Yesterday, news broke that Google has been stealth downloading audio listeners onto every computer that runs Chrome, and transmits audio data back to Google. Effectively, this means that Google had taken itself the right to listen to every conversation in every room that runs Chrome somewhere, without any kind of consent from the people eavesdropped on. In official statements, Google shrugged off the practice with what amounts to “we can do that”.
Remember how everyone used to make fun of people like Richard Stallman? Way back in 2012, we already reached the point where we had to acknolwedge Richard Stallman was right all along (useless sidenote: this is one of the three most popular OSNews articles of all time). In recent years, people have been putting stickers and tape on their laptops to cover up built-in webcams. The next step is, apparently, to rip out the built-in microphones, too. That’s what you get when you entrust a major technology company with automatic updates.
If it runs software from any of the major companies, your computer isn’t yours. Handle it accordingly.
There is a complete detachment from awareness about how any sane person would react to this.
The data spigot generated at their end could be stupendously huge depending on the audio quality and number of machines involved.
Perhaps it is a law enforcement plan to listen in on selected people and voice print them – but frankly they’ve been a bit unsubtle for that.
Perhaps it is a first step towards voice guided browsing on the desktop.
– “Just trust us” cuts no ice.
– “opt out available” is a disingenuous default when it should not be on in the first place.
and just like that, all google software has been removed from my system. back to firefox i go….