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Discussion Starter #3
They say smart tv's record conversations. I can't verify that, but I've noticed the little pilot light on them still on when they're turned off and in a dark room. Are they in a stand-by mode?
 

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They say smart tv's record conversations. I can't verify that, but I've noticed the little pilot light on them still on when they're turned off and in a dark room. Are they in a stand-by mode?
Some of them can be. Gotta RTFM unfortunately. At least some TVs permit turning off the always-listening feature; something else to look for in the manual.

I'm running Sony TVs that are at least ten years old and still looking good enough that it's hard to make a case for new ones. However when the time comes I'll be making sure that replacements either don't have a listening feature or that it can be completely disabled. The feature can't add enough to my life to justify the risks.

Risks like others in new technology that people seem to not understand, because it's hard to believe that they just don't care about it.

For example, Amazon (same company, what a coincidence!) is already selling massive facial-recognition database access to police forces and commercial clients. The system offers a database of hundreds of millions of facial photos of people attached to profile information about them gathered from all over the web and collated in Amazon's systems.

Anyone subscribing to the system can submit a photograph - let's say it's a picture of you entering their store. The picture will be matched to other pictures of you (taken from Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc., etc. - anywhere else that you've allowed a photo of yourself to float on the internet) and the client will receive back whatever information the database has about you. Could be name, address, phone, etc., could be (if not already then likely in the future) a profile of your interests or things you like or often shop for, etc.

Here's a story about it from the Washington Post, which is owned by Amazon's Jeff Bezos so be aware of soft treatments in the article.

Amazon is selling facial recognition to law enforcement — for a fistful of dollars
 

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Some of them can be. Gotta RTFM unfortunately. At least some TVs permit turning off the always-listening feature; something else to look for in the manual.

I'm running Sony TVs that are at least ten years old and still looking good enough that it's hard to make a case for new ones. However when the time comes I'll be making sure that replacements either don't have a listening feature or that it can be completely disabled. The feature can't add enough to my life to justify the risks.

Risks like others in new technology that people seem to not understand, because it's hard to believe that they just don't care about it.

For example, Amazon (same company, what a coincidence!) is already selling massive facial-recognition database access to police forces and commercial clients. The system offers a database of hundreds of millions of facial photos of people attached to profile information about them gathered from all over the web and collated in Amazon's systems.

Anyone subscribing to the system can submit a photograph - let's say it's a picture of you entering their store. The picture will be matched to other pictures of you (taken from Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, etc., etc. - anywhere else that you've allowed a photo of yourself to float on the internet) and the client will receive back whatever information the database has about you. Could be name, address, phone, etc., could be (if not already then likely in the future) a profile of your interests or things you like or often shop for, etc.

Here's a story about it from the Washington Post, which is owned by Amazon's Jeff Bezos so be aware of soft treatments in the article.

Amazon is selling facial recognition to law enforcement — for a fistful of dollars
Bolded/underlined is the key.
 

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My attitude changed when I found out (in the mid 80s) that digital PBX phonesets, like the one on everyone's office desk, could be used to bug you. The hookswitch did not interrupt the audio path or kill the microphone in the handset as it did in the old, analog '500' sets. If one thinks about 'why', well, it's pretty hard not to see conspiracies all over the place, and how bad this could be in the long run.

Now I'm suspicious of nearly everything that is offered to us to improve our lives or make them easier. Especially the products that are relatively cheap or free. Facebook? Yea, a lot more than just ad revenue going on there. Cellphones are another gaping hole that we can't do anything about, but have become essential in the 21st century (they can be used as bugs so easily, it is really just a legal issue for governments to regulate or exploit as they see fit). I'm not at all surprised that mics that are opened to the www (like those Alexa things) are going to be used against us - if not now, then eventually.

But people seem to, for the most part, not care about personal security. They willing expose themselves to all sorts of risks, even the ones they should be aware of. I guess just have to hope we are small potatoes and no nefarious groups would actually bother going after us? Because the tools are certainly there if they do want to.
 

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People whine about their electricity bills constantly, yet the number of "power vampires" (things that stay on and powered 24/7 so they can be operated via remotes) multiply and multiply. Yes, such devices are lower power, and not the same current draw as leaving a bunch of 100W incandescent bulbs on all day, but at a certain point all this "convenience" is why the demand for hydro, nuclear, solar,and wind power keeps going up and up.
 

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Discussion Starter #8
My attitude changed when I found out (in the mid 80s) that digital PBX phonesets, like the one on everyone's office desk, could be used to bug you. The hookswitch did not interrupt the audio path or kill the microphone in the handset as it did in the old, analog '500' sets. If one thinks about 'why', well, it's pretty hard not to see conspiracies all over the place, and how bad this could be in the long run.

