XKCD's Snarky Look at Home Surveillance Virtual Assistants

· · Cool Stuff Found

Home virtual assistants like Amazon’s Alexa, Google Home, and to a lesser extent, Apple’s Siri, are loved by some and feared by others. Here at TMO, our staff falls on both sides of that line. Most of us love Amazon’s Echo/Dot/Alexa, while I personally hold my nose at the underlying technology and fear its potential for home surveillance. I should add that most of our staff also think I’m flat out wrong. Note that I’m OK with that. Of all the virtual assistant companies, only Apple has a stated position of protecting our privacy, but the company also hasn’t released hardware like Amazon Echo or Dot. Online comic strip XKCD took a snarky, succinct— and yet oblique—look at the subject. I’d love to know what our readers think.

XKCD’s Snarky Look at Home Surveillance Virtual Assistants

Police Turn to Amazon Echo in Homicide Showing How Smarthome Devices Can Spy on Us

· · News

Amazon Echo recordings targeted in police warrant for homicide investigation

Police in Bentonville, Arkansas, obtained a search warrant for the audio captured by an Amazon Echo as part of a homicide investigation, raising concerns over just how much smarthome devices know about us. In the case of the Echo, Amazon says little is being recorded and stored, but that’s not much of a consolation for IoT device owners who’re worried their tech might be used against them by the government.

That Time Apple Patched 3 Zero Day Exploits in Just 10 Days [Update]

· · Editorial

The Spying Eye Waiting in Every Device

Vanity Fair has a great piece about zero day exploits, the black market for selling them (to mostly governments, including repressive regimes), how they’re used to spy, and how the whole thing came to be. The story, which is quite long, is built around a particular piece of sophisticated spyware discovered by a couple of researchers, and Apple’s “engineering feat” that patched against the exploits in just ten days.