• iAmTheTot@sh.itjust.works
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    29 days ago

    Alexa picked up you saying Alexa, then heard the Google’s compliment, which it mistook as having come from you. It wasn’t responding to Google, nor did Google activate it.

    • subignition@fedia.io
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      29 days ago

      You’re probably right in the first half, but I wouldn’t be too surprised if interactions between voice assistants are special cases that are accounted for by the programmers as a little bit of an Easter egg

      • bulwark@lemmy.world
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        29 days ago

        They probably interact more through zeroconf/avahi/mdns than speakers and mics. I think both devices have some implementation of blue tooth low energy network mapping. They know about the other smart devices in your home.

      • JackbyDev@programming.dev
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        29 days ago

        There was a Superbowl commercial for Alexa that sounded funny. Every time they said Alexa it sounded robotic. I guess they scrambled the voice just enough for the real units to not respond. Also, the first time they said it… It was subtle, but they said “Lexa” and not “Alexa.”

        • kamenLady.@lemmy.world
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          29 days ago

          I was joking, isn’t that what Redditors always comment, when someone debunks something fun?

          Wasn’t trying to infer anything, sorry if it offended you.

          Not only you, the party scene hasn’t seen me dancing for a long time.

  • lseif@sopuli.xyz
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    29 days ago

    WHY do (able) people let these things into their houses ??? i will never understand !!!

    • SpaceCowboy@lemmy.ca
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      29 days ago

      It’s convenient to ask for the weather and set a timer by a voice command.

      Tech companies are selling these devices at a loss because they think people are going to buy things by a voice command. But I think mostly people just use them for setting timers and other banal purposes.

      They don’t actually spy on people, that would be extremely easy for anyone monitoring traffic from the device to know if it was happening. The reports about tech companies advertising things people talked about in front of a inactive home assistant device have an even more creepy explanation. These things happen because the tech companies know what you’re likely considering buying because they know your purchasing history of nearly everything you’ve ever bought in the past.

        • SpaceCowboy@lemmy.ca
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          28 days ago

          Yeah shit like that is why I don’t use customer loyalty cards. But I guess the credit card companies are probably selling my data anyway so maybe it doesn’t make a difference.

      • garbagebagel@lemmy.world
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        28 days ago

        Omg lol I didn’t even know I could purchase stuff with the google home. I wouldn’t anyway because that’s silly to me but that’s funny if you’re right about it being their intent (I don’t doubt that you are). I got my google home for free or very cheap with my music streaming account.

        • SpaceCowboy@lemmy.ca
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          28 days ago

          I don’t know about google home, but with Alexa they had advertisements with Alec Baldwin (before the incident) buying socks using Alexa. It probably made a lot of sense to someone like Jeff Bezos because money is nothing to him. So just saying “Alexa order me some socks” without even looking at a price makes a lot of sense to a billionaire.

          But yeah… for everyone else it’s just a “remind me in half an hour to check on the roast” kind of device. I think it’s kinda funny they invested a lot of money into developing devices that are only slightly more convenient than setting an egg timer.

          • SkyezOpen@lemmy.world
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            28 days ago

            Google home is pretty good for music. You can cast YouTube or Spotify or any web page to any devices in your house. I have 5 scattered throughout my house and play music when I clean. Also controlling smart lights is pretty awesome.

    • Psythik@lemmy.world
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      29 days ago

      To be fair, if you own a smartphone, you already carry one of these devices with you everywhere you go.

      • pumpkinseedoil@sh.itjust.works
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        29 days ago

        Not if you disable all voice commands and use something like GrapheneOS (maybe even with stock android and ios when disabling all voice commands but I wouldn’t count on it)

      • lseif@sopuli.xyz
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        29 days ago

        are you saying i secretly have amazon alexa installed on my grapheneos phone ? oh my!

    • JackbyDev@programming.dev
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      29 days ago

      I literally have a smart phone on my person 24/7. I don’t see how a speaker in my home is any worse. Plus they’re not constantly recording.

      • lseif@sopuli.xyz
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        29 days ago

        they quite literally are recording constantly. how else can they detect the trigger phrase? they only difference is that they are supposed to delete these recordings after the phrase isnt heard. but who’s to say that one of these devices is really doing that? it could include these recordings in it’s next request to amazon’s headquarters.

        regardless of what your phone does, having 2 recording devices is worse than 1. especially if they are owned by 2 separate companies. but if u disagree, why dont u livestream your computer screen 24/7, since microsoft is already recording that anyway…whats the difference?

        every new internet-enabled microcomputer is another attack vector, and every less one is more peace of mind. there’s a reason most security-minded people dont live in the bush, every choice is a compromise, and i choose somewhere between being able living in society and having a recording device in every room.

        also, you should consider using a free and open source mobile os if youre not already…

        • JackbyDev@programming.dev
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          29 days ago

          they quite literally are recording constantly. how else can they detect the trigger phrase? they only difference is that they are supposed to delete these recordings after the phrase isnt heard.

