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Google Chrome Secretly Downloads An Audio Listener To Your PC That Can Snoop On You

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Google Chrome Downloads An Audio Listener Secretly On Your Device That Can Listen In Your Room

According to a recent report published on the website Privacy Online News, Rick Falkvinge, founder of the first Pirate Party, asserted that Google is secretly downloading audio listeners onto every computer that runs Chrome. The software is able to send out audio data back to Google, which means that when your computer is running Chrome, Google can secretly listen into conversations in your bedroom. According to Falkvinge, Google is doing this without the permission of the user.

According to Falkvinge, the first evidence that Google might have downloaded an audio software to secretly listen into users’ private conversations came from a bug report pointing out that when one starts Chrome, “it downloads something,” followed by a status report that says “Microphone: Yes” and “Audio Capture Allowed: Yes.”

Falvinge affirms the proof that Google without permission is downloading a “black box” of code into Chrome users’ computers through its open-source Chromium. The code switches on the microphone to enable it to eavesdrop into your room.

The “black box” code is downloaded apparently to activate a feature that enables a search function when you say “Ok, Google,” explains Falvinge. However, the problem is that the code seems to have activated eavesdropping on conversations in your room.

Falkvinge reasons questionably that the voice command is examined by Google’s servers and not by your computer. In other words, it means that Google Chrome has arranged your system to constantly listen into your room and transmit audio data to Google servers without the permission or knowledge of the user.

Google has apparently quietly introduced a switch that allows you to opt out to solve the problem. But given the fact that the entire code was downloaded secretly without the knowledge of users, most users do not know they are storing a secret listening-module in their system and that their rooms have efficiently been wiretapped. Thus, they are unaware of the requirement to opt out to protect their privacy.

An official statement has been released by Google, which according to Falkvinge, made Google accept that they avoided the source code auditing process by downloading and installing wiretapping black-box codes to user’s computers. But Google attempts to excuse itself stating that it’s action were not actually enabling the code. In short, according to Falkvinge, Google wants you to trust them that they will never exploit your trust by enabling an eavesdropping black-box code they downloaded onto your computer without your permission and knowledge.

Falvinge cites that Google’s action once again points out to the need for “hard” switches for all surveillance devices such as microphones and webcams, in addition to “soft” switches that need that you access the software to disable it. He suggests, for example, a physical switch that can be utilized to disable a microphone or a “hard shield” that can be used to block a webcam.

He also replied to efforts by some readers to make the revelation less important that Google Chrome secretly installs an audio listener to users’ systems. Some argued in the comments section of the article that the software only listens when you say “Ok, Google,” but Falkvinge cites that the assumption does not answer to the question of how it listens for you to say “Ok, Google” before its begins to record audio data in your room.

Listening is not similar to sending the audio data to Google servers because it is possible others argued as opposed to Falkvinge’s claim that the system does not send the data until after transmission mechanism has been enabled by the voice command. This is that the code is able to examine the voice command for locally enabling before the process of sending audio data begins.

By watching the outgoing network traffic, a reader said that he was able to establish that the audio listener does not send everything you say to Google before you enable it using the voice command.

However, Falkvinge avoided this argument by highlighting that users are not aware about other keywords, besides “Ok, Google,” that Google has set to start the audio transmission process.

Falkvinge’s argument is closely connected in the context of recent Snowden disclosures of NSA secretly watching over people’s privacy. In the context of the recent disclosures of NSA spying, any possible ability of a tech giant such as Google to spy on people’s privacy should not be taken lightly.

Falkvinge laid stress on the point that readers who cited Google does not transmit until the audio transmission is enabled by the signal “Ok, Google” looked to miss the important fact that without your permission, Google has downloaded to your computer a black-box code that is possible capable of sending audio data from your room to Google servers. Another reader pointed out the danger for users.

Source: Inquisitr

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Kavita Iyer

An individual, optimist, homemaker, foodie, a die hard cricket fan and most importantly who believes in Being Human 

8 Comments

  1. OF COURSE it switches off its capability when you hit the off switch. Sure. OF COURSE the government would never use the capability to listen to ordinary citizens… Why, that would be crazy – like imagining that the NSA would collect all the phone calls and emails of ordinary citizens. It’s not like if the governmemt didn’t like your political views they might search for ways to attack you – they would never, say, use the IRS against political opponents. Why it would be crazy to imagine that the government might store all your communications (and now ‘private’ conversations in your home) to search them later if you ever became “a person of interest” to the government. I mean, they store them sure, the admit that, but you can always trust everyonecin the police and government to do the honest and correct thing. Oh, and google is mot collecting data on allyou and your friends and contacts and even if they did, the would never sell it like Facenook does, or release it to the government. Right? Right!

  2. I really don’t care who listens to my conversations, – I have nothing to hide in this world, and am actually quite glad that there might just be someone listening to those who DO have something to hide and this may prevent harm to the innocent

    • oh what a surprise.. an NSA/government shill with the ol’ ‘if you have nothing to hide line’. go away, cancer.

    • Saying you dont care about the right to privacy because you “Have nothing to hide in this world” is like saying you dont care about the freedom of speech because you have nothing to say.

    • Yo, can you give me your password to your e-mail? I just want to have a look around, and as you say – you have nothing to hide.

    • Ok tony…. How about you disclose your usernames and passwords to all your email accounts and your bank accounts & let us just browse around & have a look see at what you have. Trust us we wont mess with your money. It is very important to keep your finances & personal family matters private. I don’t want any paedophiles or thieves to have any opportunity to see my kids & grandkids running & playing in the nude & stealing my hard earned money. Think about what your saying when you say you have nothing to hide. We “ALL” have personal stuff to hide!!

      Blue

  3. a conversation between two people (including lovers) being recorded while laptop in bedroom and only switched on? For those who have no problem with privacy between friends and their partner and sharing it with the world is fine. I personally dont want some spotty teenage virgin kuunt from google listening into my love life while having a wank over it. or many other private conversations between friends who respect each others confidentiality having that trust inadvertantly violated.

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