LinuxQuestions.org
Help answer threads with 0 replies.
Go Back   LinuxQuestions.org > Forums > Non-*NIX Forums > General
User Name
Password
General This forum is for non-technical general discussion which can include both Linux and non-Linux topics. Have fun!

Notices


Reply
  Search this Thread
Old 05-04-2017, 06:36 PM   #1
gregwilson
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: May 2017
Posts: 2

Rep: Reputation: Disabled
Is the Amazon Echo and Google Home a spying device for the NSA


Hello folks,

I was thinking of getting one of these devices. Reminds me of HAL from 2010, but I heard speculations that these are spying devices. So, I'm like wrestling the idea of getting one just for amusement or not. What are your thoughts on these devices?

Last edited by gregwilson; 05-04-2017 at 06:56 PM.
 
Old 05-04-2017, 06:38 PM   #2
Jeebizz
Senior Member
 
Registered: May 2004
Distribution: Slackware 14.2 64-bit with multilib
Posts: 2,373

Rep: Reputation: 636Reputation: 636Reputation: 636Reputation: 636Reputation: 636Reputation: 636
I sure as hell wouldn't get one, and that includes Amazon's device too. I already made the mistake of having a smartphone, so that is the only 'smart' device I have.
 
Old 05-04-2017, 08:52 PM   #3
gregwilson
LQ Newbie
 
Registered: May 2017
Posts: 2

Original Poster
Rep: Reputation: Disabled
I might get one as it looks cool and amusing at the same time. And even if the NSA is listening, I am going to ask boring questions to it. I will use it mostly to get quick answers when I don't feel like turning on the computer, the radio or even my phone.

It's a novelty thing in my opinion, I don't considered it to be fully A.I yet, maybe it's partially there. It would take a long time to be fully A.I where it can feel you are talking with another human. It can get pretty monotonous saying alexa or OK google.

Jeebizz, I appreciate the reply.
 
Old 05-04-2017, 09:52 PM   #4
frankbell
LQ Guru
 
Registered: Jan 2006
Location: Virginia, USA
Distribution: Slackware, Debian, Mageia, and whatever VMs I happen to be playing with
Posts: 12,482
Blog Entries: 16

Rep: Reputation: 3206Reputation: 3206Reputation: 3206Reputation: 3206Reputation: 3206Reputation: 3206Reputation: 3206Reputation: 3206Reputation: 3206Reputation: 3206Reputation: 3206
I don't think they are spying devices for the NSA.

They are spying devices for Amazon and Google and MS and whoever the heck else makes this junk.

It never ceases to amaze me that persons fret about the NSA, who however misguidedly think they are patriots, and then willingly run nekkid through Google, Amazon, Facebook, etc., who are only in it for the money.

Furrfu.
 
Old 05-05-2017, 08:19 AM   #5
sundialsvcs
LQ Guru
 
Registered: Feb 2004
Location: SE Tennessee, USA
Distribution: Gentoo, LFS
Posts: 8,444
Blog Entries: 4

Rep: Reputation: 2896Reputation: 2896Reputation: 2896Reputation: 2896Reputation: 2896Reputation: 2896Reputation: 2896Reputation: 2896Reputation: 2896Reputation: 2896Reputation: 2896
They certainly are spying devices – but your camera- and microphone-equipped computer can be, too. So can your phone.

Never mind "the NSA." Corporations are collecting the information, and there are presently no laws(!!) regulating its gathering or its dissemination ... anywhere on Planet Earth.
 
Old 05-05-2017, 02:00 PM   #6
Jeebizz
Senior Member
 
Registered: May 2004
Distribution: Slackware 14.2 64-bit with multilib
Posts: 2,373

Rep: Reputation: 636Reputation: 636Reputation: 636Reputation: 636Reputation: 636Reputation: 636
This is interesting and relevant:

Quote:
https://www.rt.com/uk/387277-cyber-s...-surveillance/
New powers could allow British cyber spooks to spy on you in real time, without encryption

The British government is seeking new powers to remove encryption and force phone networks and internet service providers (ISPs) to give real-time access to a named individual’s content within one working day.
 