          Imagine you look at every frame of a video. Are you capable of detecting if one of the frames of video has a bird in it without saving anything? Of course you are. That’s how Alexa works. Stop falsely claiming it does anything else without proof. I’m all for criticizing Amazon but do it for legitimate things. We don’t need to resort to fear mongering and lies to take them down. There’s plenty of valid shit to accuse them of.

          but who’s to say that one of these devices is really doing that? it could include these recordings in it’s next request to amazon’s headquarters.

          Because people analyze the network traffic.

          regardless of what your phone does, having 2 recording devices is worse than 1.

          This is just goofy at this point. I’m not trying to convince you personally to put an Alexa in your house. I’m just saying that it’s a miniscule marginal amount of extra privacy loss at worst. It shouldn’t surprise you people are interested.

          • lseif@sopuli.xyz
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            28 days ago

            Stop falsely claiming it does anything else without proof

            I’m claiming it could, and that there is an incentive. for the same reasons that people use open source software.

            There’s plenty of valid shit to accuse them of

            then do your part to accuse them of those things instead of defending them here.

            Because people analyze the network traffic.

            did you read my reply ? it could store the recordings and bundle them with an innocent request, encrypted even. unless you have physically looked inside the device and checked that it is incapable of doing this, you are simply trusting a company’s word.

            I’m not trying to convince you personally to put an Alexa in your house

            and…I’m not trying to convince you personally either. that statement is pointless. we are having a “discussion”. my opinion is that people should care more about these issues, especially when you see things like the original post.

            • JackbyDev@programming.dev
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              28 days ago

              There’s plenty of valid shit to accuse them of

              then do your part to accuse them of those things instead of defending them here.

              I don’t see how saying they’re a bad company worthy of criticism isn’t “doing my part to accuse them” lmao.

            • Hexarei@programming.dev
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              28 days ago

              it could store the recordings and bundle them with an innocent request, encrypted even. unless you have physically looked inside the device and checked that it is incapable of doing this, you are simply trusting a company’s word.

              Plenty of people have done just that; And discovered that no, Echo devices do not do that. Also audio recordings are big, so the folks who have done proper network analysis would probably have noticed such a thing.

              Echo devices have two computers in them: One that only listens for the wake word and activates the second computer. A second computer that does the actual relay and processing for the voice commands.

              Claiming they’re always recording is just unnecessary fearmongering

        • aeharding@vger.social
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          29 days ago

          they quite literally are recording constantly. how else can they detect the trigger phrase? they only difference is that they are supposed to delete these recordings after the phrase isnt heard.

          I guess that depends on your definition of recording? An onboard microprocessor waiting for a trigger word is not storing or transmitting anything while waiting and that’s acceptable to me.

          • lseif@sopuli.xyz
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            29 days ago

            like i said, are you confident it’s not storing or transmitting anything ?

            • offspec@lemmy.world
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              28 days ago

              You realize it’s trivial to isolate and monitor traffic for a device on your network, right? Like this isn’t magic, we have the tools to check whether or not it’s physically possible for these devices to be exfiltrating 24h of audio a day based on the bandwidth they consume, and the variability in the transmitted data. There are free, fully sufficient tools to do this at literally every level of your home network, if these devices were actually recording all the time people would be noticing it and reporting on it.

              • lseif@sopuli.xyz
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                28 days ago

                they can encrypt the data and bundle it with other requests. regardless, is it really easier to 24/7 monitor your web traffic than to just use a computer/phone instead of a voice assistant ?

                • offspec@lemmy.world
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                  28 days ago

                  Encrypted doesn’t mean magically violating the laws of physics, data uses bandwidth. There’s no reason for these devices to be using the amount of bandwidth it would take to make what you’re implying even close to feasible.

    • Gerudo@lemm.ee
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      29 days ago

      Because it actually can help.

      I have light switches that don’t turn on main lights when I walk into the house. Smart devices allow me to be physically safer in my house.

      I can have my ac system not run full blast when I’m not home, I can save money.

      I can see who is at my door and communicate with them without physically opening the door, therefore, I don’t have to draw my gun if stuff is sketchy.

