Computers aren't just getting smarter, they're studying us more closely too. Whether it's in the name of public safety, fraud protection or simple convenience, we're feeding AI systems details that identify us and track our comings and goings.Equipped with electronic ears, eyes and brains, a sea of devices now monitor human activity and characteristics. The list includes everything from smart speakers, laptops and phones, to even doorbells and locks. You may not have noticed this trend, but it's real, and growing. CNET has spent the last two weeks documenting the current state of facial recognition technology, but that's just one method of gathering data directly from your person. Here are a few examples of how other biometric technologies have seeped into the fabric of daily life, and where things could go next. Fingerprint readers everywhere Devices that can read, capture and match fingerprints to specific individuals have been with us for decades. In 1969, the FBI … [Read more...] about Amazon, Google, AI and us: Are we too close for comfort?
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Facial recognition is a blossoming field of technology that is at once exciting and problematic. If you've ever unlocked your iPhone by looking at it, or asked Facebook or Google to go through an unsorted album and show you pictures of your kids, you've seen facial recognition in action. Whether you want it to or not, facial recognition (sometimes called simply "face recognition") is poised to play an ever-growing role in your life. Your face could be scanned at airports or concerts with or without your knowledge. You could be targeted by personalized ads thanks to cameras at shopping malls. Facial recognition has plenty of upside. The tech could help smart home gadgets get smarter, sending you notifications based on who it sees and offering more convenient access to friends and family. But at the very least, facial recognition raises questions of privacy. Experts have concerns ranging from the overreach of law enforcement, to systems with hidden racial biases, to hackers gaining … [Read more...] about Facial recognition: Apple, Amazon, Google and the race for your face
A recent data breach has exposed a database of around 26 million text messages containing private customer information, reports TechCrunch. In addition to the privacy concerns, the breach also highlights the dangers of relying on SMS messages for receiving two-factor authentication codes or account reset links, which sees sensitive information sent over an unencrypted communications platform. The breach was brought to light by a Berlin-based security researcher named Sébastien Kaul, who discovered that the Vovox-managed database was discoverable, unprotected, and easily searchable for both names and telephone numbers. Since the server was still active after the breach was discovered, anyone could have monitored a near-real-time data stream to find the relevant two-factor authentication code sent after trying to log into someone else’s account. Only after being contacted by TechCrunch did Vovox take down the database, which contained text messages sent to customers from … [Read more...] about Major SMS security lapse is a reminder to use authenticator apps instead
If you're investing in a smart home, make sure your Wi-Fi network is secure. Jerry Gamblin, a popular hacker and self-professed security advocate, posted a blog onto his site detailing security vulnerabilities in the new Google Home Hub. The Home Hub is Google's recently released smart display that combines the voice controlled functionality of a smart speaker with a touchscreen for watching videos or scrolling through recipes. Gamblin tweeted out his findings:Another of his tweets called the Home Hub's security "dismal." In short, Gamblin found that you could use pieces of the Home Hub's code to remotely control the device and potentially put a user's information at risk. Gamblin didn't access specific user information in his hack, but he was able to remotely reboot the device, erase certain settings, and turn off notifications. Everything the Google Home Hub can do 14 Photos Google has responded to Gamblin's work. A spokesperson pointed out to CNET that by his own … [Read more...] about Google calls Home Hub security claims ‘inaccurate’
The US government has called six tech companies to testify in front of the Senate about the privacy protections they deploy to safeguard consumer data and their privacy.The six companies asked to attend are Apple, Amazon, AT&T, Charter, Google, and Twitter. Social media giant Facebook was not on the list, but the company has recently faced at least two Senate hearings --one for the massive Cambridge Analytica privacy scandal, and a second, together with Twitter, on foreign political influence campaigns in the US carried out via social media.The meeting will take place on September 26, two weeks from now, and the companies, if they decide to attend, will answer questions from the Senate Committee on Commerce, Science, and Transportation.Also: State Department shamed for poor adoption of multi-factor authenticationUS Sen. John Thune (R-S.D.), the Committee's chairman, said the companies would have to "explain their approaches to privacy," but also how they plan to address the GDPR … [Read more...] about Apple, Amazon, Google, others called to testify on consumer privacy protections