“Tim Verheyden, a journalist with Belgian public broadcaster VRT, contacted the couple bearing a mysterious audio file. To their surprise, they clearly heard the voices of their son and baby grandchild—as captured by Google’s virtual assistant on a smartphone.
“Verheyden says he gained access to the file and more than 1,000 others from a Google contractor who is part of a worldwide workforce paid to review some audio captured by the assistant from devices including smart speakers, phones, and security cameras. One recording contained the couple’s address and other information suggesting they are grandparents.”
“Some of those captured fragments of phone calls and private conversations. They include announcements that someone needed the bathroom and what appeared to be discussions on personal topics, including a child’s growth rate, how a wound was healing, and someone’s love life.”
“This is surveillance,” warned Cook. “These stock piles of personal data only enrich the companies that collect them. This should make us uncomfortable and unsettle us. Billions of dollars trade hands every day on scraps of data that are carefully assembled, synthesised, traded and sold,” he warned.
MacDailyNews Take: With Zoom’s secret web server and Google’s unregulated listening ear, Cook’s warning about surveillance are becoming increasingly relevant.