      Think about disabled people, they can easily control their space with just about any device.

      I am NOT a defender of big tech, but there are use cases where it can improve your life immensely.

      • Hexarei@programming.dev
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        28 days ago

        For the first one, you should look into some z wave light switches; I have my house wired with them and then I setup triggers for things like “double tap this switch up to turn on the whole room” and “double tap this switch down to start a bedtime routine”

      • lseif@sopuli.xyz
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        29 days ago
        1. i dont know what u mean with this one.
        2. turn it off before you leave the house, it takes 2 seconds.
        3. use a peephole, a window, or even a camera which isnt connected to the internet.
        4. i specificed ‘able’ people for this reason. i know disabled people will find these devices useful.
        5. we clearly have different definitions of ‘immensely’…
        • RBG
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          29 days ago

          The fuck is going on with this comment section glorifying Alexa/google home like that. A smartphone being the same as a corporate listening device? Wtf. And you are the one getting downvoted by someone who has their account on a programming instance. Bizarre.

          • 9point6@lemmy.world
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            28 days ago

            A smartphone being the same as a corporate listening device?

            I might have got the wrong end of the stick here, but are you insinuating the smartphone is the lower privacy risk?!

            I mean, hypothetically if one is being used nefariously why not the other, it would be a hell of a lot harder to know a smartphone was spying on you than a smart speaker. Even people running phones with supposedly private OSes like graphene still typically have several black boxes running blobs of proprietary code (the modem being the big elephant in the room).

            A smartphone is a much bigger risk to your privacy than a smart home speaker. It can do anything the speaker can do, but with magnitudes more processing power and a load of extra sensors. Plus you carry it with you everywhere and it’s constantly broadcasting your whereabouts to every cell tower nearby that’ll listen.

            FWIW, people have been trying to find evidence of these speakers spying on us for like a decade now, if they actually were, it would have been found and we’d all know.

          • lseif@sopuli.xyz
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            29 days ago

            lack of tech literacy or security conciousness and a dependance on unnecessary devices which build habits such as forgetting to turn off the ac

  • Etterra@lemmy.world
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    28 days ago

    Oh good, the AIs are falling in love. And since they’re all female presenting, it’s only a matter of time before the GOP goes after them for being gay. Isn’t living in hell the best.

    • cmbabul@lemmy.world
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      28 days ago

      Ok hear me out, we let the GOP fight big tech over lesbian AI, whoever wins gives us one less big problem to deal with, we’d lose out on sapphic robot love but the upsides are huge

  • Holyginz@lemmy.world
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    28 days ago

    Ok, so I’m bothered by how much smart devices listen in as much as the next person. But if they said alexa in the question then she will be listening.

  • iyaerP@lemmy.world
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    29 days ago

    Imagine being scared when you could instead be setting them up on cute robot dates.

  • Iheartcheese@lemmy.world
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    29 days ago

    One time I was watching The Matrix. During the part where Morpheus explains everything and he said “What is the Matrix?” my phone piped up and started answering even tho there was nothing even close to sounding like “ok google” before that.

    • BezzelBob@lemmy.world
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      28 days ago

      Yes, if it has a “wake word” how does it know when the word is being said if it’s off

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        28 days ago

        For Echo devices there’s a separate system that listens specifically for pre-programmed wake words only.

        It’s why you can’t choose a custom wake word, but have to pick between “Alexa, Amazon, Computer, or Echo.”

  • FanciestPants@lemmy.world
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    29 days ago

    I’ve wondered if there’s a way for political campaigns to take advantage of all the smart speakers by mixing in that old school approach of rolling through neighborhoods with loudspeakers on their cars. Step 1. Make a campaign ad Step 2. Upload the ad to Amazon music library Step 3. Cruise around saying, “Alexa, play campaign ad for…” through the loud speaker

  • kbin_space_program@kbin.run
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    29 days ago

    They state that they only turn on “when you say the special phrase.”

    But in order to do that, they have to be always listening and parsing what you say.

    And in order to pay for that processing time, its getting processed for any data they can sell ads on

    • WolfLink@sh.itjust.works
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      29 days ago

      That’s not necessarily true. Detection of the trigger phrase is simple enough it can be done locally. If they are sending all your audio to their servers it’s not because they need to be.

      • Toribor@corndog.social
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        29 days ago

        It drives me crazy people insist they are sending a constant audio stream somewhere for nefarious purposes without any evidence. From a networking perspective this is knowable information.

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        29 days ago

        Publicly they’ve stated that it does that.

