29 ene 2018

Technologies

Everyday technology like Fitbits and Roombas have data collection abilities that continue to frighten us

These walls — and phones and fitness devices — have ears.

Data collected on Fitbits and posted online may have revealed the location of clandestine operations from as recent as last year.
While the news could indeed come as a shock, it's not the first time everyday technology has scooped up our information — and made us feel less safe.

In fact, automated vacuums and televisions have grabbed personal data we didn't want — or think could get — out there.

Fitbit

heatmap
Data compiled by Strava, the GPS company that tracks Fitbit usage, is posted on a map showing most of the activity around the world.
But parts of its Global Heat Map revealed flecks of color in otherwise dark areas, including Syria and Somalia, which the Washington Post reported could be the location of the secret bases.

Forces fighting ISIS told the newspaper Monday it was changing policies on how soldiers in the U.S.-led effort use the Fitbits. "The Coalition is in the process of implementing refined guidance on privacy settings for wireless technologies and applications, and such technologies are forbidden at certain Coalition sites and during certain activities," a statement from Central Command to the Washington Post read.

WikiLeaks offers $100,000 reward for secret JFK files. The Pentagon handed out 2,500 of the devices in 2013 to promote fitness, the paper noted.

Roombas

Roomba came under fire last year after it was initially reported that parent company iRobot wanted to sell data the vacuums collected. The company later said it had no plans to do so. (EUGENE HOSHIKO/AP)

Roomba came under fire last year after it was initially reported that parent company iRobot wanted to sell data the vacuums collected. The company later said it had no plans to do so. (EUGENE HOSHIKO/AP)

Couldn't sweep this one under the rug.

iRobot CEO Colin Angle whipped up some dirt last year when he told Reuters the company's Roomba vacuums were moving into data collection.

For years, the automatic sweepers noted the locations of a home's walls. Initially, Reuters reported, the company planned to sell those floorplans to companies like GoogleAmazon and Apple.

But iRobot later clarified to the New York Times last July, "We have not formed any plans to sell data." Reuters later corrected its story to say Roomba maps may be shared with a homeowner's approval, but the data wouldn't be sold.

The suggestion, however, raised a number of privacy issues. "Your friendly little Roomba could soon become a creepy little spy that sells maps of your house to advertisers," Canadian nonprofit OpenMedia tweeted at the time.

Uber

Uber's "God View" program became one of several controversies for the San Francisco-based technology giant. (ERIC RISBERG/AP)

Uber's "God View" program became one of several controversies for the San Francisco-based technology giant. (ERIC RISBERG/AP)

The rideshare powerhouse hit a major road bump in 2014, when Buzzfeed reported on its ominous "God View" system. The all-seeing, all-knowing program let Uber employees track passengers — including high-profile ones like Beyoncé — as they moved in real time.

That didn't sit too well with the Federal Trade Commission, which last year reached a settlement with Uber over the program.
Uber stopped working on “God View” after about a year, the federal watchdog said, and didn’t keep tabs on employees who may still use the controversial system. That in turn contributed to a 2014 data breach, giving hackers access to information about thousands of Uber's drivers.

Uber, in its settlement, agreed to have an outside auditor monitor its data usage for the next 20 years.

'Weeping Angels'

The WikiLeaks dump accused the CIA of tapping into Samsung's smart TVs. (SEAN GALLUP/GETTY IMAGES)

The WikiLeaks dump accused the CIA of tapping into Samsung's smart TVs. (SEAN GALLUP/GETTY IMAGES)

Sometimes the TV watches you.

Well, almost. Last March, a WikiLeaks dump alleged the CIA could listen into conversations through smartphones and other electronic devices. The clandestine agency used the so-called "Weeping Angels" program to tap into Samsung TVs, WikiLeaks said, and could listen in even if the device didn't appear to be on.

The TVs, made from 2012 to 2013, could work "as a bug, recording conversations in the room and sending them over the internet to a covert CIA server.Samsung, in a 2015 statement, warned consumers about discussing personal information in front of its smart TVs because "that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through your use of voice recognition."

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