Android Police

Articles Tagged:

privacy

35

Google announces new privacy features and upgrades its password manager

With the increasing scrutiny around the privacy of users, Google has announced some new features to give us all some additional peace of mind. Updates to Maps, YouTube, and Assistant will make it easier to control how much of your data the company has access to, and Password Checkup will help you ensure everything stays secure.

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38

My Echo is the one that says 'Bad Motherfucker:' Samuel L. Jackson will be an Alexa voice

Amazon just reported that Alexa is now available on over 85,000 devices, a 41% spike from May, from 9,500 brands — up another 28.3% from four months ago. With those kinds of numbers, it is paramount that more thought be put into a user's sense of privacy and security when they own an Alexa product. Today, the company announced a number of improvements, features, and skills it has worked towards in the past year with some new features available from today — notably including the coming addition of Samuel L. Jackson as a voice for Alexa.

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45

Google Assistant improves privacy and adds sensitivity options for hotword detection

Google was heavily criticized when press uncovered it uses human contractors to transcribe some voice snippets from Assistant users around the world, though we could quickly discern this as scaremongering as only 0.2% of all recordings were affected, and, of course, any company wanting to improve voice recognition needs to use transcriptions to advance. Still, Google should have clearly disclosed that your conversations with Assistant aren't 100% private. After temporarily pausing the practice in the EU, the company today announced it's improving key aspects of Assistant aiming to inform users about privacy more clearly, along with sensitivity options for hotword detection.

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20

Google Maps Incognito Mode sent to preview group for testing

It's been a long time coming — 4 months, actually, for those of you remembering back to Google I/O — but we're finally getting our first real look at Incognito Mode for Google Maps. Ironically, the pictures we have are courtesy of some members of the Google Maps Preview test group who wish to remain anonymous.

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11

Telegram v5.11 lets you schedule messages, prevent others from finding you by phone number

Vacation responders, snoozing, even rudimentary forms of read receipts? Oh, how far email clients have come to meet up with our instant message services. But if there's anything our chat apps can learn from its progenitor, it's scheduled replies — and Telegram has picked up that trick as well as a few others in its latest update.

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16

[Update: $170 million settlement] FTC to fine Google up to $200 million over kids' privacy problems on YouTube

YouTube recently faced some controversy over its autoplay function that ultimately ended up in an FTC investigation. Google's algorithmic selection had a bad habit of leading children away from safe, joyful videos and instead would occasionally point them to violent and inappropriate content. And if that wasn't attracting enough negative attention, it turns out Google also collected personal information on minors and used it for targeted advertising without parental consent, violating the Children's Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA). Now the FTC and Google are coming to a settlement over these acts, with the company paying between $150 and $200 million as a fine.

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32

Viral deepfake app ZAO adds your face to famous movie scenes – if you're not concerned with privacy

Deepfakes – algorithmically synthesized face-swapping or mimicking videos – are frequently discussed as a dystopian tool that allows almost anyone on the internet to lay words into someone's mouth or put anyone's face into rather objectionable circumstances. Fortunately, deepfakes are rather easily detected at the moment, and thus not too dangerous in the grand scheme of things. Instead, if used correctly, deepfakes can apparently be rather fun. The recently released Chinese Android and iOS app ZAO allows almost anyone to insert themselves into famous movie scenes, requiring nothing more than at least one picture. As with FaceApp before it, privacy concerns quickly arose.

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15

Google kills service for carriers that mapped coverage and performance with anonymous user data

Back in April, Google silently shut down its "Mobile Network Insights" service, which provided carriers with data about network performance in different locations as provided by Android handsets. According to an exclusive report from Reuters, Google killed the service as a result of concerns regarding user data privacy, even though the information that was given to carriers was ostensibly stripped of identifying information.

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23

Facebook failed to disclose human voice chat transcription program

Ever since the controversy arose surrounding Google training its voice recognition technology using human contractors, barely a week goes by without another company admitting to the same. While the practice doesn't come as a surprise to many familiar with the underlying technology, no company thought of clearly stating what they were doing, which is not a good idea considering rising privacy awareness among customers and regulators. Bloomberg found out that the same is true for Facebook Messenger, affecting users who turned on voice-to-text for audio messages.

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39

Google halts Assistant recording transcription in the EU for at least three months

Just a few weeks ago, a Belgian news service claimed Google was eavesdropping on users by listening to their private conversations. The company uses human employees to transcribe Assistant voice recordings to help it better understand what they're saying, and it turned out that one of these contractors leaked the material to the press. The controversy has led the Hamburg Commissioner for Data Protection and Freedom of Information (HmbBfDI) to start a procedure prohibiting Google from continuing to manually audit these recordings.

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