From WNYC’s Note to Self, your various microphone-enabled devices very well could be listening to you.
Do we know whether our gadgets are passively listening to us? No. We don’t know for sure, beyond what they tell us in their privacy policies. But we do know that voice recognition is what many major companies are trying to get us to start using.
Or maybe a better question is how frequently and on whose behalf are our devices listening to (and watching) us? The episode also features an interview with Walter Kirn who wrote If You’re Not Paranoid, You’re Crazy in the Atlantic.
See also this security paper from USENIX: Hidden Voice Commands
This is a heartbreaking story about overcriminalization, police accountability, and the effectiveness of social media as a tool to bear witness.
Gaines was using social media to broadcast the standoff, which began when officers showed up on Monday morning to serve a warrant. Police officials asked Facebook and Instagram, which is owned by Facebook, to suspend Gaines’ accounts through what police called a “law enforcement portal”, a part of the site open to certified law enforcement agencies.
At some point after that, police shot Gaines, killing her.
From Hito Steyerl’s e-flux essay Too Much World: Is the Internet Dead?
In the past few years many people—basically everybody—have noticed that the internet feels awkward, too. It is obviously completely surveilled, monopolized, and sanitized by common sense, copyright, control, and conformism. It feels as vibrant as a newly multiplexed cinema in the nineties showing endless reruns of Star Wars Episode 1.