Old 05-05-2017, 08:40 PM   #7
jefro
Moderator
 
Registered: Mar 2008
Posts: 16,854

Rep: Reputation: 2486Reputation: 2486Reputation: 2486Reputation: 2486Reputation: 2486Reputation: 2486Reputation: 2486Reputation: 2486Reputation: 2486Reputation: 2486Reputation: 2486
If NSA was smart enough to invest in Google and Amazon then I take my hat off to them.

It's silly to suspect that NSA is behind every product. Sheeze.

The data that anyone on the planet can gather has some value. Everyone that has a way to turn that data into a product is out for it.

The modern voice are possibly less dangerous than the billions of computer web cams that can record video and audio.
 
Old 05-06-2017, 01:26 AM   #8
ondoho
LQ Addict
 
Registered: Dec 2013
Posts: 6,172
Blog Entries: 2

Rep: Reputation: 1487Reputation: 1487Reputation: 1487Reputation: 1487Reputation: 1487Reputation: 1487Reputation: 1487Reputation: 1487Reputation: 1487Reputation: 1487
Quote:
Originally Posted by gregwilson View Post
I heard speculations that these are spying devices.
aren't all google and amazon devices?
 
Old 05-07-2017, 10:07 AM   #9
dave@burn-it.co.uk
Member
 
Registered: Sep 2011
Distribution: Puppy
Posts: 292

Rep: Reputation: 93
Why do these devices need to be conected to an external phone line?
The commands are sent to a powerful computer/or person that filters out, but has to listen to, background conversation. That in itself ought to be enough to worry any potential user.

Oh yes! yes! do it again! I love it when you turn me on that way!!


Oh! Sorry darling I wanted the sound turning up again on the TV
 
Old 05-07-2017, 10:31 AM   #10
273
LQ Addict
 
Registered: Dec 2011
Location: UK
Distribution: Debian Sid AMD64, Raspbian Wheezy, various VMs
Posts: 6,765

Rep: Reputation: 1932Reputation: 1932Reputation: 1932Reputation: 1932Reputation: 1932Reputation: 1932Reputation: 1932Reputation: 1932Reputation: 1932Reputation: 1932Reputation: 1932
Only anecdotal but I read in the comments on an article on The Register* that the Amazon device only transmits data in the network after it identifies the keyword ("Alexa", or whatever it is) and, until that point, there's not network traffic no matter what is said to it. Now, that doesn't mean that the informatin which is transmitted won't be shared around, just that this isn't a device producing constant stream of surveillance.
If I had one I'd be tempted to do something like connect it to the internet via a Raspberry Pi or similar and have a light go on when it was transmitting data.
I haven't used the Amazon products but I have to admit that "OK Google" impressed me by being able to understand my team leader's accent (he's originally from Glasgow).
Edit: This may be the article I referred to above -- either way it's pertinent.
(*UK tech site www.theregister.co.uk)

Last edited by 273; 05-07-2017 at 10:33 AM.
 
Old 05-07-2017, 11:46 AM   #11
ondoho
LQ Addict
 
Registered: Dec 2013
Posts: 6,172
Blog Entries: 2

Rep: Reputation: 1487Reputation: 1487Reputation: 1487Reputation: 1487Reputation: 1487Reputation: 1487Reputation: 1487Reputation: 1487Reputation: 1487Reputation: 1487
Quote:
Originally Posted by 273 View Post
Only anecdotal but I read in the comments on an article on The Register* that the Amazon device only transmits data in the network after it identifies the keyword ("Alexa", or whatever it is) and, until that point, there's not network traffic no matter what is said to it.
it could still have been collecting all sorts of data & processing it silently, only waiting for the keyword to finally transmit it...
 
Old 05-07-2017, 11:51 AM   #12
273
LQ Addict
 
Registered: Dec 2011
Location: UK
Distribution: Debian Sid AMD64, Raspbian Wheezy, various VMs
Posts: 6,765

Rep: Reputation: 1932Reputation: 1932Reputation: 1932Reputation: 1932Reputation: 1932Reputation: 1932Reputation: 1932Reputation: 1932Reputation: 1932Reputation: 1932Reputation: 1932
Quote:
Originally Posted by ondoho View Post
it could still have been collecting all sorts of data & processing it silently, only waiting for the keyword to finally transmit it...
Possibly, the comment suggested that the data transmitted wasn't much but, yes, only anecdotal. The commentards* on The Register do tend to do things like hook things up to packet sniffers so, while I'd like to see it for myself, I don't think it was a case of when "Alexa" was said 500GB of data suddenly moved.


*Affectionate way of referring to people commenting on articles.
 
Old 05-07-2017, 12:12 PM   #13
Doug G
Member
 
Registered: Jul 2013
Posts: 749

Rep: Reputation: Disabled
So my Aunt has a captioning phone so she can still participate in phone conversations that she can't hear well. Should I disconnect it because of a spying worry since all her phone conversations on that phone are processed by an external server?

There are some trade-offs you must make if you want to enjoy using new technology.
 
Old 05-07-2017, 12:28 PM   #14
ondoho
LQ Addict
 
Registered: Dec 2013
Posts: 6,172
Blog Entries: 2

Rep: Reputation: 1487Reputation: 1487Reputation: 1487Reputation: 1487Reputation: 1487Reputation: 1487Reputation: 1487Reputation: 1487Reputation: 1487Reputation: 1487
Quote:
Originally Posted by 273 View Post
I don't think it was a case of when "Alexa" was said 500GB of data suddenly moved.
that's why i said "processing it silently" - meaning locally on the device - and then only a small text file with the results would have to be transmitted, maybe how often and in what situations keywords were used, i don't know, usage analytics stuff.

Last edited by ondoho; 05-07-2017 at 12:29 PM.
 
Old 05-07-2017, 12:34 PM   #15
273
LQ Addict
 
Registered: Dec 2011
Location: UK
Distribution: Debian Sid AMD64, Raspbian Wheezy, various VMs
Posts: 6,765

Rep: Reputation: 1932Reputation: 1932Reputation: 1932Reputation: 1932Reputation: 1932Reputation: 1932Reputation: 1932Reputation: 1932Reputation: 1932Reputation: 1932Reputation: 1932
Quote:
Originally Posted by ondoho View Post
that's why i said "processing it silently" - meaning locally on the device - and then only a small text file with the results would have to be transmitted, maybe how often and in what situations keywords were used, i don't know, usage analytics stuff.
Well, perhaps, but I think that it's telling that most data beyond recognising the word "Alexa" is processed by "the cloud" and not locally. I know voice recognition is better nowadays but it still seem to me that stand alone machines can't really do it properly.
Not disagreeing, by the way, just pointing out that I don't think it probable at present.
 
  


Reply


Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off



Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter Forum Replies Last Post
LXer: What’s the Cost of NSA Spying? LXer Syndicated Linux News 8 04-19-2015 12:32 PM
LXer: NSA spying will ultimately benefit us all LXer Syndicated Linux News 2 12-03-2013 10:33 AM
LXer: NSA spying will ultimately benefit us all LXer Syndicated Linux News 0 12-02-2013 10:21 PM
LXer: Google encrypts data amid backlash against NSA spying LXer Syndicated Linux News 0 09-07-2013 04:01 PM

LinuxQuestions.org > Forums > Non-*NIX Forums > General

All times are GMT -5. The time now is 09:58 AM.

Main Menu
Advertisement
My LQ
Write for LQ
LinuxQuestions.org is looking for people interested in writing Editorials, Articles, Reviews, and more. If you'd like to contribute content, let us know.
Main Menu
Syndicate
RSS1  Latest Threads
RSS1  LQ News
Twitter: @linuxquestions
Facebook: linuxquestions Google+: linuxquestions
Open Source Consulting | Domain Registration