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Indybay Feature
Sun Jan 29 2017
Police Warrant Heightens Concerns Over In-Home Microphones
The Privacy Threat From Always-On Microphones Like the Amazon Echo
A warrant from police in Arkansas seeking audio records of a man’s Amazon Echo has sparked an overdue conversation about the privacy implications of “always-on” recording devices. The story serves as a wakeup call about the potential surveillance devices that many people are starting to allow into their own homes.

The Amazon echo is not the only such device; others include personal assistants like Google Home, Google Now, Apple’s Siri, Windows Cortana, as well as other devices including televisions, game consoles, cars and toys. The number of live microphones scattered throughout American homes will only increase to cover a wide range of “Internet of Things” (IoT) devices. Concerns are also raised by video that in-home devices may capture and potentially stream to the cloud, which carries the same threats and problems.

Overall, digital assistants and other IoT devices create a triple threat to privacy: from government, corporations, and hackers.

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