Google developing eavesdropping software

freebooter

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Feb 24, 2005
1,253
0
Daegu, South Korea
Our friends at Google are making it so they can use the built-in microphone of your computer, whenever they want. Nice one Google! Thanks!

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/09/03/google_eavesdropping_software/

http://www.informationweek.com/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=188702619

The author of the Register article mentions that, "Pretty soon the security industry is going to find a way to hijack the Google feed and use it for full on espionage." That would be true if Google doesn't just hand its info straight to the NSA, which one must admit is quite possible.

http://disappearednews.com/2006/06/google-new-nsa.html
 

zap2

macrumors 604
Mar 8, 2005
7,241
1
Washington D.C
Maybe I'm a fool, but I trusting Google not to screw me over with this..however its creepy that they could.
Honestly I don't think they should do this(and I doubt they will because Public outrage would be high simply because of what they could be)
 

monke

macrumors 65816
May 30, 2005
1,438
2
Wow. Couldn't we have some privacy?

I wonder what it would be like to work for Google. Write millions of strange idea's on a board and wait a few years until they become a reality. :D
 

Demoman

macrumors regular
Mar 29, 2005
194
0
Issaquah, WA
I have been disappointed by many of Google's strategic decisions even since their stock went above $100/share. This has finally pushed me into an action I have been considering for quite awhile. By the end of next week I will find another young, hungry search site and block Google from my Company's network. Google, kiss goodbye to 515 users.

If the rest of you do not like what they are doing, stop using them immediately. A focused boycott will be immediately noticed. Wall Street is very nervous about .COM's. Their stock could get severely punished. That is something to consider when dealing with Internet companies like, Yahoo, AOG, Google, Amazon, etc. A focused shunning by users, over 3 months can, scare the hell out of them.
 

freebooter

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Feb 24, 2005
1,253
0
Daegu, South Korea
Oh, and if they can use your microphone, they can also use your webcam.

And, I think, if these guys say to the public they are "developing" something this intrusive, recent history indicates they are probably already using it and are in the acclimatization phase.

Companies generally don't just tell the world (and their competitors) what products they are developing. No, they usually let that information out the door to condition the public--i.e. for marketing, p.r. reasons--once the product is ready.
 

Oryan

macrumors 6502a
Apr 1, 2005
596
0
Lincoln, NE
The first thing that article made me think of is Minority Report.

Although I use Google and Gmail on a daily basis, I will not allow their desktop search or toolbar near my computer. Whenever I need to engage in private communication, I use secure channels that I've helped set up. I don't put much trust in corporations.
 

maxterpiece

macrumors 6502a
Mar 5, 2003
729
0
1984 w/ the government watching u through all tv screens. When some group or person has too much power, they will abuse it. Democracies are built around this precept - they are designed to prevent any one group, be it a state, a president, whatever. This plan concerns me.
 

benthewraith

macrumors 68040
May 27, 2006
3,078
80
Miami, FL
freebooter said:
Our friends at Google are making it so they can use the built-in microphone of your computer, whenever they want. Nice one Google! Thanks!

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/09/03/google_eavesdropping_software/

http://www.informationweek.com/showArticle.jhtml?articleID=188702619

The author of the Register article mentions that, "Pretty soon the security industry is going to find a way to hijack the Google feed and use it for full on espionage." That would be true if Google doesn't just hand its info straight to the NSA, which one must admit is quite possible.

http://disappearednews.com/2006/06/google-new-nsa.html
I wonder if it's possible to block google.com on my router, along with every single IP they own.
 

Old Smuggler

macrumors 6502a
Sep 8, 2006
503
0
freebooter said:
Oh, and if they can use your microphone, they can also use your webcam.

And, I think, if these guys say to the public they are "developing" something this intrusive, recent history indicates they are probably already using it and are in the acclimatization phase.

Companies generally don't just tell the world (and their competitors) what products they are developing. No, they usually let that information out the door to condition the public--i.e. for marketing, p.r. reasons--once the product is ready.
I totally agree with freebooter, this is something that they are feeling the consensus with
If it is taken well, they will probably tell us more about it, if not it will be the last you hear of it, BUT it will still be going on without you knowing.

i see it as they are required to tell the people about it in some form or fasion as a way to get away with doing it, but they only have to tell you once and this was it

Kinda how things were with the law before the patriot act, remember?

Boy i could do this sh*t all day long
 

maxterpiece

macrumors 6502a
Mar 5, 2003
729
0
dornoforpyros said:
ahh, gotta love how ea$ily "don't be evil" can be be forgotten
I think with google it's not that they forgot that they have forgotten "don't be evil". I think it's that they are so eager to provide services to people for free that they are crossing the line in terms of how much data they have about individuals.

I don' tthink they plan to abuse the info, but I think over time, when that amount of info is available, people become corrupted and abuse that power.
 

LethalWolfe

macrumors G3
Jan 11, 2002
9,368
119
Los Angeles
Yeah that's just about unnerving. If Google can do it then other people/companies/governments can do it too (I bet China is gonna love this).


Lethal
 

Killyp

macrumors 68040
Jun 14, 2006
3,860
5
I was just about to go to bed too.

Think I'll be shutting my MBP down tonight, don't want Mr Google to be hearing my personal thoughts blurted out in a series of unconnected and unintelligible baby words thankyou...
 

Kingsly

macrumors 68040
Killyp said:
I was just about to go to bed too.

Think I'll be shutting my MBP down tonight, don't want Mr Google to be hearing my personal thoughts blurted out in a series of unconnected and unintelligible baby words thankyou...
Who cares about that? They probably use your Mac's AirPort and Bluetooth cards to scan your brain waves and thus read your thoughts.
 

Bobdude161

macrumors 65816
Mar 12, 2006
1,215
0
N'Albany, Indiana
freebooter said:
Our friends at Google are making it so they can use the built-in microphone of your computer, whenever they want. Nice one Google! Thanks!

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2006/09/03/google_eavesdropping_software/

The idea is to use the existing PC microphone to listen to whatever is heard in the background, be it music, your phone going off or the TV turned down. The PC then identifies it, using fingerprinting, and then shows you relevant content, whether that's adverts or search results, or a chat room on the subject.

For now we are safe.

Unplugs mic from PC about 10 feet away from me
 

Frogurt

macrumors member
Sep 8, 2006
38
0
I have serious doubts about the validity of this article. What they are talking about would be extremely difficult even after they deal with the huge spike in bandwidth. Consider the pitch about tailoring ads to what TV show you are watching. At any given time in America alone there are thousands of TV stations each with different programming (local markets with different advertising, time delay, hundreds of cable channels etc.). Next, each room will have different acoustics causing changes in tone and echoes. Next there is other noise to consider: conversations, firetrucks driving by, the neighbors, TV in another room (in college my roommate would watch TV and listen to musics simultaneously). And then there is the quality of microphones in computers. To be able to listen to all that through a laptop microphone and say "yes, he is watching Survivor" is so unlikely as to be laughable.

The amount of ad revenue Google could make off this is small compared to the cost. They would have to keep data banks with a recording of every show, song and movie in their entirety. And they would need massive processing power to continuously analyze each person's stream and compare it to that entire databank. Not to mention for live TV (first airing of shows, sports, news, talk shows, game shows) they would have to stream, analyze and record it on the fly.

Even saying they will cue off of phrases and words is stretching things. Say I am watching CSI and someone gets murdered in a car. Does that mean I would want to see ads about buying a new car? Not to mention that speech to text software is still not very good and would mess up both words and sentence context (other things that could easily lead to cars... cartoon, carpet, (James) Carville, (Dana) Carvey, The Cars). Would advertisers spend more money to have that increase in accuracy of their ads? Not to mention the porn ads you woud get inundated with after watching a ganster movie that says "f***" alot.

Fears about the NSA or someone doing this are somewhat founded, but it's not like it is a threat today that wasn't there yesterday. Unless you are unlucky enough to get caught in a CIA secret prison with no trial, no evidence could be used without a warrant. Besides, if they were interested in you they could plant bugs anyway, so they don't need this.
 

freebooter

macrumors 65816
Original poster
Feb 24, 2005
1,253
0
Daegu, South Korea
Frogurt said:
Fears about the NSA or someone doing this are somewhat founded, but it's not like it is a threat today that wasn't there yesterday. Unless you are unlucky enough to get caught in a CIA secret prison with no trial, no evidence could be used without a warrant. Besides, if they were interested in you they could plant bugs anyway, so they don't need this.
(All sarcasm below)
Yes, we should all just go back to our day dreams and forget all about this. Publicly announced spying by a massively financed mega-corporation with known links to government is nothing to be concerned about.

O.k., the government spies on its own ctizens. But surely they would never make a mistake and lock up the wrong person. Even if they did, what would it matter. There are too many people already, and "out of sight, out of mind." I can't here the sound of torture that happens so far out of earshot...
 

Frogurt

macrumors member
Sep 8, 2006
38
0
freebooter said:
(All sarcasm below)
Yes, we should all just go back to our day dreams and forget all about this. Publicly announced spying by a massively financed mega-corporation with known links to government is nothing to be concerned about.

O.k., the government spies on its own ctizens. But surely they would never make a mistake and lock up the wrong person. Even if they did, what would it matter. There are too many people already, and "out of sight, out of mind." I can't here the sound of torture that happens so far out of earshot...
I think you missed my point that they can listen in on you NOW if they want to (and also make mistakes about who they tap). Whether or not Google does this has no bearing on what they can and cannot do. And my main point was that there is no money in this for Google, so they won't do it. Oh, unless of course Google is secretly taken over by the people in black helicopters. Then we are all in trouble.