While Google is good at revealing MS and Apple security flaws, it’s been up to its own version of one of Stuxnet’s modules: Google watches and listens to you – without your knowledge or permission, of course.
If you remember, Stuxnet had a module which could record pictures and conversations covertly while spying (presumptively on hostile governments’ activities) using the person’s computer.
You’ll also remember that there’s an “interactive” doll which could listen in on household conversations (although not specifically designed to do so) and transmit them to the manufacturer’s cloud site “for product improvement”.
Well, now Google’s doing it (audio only) through Chrome, and a module it surreptitiously installed on the browser…and that makes me wonder about the Android OS and all those devices out there…
Rick Falkvinge originally discovered this Google invasion of privacy (see here).
Yesterday, news broke that Google has been stealth downloading audio listeners onto every computer that runs Chrome, and transmits audio data back to Google. Effectively, this means that Google had taken itself the right to listen to every conversation in every room that runs Chrome somewhere, without any kind of consent from the people eavesdropped on. In official statements, Google shrugged off the practice with what amounts to “we can do that”. – Falkvinge
For more, you can read the source, here.
“Google announced that it has since removed the component and emphasized that the feature activation was optional.
A Google spokesman told the Guardian this week: “We’re sure you’ll be relieved to learn we’re not listening to your conversations – nor do we want to. We’re simply giving Chrome users the ability to search hands free at their computers by saying “OK Google” while on the Google homepage – and only if they choose to opt in to the feature.” – Times of Israel
Yeah. I’m sure. The fact they did it without announcing it makes any ‘removal’ (like anyone would really know if it were removed?) a matter of “catch up”. Also, if it was removed, why would the computer (Israeli blogger in Melbourne’s) behave as it did?
Well, just so you know. I wonder if I can disable it…or if disabling it actually does so?
Wouldn't it be nice if Google actually told the truth? Wouldn't it be even nicer if this "helper" module could be uninstalled on demand?
From my computer today, despite Google's spokesperson's assurances re having uninstalled it: