David Papp Blog

Who is listening to you and recording everything?

Google, Microsoft, Apple, Samsung, and now Barbie.

Google has admitted to scanning your personal Gmail accounts to target ads based on common keywords found. They also record a lot of information “for your convenience” if you make are logged into Google or use a Chromebook. This includes every site you visit, every search term you use, the YouTube videos you watch and saving your passwords.

Microsoft records Skype instant messages (IMs) and has the potential for calls as well.

Apple records all Siri voice commands for an undetermined period of time. Microsoft records all Cortana voice commands.

We were too lazy to get up and walk over to a TV to change the channel so now we have remotes. Now we are even lazier because there are smart-TVs which listen for commands using voice-recognition features. This means the TV is constantly listening to all your conversations in your room, uploading those to the Internet to be processed, and determining if there are any commands in those voice recordings. They also save all the recordings for an undetermined amount of time to improve their products.

And if you still aren’t convinced big brother is watching you, we now allow our children to talk to Barbie, have that information uploaded and processed, and reply back. Parents can choose to have those audio files of conversations stored on a website which means hackers can access them as well. The “Hello Barbie” app (iOS and Android) uses authentication credentials that can be reused by hackers. It also connects a mobile device to any unsecured WiFi network who’s name includes the word barbie. You can use that information to access the home WiFi network and also everything that Hello Barbie is recording.

There is plenty of information out there going into more detail. Check out these articles:

Hello Barbie, Can We Talk About Your Security Issues?

Who is listening as your children talk to their toys?

EFF Sues Google for Snooping on Students

Google scans all emails

Big brother Microsoft listens in to your Skype IMs

Samsung’s warning: Our Smart TVs record your living room chatter

Insider says Siri and Cortana have recorded every word you’ve ever said to them

4 thoughts on “Who is listening to you and recording everything?”

  1. This is scary!
    I believe after this article was posted, Facebook admitted to using your phones microphone as you type a status message using their app.
    They have said it is just to pick up what TV shows or music you might have going on at the time for marketing purposes.

  2. After going through every single ‘article’ on this list… I must say I don’t feel safe at all. I use most of the devices all these devious companies use to ‘spy’ on people. I wonder what they do with all these recordings… yes, plenty – but there must be more.

  3. Convenience does come at a price. All the information that has been stored can be used against at any time. It could so they could get the right ads that will get you to buy something or if someone else gets hold of the information, it could be something worse.

    Thing though is even though many people know this, they don’t care. If the tech companies aren’t spying on you, the government is and there’s little you can do to stop them I think.

  4. It was to be expected, at least Apple records Siri commands to make the service better (or so I hope), but Skype call recording definitely seems fishy. Recently Teamviewer got hacked and a lot of people lost data, they were doing the same stuff of recording user sessions. I wonder if it’s only a matter of time before Apple or Microsoft get hacked.

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