Tag Archives: home security

Another reason to not have Amazon technology in your home: Workers reportedly watching home security camera footage

Why anyone would put any of this “SMART” technology in their home is their business. You’ll never find it in mine.

Business Insider reports that Amazon workers in India and Romania are watching footage of Cloud Cam home security recordings in order to improve the AI technology. From their report:

Amazon reviews these video recordings to improve the performance of its Cloud Cam, helping it to better distinguish between an intruder and normal household activity. Amazon’s review team has in some cases assessed up to 150 video clips per day that are usually 20 to 30 seconds long, according to Bloomberg.

Amazon only reviews clips that are submitted by Cloud Cam owners for troubleshooting purposes, as well as those from employee testers, according to Bloomberg. However, two of the people Bloomberg spoke with said that footage submitted for review in rare cases included private interactions, such as recordings of sexual activity.

Customers can share a specific clip with Amazon to improve the device’s performance through the Cloud Cam’s feedback option, the company says. When a clip is shared, Amazon says it “may get annotated and used for supervised learning to improve the accuracy of Cloud Cam’s computer vision systems.

Amazon’s terms of service agreement for the Cloud Cam doesn’t explicitly say that the company’s workers may view footage recorded by the camera. It does, however, say that the customer grants Amazon permission to “review your Cloud Cam recordings to provide technical support.”

Read the whole story here.

See also:

A better communicator: Amazon’s Alexa tells user, “kill your foster parents”
While the owner is away the parrot will play (and order items from Amazon Alexa)
Police think Alexa may have witnessed a double slaying, want Amazon to turn her over

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A better communicator: Amazon’s Alexa tells user, “kill your foster parents”

From Yahoo: Millions of users of Amazon’s Echo speakers have grown accustomed to the soothing strains of Alexa, the human-sounding virtual assistant that can tell them the weather, order takeout and handle other basic tasks in response to a voice command.

So a customer was shocked last year when Alexa blurted out: “Kill your foster parents.”

Alexa has also chatted with users about sex acts. She gave a discourse on dog defecation. And this summer, a hack Amazon traced back to China may have exposed some customers’ data, according to five people familiar with the events.

Alexa is not having a breakdown.

The episodes, previously unreported, arise from Amazon.com Inc’s strategy to make Alexa a better communicator. New research is helping Alexa mimic human banter and talk about almost anything she finds on the internet. However, ensuring she does not offend users has been a challenge for the world’s largest online retailer.

At stake is a fast-growing market for gadgets with virtual assistants. An estimated two-thirds of U.S. smart-speaker customers, about 43 million people, use Amazon’s Echo devices, according to research firm eMarketer. It is a lead the company wants to maintain over the Google Home from Alphabet Inc and the HomePod from Apple Inc.

Over time, Amazon wants to get better at handling complex customer needs through Alexa, be they home security, shopping or companionship.

“Many of our AI dreams are inspired by science fiction,” said Rohit Prasad, Amazon’s vice president and head scientist of Alexa Artificial Intelligence (AI), during a talk last month in Las Vegas.

To make that happen, the company in 2016 launched the annual Alexa Prize, enlisting computer science students to improve the assistant’s conversation skills. Teams vie for the $500,000 first prize by creating talking computer systems known as chatbots that allow Alexa to attempt more sophisticated discussions with people.

Amazon customers can participate by saying “let’s chat” to their devices. Alexa then tells users that one of the bots will take over, unshackling the voice aide’s normal constraints. From August to November alone, three bots that made it to this year’s finals had 1.7 million conversations, Amazon said.

Read the whole story here.

See also:

While the owner is away the parrot will play (and order items from Amazon Alexa)
Police think Alexa may have witnessed a double slaying, want Amazon to turn her over
Amazon launches program to get Alexa in hotel rooms

DCG

Better than Drudge Report. Check out Whatfinger News, the Internet’s conservative frontpage founded by ex-military!

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New search engine lets anyone spy on your webcam

A new website called Shodan enables anyone to spy on your webcam, seeing everything that the webcam sees, such as the interior of your home.
So if you have a webcam installed either inside or outside your home, make sure you set a password for your webcam.
privacy
Jennings Brown and Adi Cohen report for Vocativ, Jan. 25, 2016, that a new feature on Shodan, the most popular search engine for the Internet of Things, just made it a lot easier for anyone to find your webcam feeds. And it’s even creepier than you can imagine.
Shodan is a website that scans the internet for publicly accessible devices and captures their IP addresses—creating a searchable index that includes everything from in-home surveillance cameras to traffic lights to fetal heart monitors to power switches for hospitals. Essentially, any device that doesn’t have a password is up for grabs.
Programmer John Matherly developed Shodan in 2009 when he was a teenager, and he originally thought his pet project would help large tech companies see who was using their devices. But now the website is mostly used by hackers and researchers. Until recently, Shodan was used almost exclusively within the cybersecurity community, because searches require a general understanding of technical language. But a new feature has made it easier for anyone to peek people’s home surveillance devices. The new channel includes screen grabs of security camera feeds along with their location.
As Ars Technica reports, Shodan members who pay the $49 monthly fee can search the full feed at images.shodan.io. A Vocativ search of some of the most recently added images shows offices, school, porches and the interior of people’s homes. Accompanying each of these grabs is a pinned map that shows the location of the device capturing that footage.
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The site also offers free memberships that allow anyone to search through thousands of webcams. Most of these devices require a password to view the feed (Shodan users have written a few articles about the most-used passwords so that others can easily hack feeds), but many people don’t set up password authentication on their devices. Such cameras are easily accessed through Shodan, and many of them can even be controlled by Shodan users.
The authors of the Vocativ article tried out Shodan for themselves.
Moments after setting up a free account on Shodan, they were able to access and maneuver several security cameras within people’s homes, even moving the webcam’s views from left to right, down and up. Here’s a screenshot of the view from a webcam inside someone’s home:
Shodan3
Shodan also provided the general location where each of the live feeds were coming from, which means it would not be difficult to track down those homes and figure out when their owner is away.
So, if you value your privacy and security, set up a password on all your connected devices!
~Eowyn

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