security
Your Google Home and Alexa Can Be Used to Eavesdrop and Phish For Your Passwords

It’s no secret that smart speakers are listening in on you despite the excuses that manufacturers make. But while you may have thought it was just Google and Amazon listening in, security researchers have found Alexa and Google Assistant speakers can be manipulated by hackers to eavesdrop and phish for your passwords. Read More >>

alexa
All the Ways That Amazon Is Fixing Alexa

Amazon announced a bunch of new stuff at a big event in Seattle today. Chief among them are a volley of new features and improved functionalities for Alexa. Some of them are pretty neat. One of them involves Samuel L. Jackson. Read More >>

google
Google Changing Privacy Protections for Assistant, Plans to Auto-Delete More of Your Audio Data

In recent months, it became clear that Google, Apple, and Amazon were all guilty of having humans review audio recordings collected by digital assistants. Today, Google’s trying to mitigate some of the backlash by updating and clarifying its policies on what it does with your audio data. Read More >>

BBC
The BBC is Developing its Own Voice Assistant So You Might Not Hand Your Data Over to Big Tech

There are plenty of voice assistants out there already, so there's got to be a good reason for someone wanting to wade into a fairly established marketplace with their own. For the BBC, that incentive is your data. Read More >>

samsung
Samsung Wants to Combat Bullying Over The Colour of Text Message Bubbles

A lot of people are really weird about the colour of text message bubbles. For some reason, unbeknownst to me, a message can somehow be more offensive if it is presented on an iPhone within a green bubble instead of a blue bubble. Read More >>

microsoft
Your Xbox is Listening to You, and So Are Microsoft’s Contractors

Microsoft Xbox owners will bummed to learn that humans have been listening to some of their voice commands. Motherboard recently spoke to a number of Microsoft contractors who said they’d been hired by the company to review Xbox and Cortana voice commands to improve the technology. This is the same sort of thing that’s been happening with all kinds of voice assistants lately, but that doesn’t make it any less unsettling. Read More >>

facebook
Facebook Did the Sneaky Listening Thing Too

Facebook has paid hundreds of contractors around the world to transcribe some of its users Messenger messages, according to a new Bloomberg report. The social network stopped doing the transcriptions a week ago, following public outrage after journalists revealed that Amazon, Google, and Apple employed similar teams to review voice commands for Alexa, Assistant, and Siri. But this Facebook news is somehow more foreboding than anything we’ve heard before. Read More >>

privacy
Amazon Really Doesn’t Care, Huh?

Apple and Google recently revealed that they have temporarily stopped letting contractors listen to recordings from their voice assistants. The announcements come after reports that some of these hired hands heard Siri users doing things like having sex or discussing private medical information. Amazon has not announced a pause in its process of letting humans listen to Alexa recordings, and that’s not a big surprise. Humans are bound to be a part of this process. Read More >>

alexa
Lawsuits Claim Amazon’s Alexa Voice Assistant Illegally Records Children Without Consent

In the US, a pair of federal lawsuits against Amazon seeking class action status allege that the e-commerce giant’s Alexa voice assistant technology “routinely records and voiceprints millions of children without their consent or the consent of their parents,” breaking laws in nine states, the Seattle Times reported on Wednesday. Read More >>

privacy
The Terrible Truth About Alexa

This week, I read through a history of everything I’ve said to Alexa, and it felt a little bit like reading an old diary. Until I remembered that the things I’ve told Alexa in private are stored on an Amazon server and have possibly been read by an Amazon employee. This is all to make Alexa better, the company keeps saying. However, to many people, it’s not immediately obvious how humans interacting with your seemingly private voice commands is anything other than surveillance. Alexa, these people say, is a spy hiding in a wiretapping device. Read More >>

apple
Yes, Apple. Siri Is Extremely Terrible

Apple is hiring an analyst, but not just any old analyst. It’s hiring someone to sift through the social media hellscape and parse just how customers really feel about its voice assistant Siri. Read More >>

alexa
Here’s an Alexa Idea I Actually Like

While it’s hard not to roll your eyes at voice assistants getting added to every single thing in the smart home, a hospital in the US city of Los Angeles is actually putting Amazon Alexa to good use. About 100 patient rooms at Cedars-Sinai will now be equipped with Amazon Echos to help patients and caregivers interact more efficiently. Read More >>

gadgets
The Best Smart Display For Controlling Your Dumb Home

So you’ve invested in smart lights, a connected security camera, a couple of smart plugs, and probably a smart speaker or two around your house. You’re thinking of maybe adding a robot vacuum to the mix. But the idea of adding yet another app to your already cluttered phone is exhausting—what do you do? Read More >>

NHS
The NHS Will Use Alexa To Find At-Risk Patients

We've already heard that smart speakers like Google Home and Amazon Echo might soon be able to call 999 for you (but in the meantime, please don't rely on Alexa to contact the authorities), and now it seems they'll perform another vital role in the UK. Read More >>

technology
CES 2019: I’m on a Boat—in the Middle of the Desert

I don’t have my swim trunks or my flippy-floppies, and there aren’t any dolphins anywhere, but you can’t stop me ‘cause I’m on a boat. Read More >>