debt to fund the acquisition of a consumer oriented lifestyle
Each time a credit card is swiped it creates digits on the balance sheets of the banks that are most involved with the financial looting of the world today.
These digits are then multiplied electronically by the fractional reserve system, which exponentially increases the power of these institutions.
To participate in this, and by agreeing to pay this fake money back with interest, in order to maintain a certain lifestyle, is a strong indication that you are bound by one of the main tenets of the Matrix – consumerism.
You converse with real people about the ongoing happenings of TV shows
TV is the most potent tool used for mind control, and the ‘programming’ that is available, while certainly cool, fun, or entertaining is geared to reinforce certain behaviors amongst the masses.
Dramatizing the ego’s importance, over sexualizing everything, glorifying violence, and teaching submissiveness to phony authority are the main features of modern TV.
By taking what is happening onscreen and making it a part of your real life, you are doing your job of supporting the matrix’s desire to confuse us about the nature of reality, proving that something doesn’t have to actually happen in order for it to feel real to people.
You don’t have anything to hide from total surveillance
If it does not bother you that someone, somewhere, working for somebody is watching you, listening to your conversations, and monitoring your movements, then, you are a good slave to the Matrix.
Invisible surveillance is an insidious form of thought control, and by using the logic of, ‘I have nothing to hide, therefore, it will do me no harm to be surveilled,’ then you are mindlessly admitting that you have an earthly master and are not of sovereign mind and body.
You think the world would be safer if only governments had guns
This is a violent world, and criminals engage in criminality against honest people at every level of society, including from within the government.
Sure, in a perfect world, weapons wouldn’t be necessary for anyone but, sadly, our world is anything but perfect, and firearms are indeed a very effective form of protection against common criminals and abusive governments alike.
The willingness to forego your right to self-defense is a sign that you’ve relegated personal responsibility to someone else. Having the masses abdicate personal responsibility is one of the most important aspects of controlling them.
Welcome to the Matrix.
You knowingly drink fluoridated water
Of all the health debates taking place today, the topic of fluoridated water is the easiest to understand, for it is a toxic by-product of an industrial process… poison.
Water is supposedly fluoridated to aid in dental health, which is debatable in itself, but if this were so, then the involuntary fluoridation of public water is a medication without your consent… a form of slavery. Knowing this and continuing to drink fluoridated water is a sign that you’re content with your slavery to the Matrix.
You knowingly consume toxic poisons like MSG and Aspartame
These two chemicals are widely known to be toxic to the human body.
Knowing this and continuing to poison yourself with tasty, but chemical-laden processed foods is a sign that the Matrix has programmed you to place less value on your health and future than on your immediate gratification.
You depend on the pharmaceutical industrial complex for the management of your own mental health
The use of psychotropic medicines is rising rapidly in our society because people have been convinced that mental and emotional states can be classified as diseases, while the truth about natural mental health has been obfuscated by corporate media and a for-profit medical establishment.
If you’re taking psychotropic medications, then you are under one of the most potent forms of mind control available. Part of this control is to convince you that you have no authority over your own mind.
This is perhaps the matrix’s most terrible lie, and by willingly taking these psychotropic medications you are conforming to the worst kind of slavery, and inhibiting your natural mental and emotional responses to the life stressors that are signaling to you that you need to change your behavior and habits.
You haven’t yet stopped watching your local and national news programming
The mainstream news media is a tool of control and manipulation, and by continuing to support their ideas and world views by giving them your attention you are volunteering to be a slave to this not-so-subtle form of mental programming.
Even the local news is scripted at the national level by agents of the handful of corporations tasked with shaping our opinions of events.
You’re more concerned with televised sports or other mindless distractions than you are with the quality of your natural environment
To be unconcerned with all of this while tuning into a never-ending stream of sports trivia and distraction-based living is a sign that your sense of self-preservation has been stolen and replaced with an impulsive tendency for triviality and escapism.
You’re skeptical of any area of life that hasn’t been ‘proven’ or validated by modern science
The very essence of science is the inquiry into the unknown, implying that until science can grasp something, it is unexplainable.
By discrediting or ridiculing experiences that other people have, which yet evade scientific understanding, like near-death experiences, acupuncture, or the life changing effects of Ayahuasca, then you are slavishly reducing your understanding of the world to a narrow range of possibilities.
The Matrix is made possible by the efforts of volunteer gatekeepers who are unwilling to think outside of the box.
You’ve never questioned the popularized version of ancient history and the origins of our civilization
There are many unanswered questions about the origins of the human race that point to a different version of human history than what is taught in school.