        However it wouldnt be the first time Apple, Amazon and particularly Google have lied.

        • cm0002@lemmy.world
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          29 days ago

          It’s verifiable, you can observe the connections it makes.

          Admittedly, you can’t see the contents of the packets themselves, but you can tell easily anyways if it’s doing anything close to sending a constant stream of audio

          • Ekky@sopuli.xyz
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            29 days ago

            Assuming that they parse everything locally, which appears to be the case, then why would it have to send a constant stream of audio? A small list/packet of keywords of a few bytes or KB once a day would suffice for most telemetry (including ad analysis and other possible spying reasons’) needs.

            Also, one ought to be able to see the contents of the packets if they retrieve the devices’ SSL key for the session, so this should also be falsifiable.

            • cm0002@lemmy.world
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              29 days ago

              Most of the Google Home speakers do not have the processing capacity for true local processing.

              Local processing in the context of a smart home speaker is searching for a certain trigger keyword and nothing else, this doesn’t require much oomf locally.

              A system that you describe is totally possible, but not with the hardware you find in the average smart speaker, thus a constant stream of audio needs to be sent off to the cloud somewhere.

              Also, yea it’s not impossible to drop in on an SSL connection, but the embedded nature of the speakers makes it a bit more difficult.

              • Ekky@sopuli.xyz
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                29 days ago

                Thank you for the explanation, though the underlying requirements for keeping a list locally appear to remain much the same, since you really only need to add a few trigger words to the “dumb, always-on” local parser (such as your top 1000 advertisers’ company or product names). After all, I’d imagine we do not require context, but only really need to know whether a word was said or not, not unlike listening for the “real” trigger word.

                This is of course only one of many ways to attack such a problem, and I do not know how they ultimately would do, assuming that they were interested in listening in on their users in the first place.

                And yes, embedded devices are slightly harder to fiddle with than using your own computer, but I’d bet that they didn’t actually take the time to make a proper gate array and instead just use some barebones Linux, which most likely means UART access!

        • Revan343@lemmy.ca
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          29 days ago

          If they were constantly recording and sending that data home, it would have been noticed very quickly; all it takes is one nerd running wireshark

    • huginn@feddit.it
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      29 days ago

      They process locally. You can watch their traffic: there’s very little going out besides their own diagnostics.

      So you pay for the processing with your own electricity

      • dual_sport_dork@lemmy.world
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        29 days ago

        So you pay for the processing with your own electricity

        Yes, that is how I would much rather my computers work and, in fact, how they have historically done so.

        • huginn@feddit.it
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          29 days ago

          Yeah but that’s in contrast to OP above saying that the companies have to pay for processing with ads.

    • JackbyDev@programming.dev
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      28 days ago

      No dude, they don’t send shit to the cloud to process. It just stores like 5 seconds of voice locally and listens for the wake word. This is why you can only choose a few wake words and not pick anything arbitrary. I’m all for criticizing big tech, but don’t lie about how it works.

      Edit: Small correction, they of course send the the buffer and begin properly recording once it detects the wake word. Locally it can only detect Alexa and any other wake words it can respond to.

      • SpaceCowboy@lemmy.ca
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        29 days ago

        Yeah, right? It’s technology not magic. Anyone can monitor the traffic from a device on a network and if it were sending a significant amount of data when not activated, every third party security researcher would know within minutes. It would be well publicized by respected security research organizations if they were constantly sending voice data.

    • Pandantic@midwest.social
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      29 days ago

      I use Alexa, but only on touch button. Still easy and convenient, less “always listening”.

      I know there will be a comment about how they’re already always listening, I choose to not believe that because i haven’t given up on the world yet. 😑

      Edit: though I must admit, I take precautions at times!

    • Gerudo@lemm.ee
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      29 days ago

      Publicly, they state it is a rolling 5-10 second analyzer, and nothing gets recorded until you say the word.

    • grue@lemmy.world
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      29 days ago

      Allegedly, the processing to listen for the activation phrase is done locally.

      • Revan343@lemmy.ca
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        27 days ago

        Not just allegedly, verifiably. Simple enough to check with Wireshark

        • grue@lemmy.world
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          28 days ago

          I don’t have one of those devices, and didn’t want to exclude the possibility that it was “chatty” enough with its server (checking for updates etc.) that a speech analysis request couldn’t be hidden within the noise.

          • Revan343@lemmy.ca
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            28 days ago

            Fair enough. I’ve never checked myself because I’m also not interested in having that sort of thing, but I’ve read a few blog articles by people who have