BOSTON (CBS) – Remember last month when we shared the story of an Oregon couple who were shocked to learn that their private conversations had been recorded by the Amazon Echo home assistant and emailed to people on their contacts list?
“They have absolutely no right to listen in and record our conversations,” said one of the homeowners. “It’s unheard of.”
Amazon engineers claimed it was just an accident. But invasions of privacy by new technology are happening more and more frequently, and seem about to get worse.
At a big consumer electronics show in New York this week, a compact camera-equipped drone was proudly displayed, sure to make spying on your neighbors a snap. Also on offer – instant surveillance in a box, small cameras that couldn’t be easier to install. “All you have to do is take it out of the box, pop in some D batteries, hang it over the door and there you have it,” boasts an employee of the manufacturer.
According to a new study, some popular Android apps for kids allow outsiders to collect their email addresses and other personal information. And with one new smartphone for kids, tracking and eavesdropping on them has never been easier, for you — or someone else. Explains the presenter in New York: “you can send the phone a text message, then 30 seconds later it will call you back without activating the screen and you can hear what’s going on around the children.”
Public surveillance cameras are nothing new, but in Newark, the video is streamed online, for anyone to view and comment on.
And if you think you’re getting away from big brother next time you check into a hotel, think again – Marriott rooms will soon feature Amazon’s Echos, for better or, as with that Oregon couple, for worse.
Every one of those gadgets can be seen as useful for security, a convenience, or an amusing pastime. Tough competition for those raising legitimate – and growing – privacy concerns.