Read ‘20 History Questions They Refuse to Answer in School‘ to discover some of the many ways in which our history has been hijacked.
By never questioning what we’ve been told about our origin we are acquiescing to many of the imposed belief systems and narrow-banded views of human potential that the Matrix promotes.
You haven’t yet realized that you are a spiritual being living a human experience
If you can relate to any of the items on this list, then the Matrix has you, and it is now your duty to engage more deeply in your liberation.
Yesterday, I published a post warning about an amendment to be put up for a vote in the U.S. Senate that would severely harm the civil liberties of American citizens. I was very disappointed to see an unusually low amount of reads on that particular post, which came in well below average despite being such an important issue.
Well it turns out John McCain’s amendment 4787 came up for a vote earlier today, and it was stopped by one vote. Yes, by one vote.
So what’s at stake? Let’s review an excerpt from yesterday’s post, Republican Senators Use Orlando Shooting to Push for Increased Government Spying Powers:
U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell set up a vote late on Monday to expand the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s authority to use a secretive surveillance order without a warrant to include email metadata and some browsing history information.
The amendment would broaden the FBI’s authority to use so-called National Security Letters to include electronic communications transaction records such as time stamps of emails and the emails’ senders and recipients.
NSLs do not require a warrant and are almost always accompanied by a gag order preventing the service provider from sharing the request with a targeted user.
Sounds pretty important, but no one seemed to care yesterday. Fortunately, the vote (barely) went the right way, but Mitch McConnell switched his vote to NO at the end just so that he could regroup and push for another vote.
As US News reported:
Privacy-minded senators on Wednesday blocked an amendment that would give the FBI power to take internet records, including browser histories and email metadata, without a court order. But the victory may be fleeting.
Just one vote kept the measure from clearing a 60-vote procedural hurdle, and political arm-twisting may soon result in a second vote. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., switched his vote to “no” to allow reconsideration in the near future. That made the final tally 58-38, with four senators not voting.
As such, it’s very important that everyone understand where their Senators stand on this issue. Notably, Mr. fake “libertarian” Ted Cruz, who always pretends to care about civil liberties, voted in favor of giving the FBI more unconstitutional powers. There were a few handful of Republicans who voted against it, and they should be commended. They are:
Lisa Murkowski (Alaska)
Cory Gardner (Colorado)
Rand Paul (Kentucky)
Steve Daines (Montana)
Dean Heller (Nevada)
Mike Lee (Utah)
To find out how your Senator voted, click here, and let them know how you feel.
Constitutional Judge Begs America to “Wake Up” Over Fed’s Plan to Spy on Your Web Activity
TOPICS:Andrew NapolitanoCivil LibertiesFBISurveillance
June 9, 2016
fbi-spyingBy Matt Agorist
This week, the US senate published a bill that would give the FBI seemingly unlimited power to pry into the “electronic communications” of American citizens. The bill would give the FBI warrantless access to email records as well as a slew of other electronic data.
Its passage could effectively end online privacy.
According to a report in the Intercept:
The provision, tucked into the Senate Intelligence Authorization Act, would explicitly authorize the FBI to obtain “electronic communication transactional records” for individuals or entities — though it doesn’t define what that means. The bill was passed by the Senate Intelligence Committee last week.
In the past, the FBI has considered “electronic communication transactional records” to be a broad category of information — including everything from browsing history, email header information, records of online purchases, IP addresses of contacts, and more.
The single ‘no’ vote against the bill came from Sen. Ron Wyden, who wrote a letter warning Americans that the bill’s provisions “would allow any FBI field office to demand email records without a court order, a major expansion of federal surveillance powers.”
Using the fear mongering tactics of “we need this to keep you safe,” the Fed will likely force this bill to become law.
The bill, if passed, could theoretically allow the FBI to target any individual who visits the FreeThoughtProject.com because of the subversive, yet entirely peaceful nature of the site. That information would then be stored, and a file kept on all people who are perceived rebellious by the State.
If you think the government declaring peaceful liberty-minded individuals as enemies of the state is far-fetched, think again. In 2009, a secret report distributed by the Missouri Information Analysis Center (MIAC) entitled “The Modern Militia Movement” specifically describes supporters of presidential candidates Ron Paul, Chuck Baldwin, and Bob Barr as “militia” influenced terrorists and instructs the Missouri police to be on the lookout for supporters displaying bumper stickers and other paraphernalia associated with the Constitutional, Campaign for Liberty, and Libertarian parties.
Of course, all laws like this one are ostensibly designed to keep you safe from ‘terror;’ however, as we’ve seen in the past — terrorism is but a fraction of the cause for legislation like this.
