GENE JOHNSON Associated Press Published 2:16 p.m. UTC May 25, 2018 SEATTLE (AP) — An "unlikely" string of events prompted Amazon's Echo personal assistant device to record a Portland, Oregon, family's private conversation and then send the recording to an acquaintance in Seattle, the company said Thursday. The woman told KIRO-TV that two weeks ago an employee of her husband contacted them to say he thought their device had been hacked. He told them he had received an audio file of them discussing hardwood floors, she said. Confirm what?: This is why you are getting all those privacy notifications in your inbox In a statement Thursday, Amazon confirmed the woman's private conversation had been inadvertently recorded and sent. The company said the device interpreted a word in the background conversation as "Alexa" — a command that makes it wake up — and then it interpreted the conversation as a "send message" request. "At which point, Alexa said out … [Read more...] about Amazon Echo records Portland family’s conversation, sends to contact
Two Democratic lawmakers on Friday expressed concern with Amazon’s facial recognition and artificial intelligence software, Rekognition, and the potential harms it could impose on people of color. Reps. Keith EllisonKeith Maurice EllisonVoters Dems need aren't impressed by anti-waterboarding showboating Democrats urge colleagues to oppose prison reform bill Overnight Finance: House panel to take up bill toughening review of foreign deals | Trump acknowledges Cohen payment on disclosure form | Officials set for new round of China trade talks MORE (D-Minn.) and Emanuel Cleaver (D-Mo.) in a letter pressed the technology giant for more answers about how Rekognition, which came to light this week in an ACLU report, is being used by law enforcement agencies. “A series of studies have shown that face recognition technology is consistently less accurate in identifying the faces of African-Americans and women as compared to Caucasians and men,” Ellison and … [Read more...] about Dem reps seek answers on Amazon facial recognition technology
By Beth Anne Mumford There's a reason corporate welfare and a lack of transparency so often go hand in hand - because politicians know that if citizens had all the facts about the special deals they make, taxpayers would storm city hall, pitchforks in hand. Beth Anne Mumford (submitted photo) Lately, Pennsylvanians have been hearing a lot from politicians about what a great deal Amazon's second headquarters, commonly referred to as HQ2, would be for Pittsburgh or Philadelphia, both of which made the company's short list. But if it's such a great deal, then why is the proposal - which will reportedly offer tax breaks and other economic incentives worth more than $1 billion - under lock and key? Officials say they need to keep it secret to preserve a competitive advantage. But is it too much to ask that they let the people who will be paying the bills know how their money is being spent? For Harrisburg, apparently it is. After the … [Read more...] about Pa’s Amazon HQ2 pitch: Too much corporate welfare, not enough transparency
A family in Portland, Oregon, received a nightmarish phone call two weeks ago. "Unplug your Alexa devices right now," a voice on the other line said. "You're being hacked." Apparently, one of Amazon.com's Alexa-powered Echo devices in their house had silently sent recordings to the caller without the family's permission, according to KIRO 7, a news station covering Seattle and western Washington state that first reported the story. The person, who happened to be an employee of the husband, was in the family's contact list. "My husband and I would joke and say, 'I'd bet these devices are listening to what we're saying,' " said a woman to KIRO 7 who identified herself only by her first name, Danielle. "At first, my husband was, like, 'No, you didn't!' And the [recipient of the message] said, 'You sat there talking about hardwood floors.' And we said, 'Oh, gosh, you really did hear us.' " Danielle said she felt invaded after listening back to her own conversations, silently captured by an … [Read more...] about Report: Amazon Echo recorded family’s conversation, then sent it to random person
James Briggs [email protected] Published 10:00 p.m. UTC May 25, 2018 One of the hottest points of speculation in Amazon's never-ending saga of a headquarters search is what the company's promised 50,000 employees might do to real estate prices in the lucky, or unlucky, winning city. I've written before about the likelihood of Amazon's HQ2 to bring a residential construction boom, which Indianapolis neighborhoods might not be prepared to accommodate. A closely related tension is that housing prices could rise dramatically in the eventual home of HQ2, as they have in Seattle, where Amazon is based. But, at this point, any attempt to understand the potential real estate effects of Amazon coming to Indianapolis is highly speculative. One big reason for this — aside from the obvious fact that nothing like an Amazon has ever come to Indianapolis before, so there are not relevant comparisons — can be found in a Zillow study that attempts to … [Read more...] about Would a new Amazon headquarters raise Indianapolis’ rent prices? Maybe not.