Big Tech Is Watching You

The Western Journal posted an article today about privacy in America.

The article reports:

Those who are wary of smartphones, smart devices and virtual assistants generally cite concerns over their information being recorded and shared without their knowledge.

Only fueling those concerns, one woman recently shared that she had found over 3,000 recordings of herself taken by her various Amazon devices.

The woman, who goes by the username “my.data.not.yours” on TikTok, posts lots of videos on the topics of privacy, reviews privacy policies and gives people tips on how to limit (or at least be aware of) their digital footprint.

She started by informing viewers that she owns two Amazon Dots and an Echo device, and her house uses some smart bulbs.

“I requested all the data Amazon has on me and here’s what I found,” she said. “So when I downloaded the ZIP file these are all the folders it came with.”

In the video, she clicks on the “audio” file and says that it contains 3,534 short clips that her devices recorded, which she tells viewers is “so scary.”

She explained that one recording was of her asking Alexa to turn the lights on — nothing too surprising there. What she was more concerned about was that there was a file on her contacts, too.

“It turns out they have a full list of my contacts from my phone and I never remember syncing that,” she said.

That wasn’t the end of it.

“The very last thing that I didn’t know that they had — I could have assumed that they have but I don’t love that they have — is my location,” she continued, admitting that she’s “not totally comfortable with everything they have.”

The article also explains how you can delete things from Alexa:

In February, an article by CNBC stated that the Amazon Echo “saves a copy of everything you ask Alexa,” which makes sense. You can also delete these recordings — ironically — by asking Alexa to delete them.

You can also change the settings so that recordings are automatically deleted after a set amount of time.

According to the New York Post, an Amazon spokesperson acknowledged the voice recording feature and said that the recordings can be deleted at any time or you can change the settings so they aren’t saved in the first place.

“We give customers transparency and control over their Alexa experience,” the spokesperson said. “Customers can easily review and delete their voice recordings, or choose not to have them saved at all, at any time.

“Customers can import their mobile phone contacts to the Alexa app so they can use features like hands-free calling and messaging; this optional feature, which customers need to set up, can be disabled at any time.

“Finally, you can grant permissions for the Alexa app to use certain data, such as your mobile device’s geolocation, to provide relevant results (e.g., weather, traffic, restaurant recommendations), and you can manage these permissions in the app.”

Did you know about these features?

Wow.

Score One For The Good Guys

NewsMax posted an article today about a global sting operation to catch members of organized crime in action.

The article reports:

The operation by the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation, Australian and European police ensnared suspects in Australia, Asia, Europe, South America and the Middle East involved in the narcotics trade, the officials said.

Millions of dollars in cash were seized in raids around the world, along with 30 tonnes of drugs including more than eight tonnes of cocaine.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the operation had “struck a heavy blow against organized crime – not just in this country, but … around the world.”

Operation Greenlight/Trojan Shield, conceived by Australian police and the FBI in 2018, was one of the biggest infiltrations and takeovers of a specialized encrypted network.

It began when U.S. officials paid a convicted drug trafficker to give them access to a smartphone that he had customized, on which he was installing ANOM, also styled An0m, a secure encrypted messaging app. The phones were then sold to organized crime networks through underworld distributors.

The FBI helped to infiltrate 12,000 devices into 300 criminal groups in more than 100 countries, Calvin Shivers of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division told reporters in The Hague.

The article concludes with some of the numbers involved:

Australian police said they had arrested 224 people, including members of outlawed motorcycle gangs, and disrupted 21 murder plots.

On Monday alone, they seized 104 firearms, including a military-grade sniper rifle, as well as almost A$45 million ($35 million) in cash, including A$7 million from a safe buried under a garden shed in a suburb of Sydney.

In Europe, there were 49 arrests in the Netherlands, 75 in Sweden and over 60 in Germany, where authorities seized hundreds of kilograms of drugs, more than 20 weapons and over 30 luxury cars and cash.

Finnish police not only detained almost 100 suspects and seized 500 kg of narcotics but also found a warehouse with 3-D printers used to manufacture gun parts.

The operation also revealed that gangs were being tipped off about police actions, which prompted “numerous high-level public corruption cases in several countries,” according to an affidavit from an FBI agent.

Kershaw said the Australian underworld figure, who had absconded, had “essentially set up his own colleagues” by distributing the phones, and was now a marked man.

“The sooner he hands himself in, the better for him and his family.”

Please follow the link above and read the entire article. It is amazing.