Taking to the airwaves to voice his concern over the death of the 4th Amendment in relation to Senate Intelligence Authorization Act, Judge Andrew Napolitano unleashed his fury.
Napolitano noted the sheer ominous nature of a bill that would allow the FBI access to a person’s Web history.
He pointed out that the government will, as it always does, argue that this is necessary to keep us safe from terror attacks. But he would note that the argument is a “facade.”
“This law will pass because the Congress doesn’t give a damn about whether it’s unconstitutional!” said Napolitano.
Pointing out that the police state continues to get worse, regardless of which puppet is in the White House, Napolitano bravely said, on FOX News of all places, “It always gets worse, it never gets better. No matter who’s in the White House, and no matter which party controls the Congress.”
“The American people should wake up. This is a major step…….toward a police state,” he said.
At the end of the video, Shepard Smith makes a hard hitting point about why this is able to continue.
People get riled up about the stupidest things and something important like this, you can’t get them to even send an email.
Big Brother is watching you and he wants you to believe that if you have nothing to hide, then you have nothing to fear.
This is a lie, of course, and as we move deeper into the era of state sponsored technological surveillance, we see more evidence that the loss of privacy and confidence in inter-personal communications is transforming the individual into a compliant, self-policing ward of the state.
In one of the first empirical scientific studies to provide concrete evidence of the ‘chilling effects’ that government surveillance has on internet users, Oxford University professor Jon Penney looked at Wikipedia search data and traffic patterns before and after the 2013 revelations by Edward Snowden regarding widespread NSA surveillance of the internet. The results demonstrated an immediate trend towards self-censorship, as traffic and searches for terms like ‘Al Qaeda,’ ‘car bomb,’ and ‘Taliban’ showed nearly instant and mentionable decline.
The changes were statistically significant enough to indicate that many people automatically alter their own behavior upon realizing that a punitive authoritarian organization is monitoring them for legitimate or perceived wrongdoings.
“If people are spooked or deterred from learning about important policy matters like terrorism and national security, this is a real threat to proper democratic debate.” – Jon Penney
In 2013, the organization Pen America conducted a survey of writers in the United States showing that many were already self-censoring themselves in an increasingly oppressive atmosphere of government surveillance. The fear of being caught up in a dragnet of legal and financial problems was sufficient enough for many to change their tone and content, even though no direct physical threat existed.
“The results of this survey—the beginning of a broader investigation into the harms of surveillance—substantiate PEN’s concerns: writers are not only overwhelmingly worried about government surveillance, but are engaging in self-censorship as a result.” [Source]
Commenting on the effects of authoritarian governments which heavily surveil their citizens, Pen America also notes that, “historically, from writers and intellectuals in the Soviet Bloc, and contemporaneously from writers, thinkers, and artists in China, Iran, and elsewhere—aggressive surveillance regimes limit discourse and distort the flow of information and ideas.” This is without question the intended aim of such programs.
That study also included data which indicated how people curtail their online behavior and interactions with other people out of fear of being persecuted by the nanny state:
“Smaller percentages of those surveyed described already changing their day-to-day behavior: 28 percent said they had “curtailed or avoided activities on social media,” with another 12 percent saying they had seriously considered doing it; similar percentages said they had steered clear of certain topics in phone calls or email (24 percent had done so; 9 percent had seriously considered it).” [Source]
Furthermore, in a 2015 study by the Massachussetts Institute of Technology (MIT) examining how awareness of government surveillance affected people’s use of Google, the world’s most widely used internet search engine, researchers concluded that, “users were less likely to search using search terms that they believed might get them in trouble with the US government.”
In general, people’s behavior also changes in ways more favorable to an authoritarian government when surveillance both online and in the real world is as ubiquitous as it already is in American society. The state draws power from a compliant, acquiescent, and self-policing public, and when mass surveillance is applied to the citizenry, with the predictable result of creating a more submissive and conformist citizenry.
This idea was effectively brought to life in George Orwell’s classic dystopian novel, 1984, where the primary surveillance device of the individual was the telescreen, a digital device located in every home that could receive and transmit audio and video, giving individuals zero privacy in their own homes. The beauty of omnipotent surveillance such as this was that the government did not even have to actually be monitoring an individual, because the simple fact that they could be listening and watching was enough to frighten a person into voluntary compliance and self-censorship.
“There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever they wanted to. You have to live – did live, from habit that became instinct – in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.” – George Orwell, 1984
This principle is coming to fruition in our modern world in the form of the internet and social media. Couple this with the creation and publication of government watch lists of all flavors, where people can be arbitrarily restricted from travel, or worse, and we are marching headlong into a brave new world where freedom is tightly constricted not by law, but by a creeping ambiguous fear of what may happen to us if we step out of line. We are creating a society where people may have legally protected free speech, but they dare not use it.