Now I'm suspicious of nearly everything that is offered to us to improve our lives or make them easier. Especially the products that are relatively cheap or free. Facebook? Yea, a lot more than just ad revenue going on there. Cellphones are another gaping hole that we can't do anything about, but have become essential in the 21st century (they can be used as bugs so easily, it is really just a legal issue for governments to regulate or exploit as they see fit). I'm not at all surprised that mics that are opened to the www (like those Alexa things) are going to be used against us - if not now, then eventually.

But people seem to, for the most part, not care about personal security. They willing expose themselves to all sorts of risks, even the ones they should be aware of. I guess just have to hope we are small potatoes and no nefarious groups would actually bother going after us? Because the tools are certainly there if they do want to.
I really don't consider myself a paranoid person, but all these things seem so obvious, which leaves me wondering why people aren't more concerned.
 

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Stories like these make me glad that I am still a Neanderthal. My HD TV is still dumb and I don't own a cell phone. Speaking of phantom loads on electricity, I have the TV and most other things on power bars so when I turn them off and then the bar and they are really "off".
 

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People whine about their electricity bills constantly, yet the number of "power vampires" (things that stay on and powered 24/7 so they can be operated via remotes) multiply and multiply. Yes, such devices are lower power, and not the same current draw as leaving a bunch of 100W incandescent bulbs on all day, but at a certain point all this "convenience" is why the demand for hydro, nuclear, solar,and wind power keeps going up and up.
You're dead wrong, again. Demand for hydro has been falling for years in Ontario (and likely elsewhere). Ontario routinely dumps electricity it doesn't need at below-cost prices to customers in the U.S.

"People whine about their electricity bills constantly" because the cost is too high! It's the highest cost in Canada and among the highest in North America. The cost has exploded - doubled after inflation in less than fifteen years - almost entirely due to misguided decisions and long-term subsidy contracts devised by the Ontario Liberal government.

NEB - Market Snapshot: Why is Ontario’s electricity demand declining?

Ontario’s Power Trip: Happy FIT day
 

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Well, then that's good news, and I'm only a decade or so behind the times.

In the late 90's I was reading a review of a motherboard that the magazine was raving about, with respect to its "green" characteristics. It "only" consumed 60W in standby mode. That is, when the user had ostensibly shut down, and the screen was black, but the power not cut off. I did somequick calculations, and realized that, on a 3-day long weekend, between 5PM Friday and 8:AM Tuesday, the building where I worked that housed 3 federal departments (including the office of the finance minister and head of the Treasury Board), probably had somewhere around 2000 desktop computers sitting in that "darkscreen" state for 87 hours. Assuming the machines were not any "greener" than the one reviewed, 87 x 2000 x 60W is a LOT of electricity used, simply for something sitting doing nothing. Now multiply that by all the computers left in a similar state across the city, in businesses, hospitals, schools, and homes. I know that when I was working, I would always hit the power bar on a Friday and do a cold boot the following Monday. I suggested to IT that they might recommend this to employees to save on energy (unless the person needed remote access over the weekend). They told me that *I* could do soif I wanted, but went no further than that.

Happily, more and more folks do the brunt of their computing on smartphones, tablets and laptops, which use less power, and the various subsidy programs have encouraged replacing incandescent and CFL with LED lights. And, as the report notes, greater power efficiencies have been obtained in an assortment of traditionally power-hungry household appliances, like refrigeration, laundry, and cooking units, and even TVs. I haven't seen it much lately, but I note many stores in recent past have cut their illumination byhalf during those periods when the temorary public need for AC has risked causing brownouts. So, "regular" use is steadily improving, thanks to innovations, but there are still occasions when the demand for power exceeds what is being produced. The clock on the microwave, and the TV remote startup are not going to make all the difference, but we DO have a lot of "always on" things in the home and at work, that don't need to be on. Options for conveniently depowering, instead of having to squat, reach behind and unplug or plug them in, them would be nice.

So, while things HAVE improved in terms of energy consumption, that doesn't mean our increasing reliance on power vampires and automatic devices can't be diminished and reduce energy consumption even further. Malcolm Gladwell had an interesting piece on his podcast last year about "moral license" and how people perceive the latitude to slack off ethically when they believe they have done something "good". I note that my wife now insists on leaving the outdoor lights on all night, now that I installed LED bulbs. Yes, the LED bulbs consume a fraction of the power, but we run them many hours more.
 

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as more email services get bought out, the entire history of everyone's personal emails will soon be archived, sold, mined, profiled etc

ties right in, with the facial recognition stuff
 
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