You saw this one coming right?
The Amazon Echo is a perfect way for the government to spy on citizens. Sure, Amazon rejects requests for the data but that doesn’t obviate the two big issues here.
The first is that the audio and data are recorded and kept. If it’s stored, even briefly, then hackers can get it. Especially state actors. The courts may yet force companies to give it up.
The second and larger issue is that we don’t have laws protecting the privacy of our data. We need regulations that keep up with changing technology. We need rules that favor citizens, not companies, and certainly not governements.
Bid for Access to Amazon Echo Audio in Murder Case Raises Privacy Concerns http://nyti.ms/2huPxwl
Smart devices equal surveillance devices.
Don’t worry that the staff here at NobodyisFlyingthePlane has gone anti tech. It’s just that we promote thoughtful implementation, use, and management of technology.
Devices like Alexa will ultimately take more from us than they give to us. It’s essentially a State Security wet dream. They can listen in to everything that goes on in our homes because we let them. I’m sure Amazon is already receiving subpoenas for in home recordings from Alexa. This is the sort of thing that needs thoughtful policies and regulations forbiding miss use.
At its most expansive, “smart” produces a world where we no longer exert control over objects we’ve bought from corporations, but corporations exert control over us through things we pay for the privilege of using. And when “smart” is crudely applied to the cities we live in — to our crumbling infrastructure and militarized police forces — we give in to forces of privatization, algorithmic control and rule by corporate contract. It seems an indelible symbol of the times that New York City neglects essential but mundane services like public restrooms while promoting other putative municipal innovations, like the mass conversion of pay phones to Wi-Fi kiosks. As with other smart devices, which subsidize their costs with data collection, these kiosks are free — provided you submit to the collection of your personal information and location data. The commons becomes simply another site for private companies to spy on people.
Just How ‘Smart’ Do You Want Your Blender to Be? http://nyti.ms/1rnrsZO
Another example of why health insurance and employment shouldn’t be tied together.
Employee wellness programs are mostly great, but ‘required’ participation is problematic. Requiring employees to provide private data and health info or fining them if they dont is not voluntary participant as required by the law.
Effectively employees required to give biometric info to participate removes consumer choice from the market place. Employees can’t move to other health plans which dont misuse their data without leaving their jobs.
This is good for corporations but not for people.
The Sticks and Carrots of Employee Wellness Programs http://nyti.ms/1KL0ttz
Kudos to Bobby Jindal for getting it right on privacy. License plate readers pose far greater harm to society than any law enforcement benefit they could possibly provide.
Of course private companies will get their hands on this data. In no world should it be ok for private companies to know where we are.
The use of predictive data for criminal sentencing is bad news for everyone. Philip K. Dick wrote an instructive story about this bad idea.
Just imagine where this will head when the States get their hands on even more personal data. It could even be used as an excuse for States together more personal data than they do now.
This is one of those places we need to draw the line.
NYTimes: Sentencing, by the Numbers
Gathering and using your personal data against you isn’t just for the government and corporations. Researchers have always wanted to get their hands on your personal info.
The problem is when you don’t know that you or your data are the subject of a study.
We need some strong protection for our personal data and we need it now.
The staff here is a big fan of research studies and large datasets, but there needs to be some standards for how this info is gathered and used. We are not, however, at all in favor of manipulating people’s online experience without their knowledge.
Tweaking the user interface (or UX) is one thing. Feeding certain users bad news and then seeing if they get depressed is just wrong.
NYTimes: As Data Overflows Online, Researchers Grapple With Ethics
I can’t agree with the author’s conclusion that Cop Cams are necessary. I do agree with the concerns he has about the negative impact of using them.
One figure is telling. Less than 1% of police citizen interactions involve force. So we want to record all police citizen interactions to deal with the perceived problem of less than less than 1% of interaction in which for is used inappropriately.
Just because the technology to record these interactions exist doesn’t mean we should use it. There are other better ways to improve interactions between police and citizens.
The Lost Language of Privacy http://nyti.ms/1NBoaMD