“There is a reason governments, corporations, and multiple other entities of authority crave surveillance. It’s precisely because the possibility of being monitored radically changes individual and collective behavior. Specifically, that possibility breeds fear and fosters collective conformity. That’s always been intuitively clear. Now, there is mounting empirical evidence proving it.” – Glen Greenwald
Advertisements that pop up on your computer screen are not random. Every time you go online, marketers monitor and track the websites you search, the links you click on and the things you buy. Companies then tailor content and ads specifically correlated to your expressed interests and spending habits. While online, you are being watched, whether you know it or not.
Yet there is a marketing phenomenon afoot that is even more invasive, and it’s happening generally without your knowledge. Here are five ways you’re being surveilled when you shop in the real world, often without even knowing it.
Think being accosted by salespeople as you enter a store is annoying? Well, some retailers now use video cameras to track customers walking the aisles of their stores. By using video analytics, companies can determine the age and gender of each customer while monitoring exactly what each person touches, looks at and picks up as they peruse the shelves.
RetailNext, the software that enables these tracking analytics, allows companies to pinpoint high traffic zones in their stores. Heat sensors are used to determine the most highly visited areas of each shop. This gives retailers valuable information as to where to place specific merchandise in order to maximize sales.
Yes, your phone may be “smart,” but when it comes to privacy your mobile device may not be doing you any favors. When you connect to a store’s free Wi-Fi, you are unknowingly allowing them access to track your movements as you shop. You are also giving them free rein to directly market to you.
By using GPS-type coding, companies can tell where you go and where you spend the most time in their stores. This “predictive modeling” information gives retailers important marketing information, like what merchandise you’re interested and in which department you spend the most time.
Store loyalty cards
Signing up for a store card might sound like a good idea at the checkout counter, but you’re getting more than store discounts by doing so. Grocery store discount cards are an important marketing tool, tracking and storing your spending habits each time you shop. In fact, store cards are one of the first ways retailers began specifically tracking consumers as individuals.
When you use your loyalty card, companies record each transaction you make under your specific customer profile and use your spending trends to predict future transactions. Retailers take your spending habits and use the information for marketing campaigns. While it is nice to get coupons for items you are actually interested in buying, it comes at a cost — your anonymity.
“Big Brother is watching” is taking on a whole new meaning with the advent of this new technology. Philips, the electronic company, recently released an LED lighting system that can be used in stores to track and communicate directly with your cell phone.
By connecting to your phone’s camera, these lights can tell marketers exactly where you are in a given store. There’s even an app that can be connected to this technology, allowing retailers to send real-time coupons for products located exactly where you’re standing in their shop. It may be nice to get some discounts while you’re shopping, but remember that rebates are not without cost. For one, your ability to withstand impulse buying is diminished.
When you download a store app in order to get discounts and promotions, you are also giving marketers direct access to your spending habits. Opening an app in its specific store allows the company to track your movements and send you promotions to “close the deal” on a purchase.
If you have used the app to make a shopping list, retailers can tell whether you’ve forgotten or decided not to buy a certain item on your list. The company can then send you additional promos or coupons to lure you back into buying that product.
With the pervasiveness of online data collection, retail stores are given the ultimatum of either using ethically debatable tracking methods or be overrun by savvy Internet retailers. By shopping online, customers constantly give cyberspace marketers invaluable consumer information that allows them to specifically target their market audience. In order to compete with the ever-growing online market, physical stores are being forced to act like Internet sellers to keep up.
Luckily, there have been campaigns to limit consumer tracking, both on and offline. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is pushing for a “Do Not Track” bill to be passed by Congress. This law would make it easy for online consumers to curtail being personally monitored by cyber marketers. Likewise, the FTC is also working to make a consumer disclosure law for the use of retail video surveillance in stores. This would also enable customers to opt out of being monitored in certain situations.
Do you think it’s creepy to have your shopping tracked or monitored in stores? Or do you enjoy the benefits of receiving discounts specific to your tastes and interests?
Infographic – Lack of privacy on the Internet and in the real world continues to grow. Many people are becoming aware that what they share on their social networks can find its way to the furthest reaches of the Web. But did you realize that your private life at home could also become public, without your knowledge or consent? Here’s how technologies such as Google Street View and government monitoring initiatives are starting to intrude on people’s personal lives.
Amazon releases the ultimate Big Brother spy device that constantly listens to everything you say in your own home
CNaturalNews) 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.