According to Peter Bright, “Not OK, Google: Chromium voice extension pulled after spying concerns” (June 24, (http://arstechnica.com), Google as done the right thing and pulled the extension from the Chromium/Chrome browser, following concerns from the public that it was installed secretly and could be used as an eavesdropping tool on the Chromium users. Essentially the concern was that at any time it chose, ‘someone’ with malicious intent could turn on the microphone of your computer and hear/record all that was being said without you knowing it.
While “OK Google”, was originally designed as a listening ‘trigger word’ to speed searches, users became troubled by the potential for ‘Big Brother’ listening in. Once discovered by several computer experts and bloggers, they sounded the alarm, the alarm spread, gained traction on the Internet and in the media and the company responded as it should to alleviate any fears from users.
We rely more and more on technology in our daily lives for convenience, but we need to be constantly vigilant that the invisible line we all fear is out there is not crossed and we speed towards the abyss of 1984. Louv, (2015) notes: “Your Xbox will listen to you. Your TV will listen to you. And now, if you’re not careful with its new voice recognition features, Google Chrome will listen to you, too. Welcome to the Internet of Things: Where the electronics you bring into your house are now smart enough to outsmart you, and keep tabs on everything you do… potentially for the highest bidder.”
George Orwell (Eric Arthur Blair) may not be watching….but someone may be listening…and waiting.
Read our book on Cybersecurity in Our Digital Lives to find out more about the Internet of Things and other current topics in cybersecurity.
Bright, P. (2015). Not OK, Google: Chromium voice extension pulled after spygig retrieved from the Internet at http://arstechnica.com/security/2015/06/not-ok-google-chromium-voice-extension-pulled-after-spying-concerns/
Louv, J. (2015). Google Chrome’s New Feature: Spying On You for Google. Retrieved from the Internet at http://ultraculture.org/blog/2015/02/13/google-chromes-new-feature-spying-google/