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Tag Archives for " Amazon "

Security researchers expose new Alexa and Google Home vulnerability

Security researchers with SRLabs have disclosed a new vulnerability affecting both Google and Amazon smart speakers that could allow hackers to eavesdrop on or even phish unsuspecting users.

By uploading a malicious piece of software disguised as an innocuous Alexa Skill or Google Action, the researchers showed how you can get the smart speakers to silently record users, or even ask them for the password to their Google account. There’s no evidence that this vulnerability has been exploited in the real world, however, and SRLabs disclosed their findings to both Amazon and Google before making them public.

Source: Security researchers expose new Alexa and Google Home vulnerability – The Verge

Amazon is writing facial recognition law

Amazon’s Chief Executive Jeff Bezos said the company’s public policy team is working on proposed regulations around facial recognition, a fledgling technology that has drawn criticism of the technology giant’s cloud computing unit.

Critics have pointed to technology from Amazon and others that struggled to identify the gender of individuals with darker skin in recent studies. That has prompted fears of unjust arrests if the technology is used by more law enforcement agencies to identify suspects.

Source: Amazon CEO says company working on facial recognition regulations – Reuters

Amazon announces privacy updates as its devices expand deeper into the home

Amazon will introduce a new privacy feature for the smart doorbells of its subsidiary Ring called “Home Mode”, which will prevent the doorbell cameras from recording footage when residents are home. Earlier this year, Amazon rolled out “privacy zones” which exclude selected areas in Ring’s field of vision from being recorded or viewed live.

The changes come as Amazon has faced scrutiny for recording customer conversations through Alexa and its public-private partnership with police forces through a smart doorbell company.

Source: Amazon announces privacy updates as its devices expand deeper into the home | Technology | The Guardian

Amazon testing payment system that uses hands as ID

Forget the titanium Apple Card — Amazon’s latest payment method uses flesh and blood.

The e-tailing giant’s engineers are quietly testing scanners that can identify an individual human hand as a way to ring up a store purchase, with the goal of rolling them out at its Whole Foods supermarket chain in the coming months.

Source: Amazon testing payment system that uses hands as ID

Amazon Faces EU Inquiry Over Data From Independent Sellers

European antitrust regulators have opened an investigation into the data that Amazon uses from third-party sellers who rely on the tech company’s site.

The European Union’s top antitrust regulator said on Wednesday that it had opened a formal antitrust investigation into whether Amazon was using the third-party data to promote its own products at the expense of other retailers.

Regulators said they were examining whether Amazon was hurting competition by abusing its dual role as a retailer that sells its own goods and a marketplace where other merchants sell products.

Source: Amazon Faces E.U. Inquiry Over Data From Independent Sellers – The New York Times

Amazon’s helping police build a surveillance network with Ring doorbells

While residential neighborhoods aren’t usually lined with security cameras, the smart doorbell’s popularity has essentially created private surveillance networks powered by Amazon and promoted by police departments.

Police departments across the country, from major cities like Houston to towns with fewer than 30,000 people, have offered free or discounted Ring doorbells to citizens, sometimes using taxpayer funds to pay for Amazon’s products. While Ring owners are supposed to have a choice on providing police footage, in some giveaways, police require recipients to turn over footage when requested.

Source: Amazon’s helping police build a surveillance network with Ring doorbells – CNET

Amazon now lets you tell Alexa to delete your voice recordings

You’ll now be able to say, “Alexa, delete everything I said today.”

Amazon stores recordings of every request you’ve made to an Alexa device (theoretically, to help improve the voice recognition service and other features). Despite this being largely unnecessary, Amazon doesn’t provide a way to disable the long-term storage of voice recordings or have them deleted on a regular basis.

Full article: Amazon now lets you tell Alexa to delete your voice recordings – The Verge

Amazon staff listen to customers’ Alexa recordings

Staff review audio in effort to help AI-powered voice assistant respond to commands.

When Amazon customers speak to Alexa, the company’s AI-powered voice assistant, they may be heard by more people than they expect, according to a report. Amazon employees around the world regularly listen to recordings from the company’s smart speakers as part of the development process for new services.

Source: Amazon staff listen to customers’ Alexa recordings, report says

Why facial recognition’s racial bias problem is so hard to crack

Nearly 40 percent of the false matches by Amazon’s facial recognition tool, which is being used by police, involved people of color.

Tech companies have responded to the criticism by improving the data used to train their facial recognition systems, but they’re also calling for more government regulation to help safeguard the technology from being abused.

Source: Why facial recognition’s racial bias problem is so hard to crack – CNET

A.I. Experts Question Amazon’s Facial-Recognition Technology

At least 25 prominent researchers are calling on the company to stop selling the technology to law enforcement agencies, citing concerns that it has built-in biases.

Amazon sells a product called Rekognition through its cloud-computing division, Amazon Web Services. The company said last year that early customers included the Orlando Police Department in Florida and the Washington County Sheriff’s Office in Oregon.

Source: A.I. Experts Question Amazon’s Facial-Recognition Technology – The New York Times

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