Amazon reportedly employs thousands of people to listen to your Alexa conversations

Posted by & filed under Amazon, Civil Liberties, Privacy.

Not only is Alexa listening when you speak to an Echo smart speaker, an Amazon employee is potentially listening, too.Amazon (AMZN) employs a global team that transcribes the voice commands captured after the wake word is detected and feeds them back into the software to help improve Alexa’s grasp of human speech so it can respond more efficiently in the… Read more »

Why you can expect more spam text messages from politicians

Posted by & filed under Cybersecurity, Privacy.

Many Canadians were surprised this weekend when their phones were buzzed by an incoming spam text from an unexpected political source. The Conservative Party of Canada mass-texted millions of randomly generated phone numbers in Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Ontario and New Brunswick, telling recipients that gasoline prices were about to spike and they should fill up. The texts were… Read more »

Health Canada starts releasing protected drug and medical device data

Posted by & filed under Ethical Issues, ethics, health, Privacy.

Nonie Wideman said a plastic mesh she had surgically implanted to support her bladder gave her debilitating health problems. Health Canada rejected her multiple requests to see the clinical evidence the department used to approve the mesh for use in Canada. (Craig Chivers/CBC) Source: CBC News Date: March 15th, 2019 Link: https://www.cbc.ca/news/health/health-canada-drug-device-database-1.5054838 Discussion 1) “Canadians want greater access to credible… Read more »

How Alexa knows the difference between a breaking window and a wine glass

Posted by & filed under Amazon, Privacy.

For Amazon, getting Alexa’s new security-guard feature to work meant literally breaking a lot of windows. In December, the company started inviting Amazon Echo users to try out Alexa Guard, a new setting that turns the smart speakers into home security devices. It listens for suspicious sounds when you’re away and sends a smartphone alert if it detects, say,… Read more »

Bell wants permission to gather and track customer data

Posted by & filed under Privacy.

Canada’s largest telecommunications group is getting mixed reviews for its plan to follow the lead of companies like Google and Facebook in collecting massive amounts of information about the activities and preferences of its customers. Bell Canada began asking its customers in December for permission to track everything they do with their home and mobile… Read more »

Privacy watchdog warns of ‘critical tipping point’ as Canada stakes ground in digital economy

Posted by & filed under Privacy.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau looks at a quantum ready cybersecurity device from Crypto4A as he participates in a tour of Bayview Yards, a business acceleration hub, in Ottawa Source: CBC News Date: December 6th, 2018 Link: Discussion 1) “The federal privacy watchdog is warning the Liberal government that it must not trade privacy rights for commercial gain as… Read more »

StatsCan’s plan to harvest private banking info on hold, pending investigation

Posted by & filed under Privacy.

The country’s chief statistician says his agency’s controversial plan to harvest individuals’ banking information is on hold until the privacy commissioner completes an investigation into widespread concerns about the project. Statistics Canada recently caught nine financial institutions off-guard by asking them to share the private banking information of Canadians in 500,000 dwellings across the country…. Read more »

Tim Cook blasts ‘weaponisation’ of personal data and praises GDPR

Posted by & filed under Apple, GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation), Privacy.

Apple chief executive Tim Cook has demanded a tough new US data protection law, in an unusual speech in Europe. Referring to the misuse of “deeply personal” data, he said it was being “weaponised against us with military efficiency”. “We shouldn’t sugar-coat the consequences,” he added. “This is surveillance.” The strongly-worded speech presented a striking… Read more »

Siri is your new customer service rep

Posted by & filed under Careers, Privacy, Security.

The folks behind some of the technology in Siri, the iPhone’s virtual personal assistant, are bringing their voice recognotion technology to customer service applications, including bank, cable and credit card smartphone apps. Nuance Communications (NUAN) last week announced the creation of “Nina,” a natural human language input software that is designed to understand customers’ questions about their… Read more »