MCViewPoint

Opinion from a Libertarian ViewPoint

Posts Tagged ‘Amazon’

Amazon’s Alexa Reviewers Can Access Customers’ Home Addresses

Posted by M. C. on April 24, 2019

Is it open mic night at your house?

https://www.msn.com/en-us/news/technology/amazons-alexa-reviewers-can-access-customers-home-addresses/ar-BBWfwuH

Matt Day, Giles Turner and Natalia Drozdiak
(Bloomberg) — An Amazon.com Inc. team auditing Alexa users’ commands has access to location data and can, in some cases, easily find a customer’s home address, according to five employees familiar with the program.

The team, spread across three continents, transcribes, annotates and analyzes a portion of the voice recordings picked up by Alexa. The program, whose existence Bloomberg revealed earlier this month, was set up to help Amazon’s digital voice assistant get better at understanding and responding to commands.

Team members with access to Alexa users’ geographic coordinates can easily type them into third-party mapping software and find home residences, according to the employees, who signed nondisclosure agreements barring them from speaking publicly about the program.

While there’s no indication Amazon employees with access to the data have attempted to track down individual users, two members of the Alexa team expressed concern to Bloomberg that Amazon was granting unnecessarily broad access to customer data that would make it easy to identify a device’s owner…

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Amazon Workers Are Listening to What You Tell Alexa

Posted by M. C. on April 11, 2019

SHOCKED!

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-04-10/is-anyone-listening-to-you-on-alexa-a-global-team-reviews-audio?srnd=premium

By

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Tens of millions of people use smart speakers and their voice software to play games, find music or trawl for trivia. Millions more are reluctant to invite the devices and their powerful microphones into their homes out of concern that someone might be listening.

Sometimes, someone is.

Amazon.com Inc. employs thousands of people around the world to help improve the Alexa digital assistant powering its line of Echo speakers. The team listens to voice recordings captured in Echo owners’ homes and offices. The recordings are transcribed, annotated and then fed back into the software as part of an effort to eliminate gaps in Alexa’s understanding of human speech and help it better respond to commands.

The Alexa voice review process, described by seven people who have worked on the program, highlights the often-overlooked human role in training software algorithms. In marketing materials Amazon says Alexa “lives in the cloud and is always getting smarter.” But like many software tools built to learn from experience, humans are doing some of the teaching.

The team comprises a mix of contractors and full-time Amazon employees who work in outposts from Boston to Costa Rica, India and Romania, according to the people, who signed nondisclosure agreements barring them from speaking publicly about the program. They work nine hours a day, with each reviewer parsing as many as 1,000 audio clips per shift, according to two workers based at Amazon’s Bucharest office, which takes up the top three floors of the Globalworth building in the Romanian capital’s up-and-coming Pipera district. The modern facility stands out amid the crumbling infrastructure and bears no exterior sign advertising Amazon’s presence.

The work is mostly mundane. One worker in Boston said he mined accumulated voice data for specific utterances such as “Taylor Swift” and annotated them to indicate the searcher meant the musical artist. Occasionally the listeners pick up things Echo owners likely would rather stay private: a woman singing badly off key in the shower, say, or a child screaming for help. The teams use internal chat rooms to share files when they need help parsing a muddled word—or come across an amusing recording…

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Bokhari: Amazon Is on a Digital Book Burning Spree

Posted by M. C. on April 9, 2019

The same guy that owns WaPo. So what does he ALLOW to be printed?

Tommy Robinson was jailed in the UK for attempting to cover the Pakistani groomer trial, against government wishes. Ten year coverups of ME child groomers, for Islamic PC purposes, are embarrassing.

https://www.breitbart.com/author/allum-bokhari/

by ALLUM BOKHARI

Under pressure from left-wing journalists and activists, Amazon is purging right-wing authors from its store, including a book co-authored by English Islam critic and independent commentator Tommy Robinson.

The web retail giant has become the dominant market player in book sales, accounting for nearly 50 percent of physical and 83 percent of e-book sales in the U.S. As such, Amazon has the power to effectively cut an author off from the vast majority of the books market.

Amazon began its new round of purges by targeting the white nationalist fringe. In February, the tech giant banned a number of books from white identitarian Jared Taylor, and a book called The White Nationalist Manifesto by Greg Johnson.

This followed bans on Holocaust revisionist books in 2017, and a purge of all books by controversial pickup blogger and author Daryush “Roosh” Valizadeh in 2018.

As with financial blacklisting, a censorship spree that starts by targeting extreme ideas quickly moves towards the censorship of more mainstream ones. In early March, the online retailer banned Muhammed’s Koran: Why Muslims Kill for Islam, a Chronological Koran and critique of the Islamic religion co-authored by British populist Tommy Robinson.

The book is a chronological reordering of the Islamic Koran, followed by commentary by Robinson and his co-author, Peter McLoughlin. Amazon did not return Breitbart News’ request for an explanation of why the book was banned…

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Mass Shootings & Paul is Dead & other things: Is book ...

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Bill Maher Bashes Middle America: Less ‘Affluent and Educated’ People Who ‘Want to Be Us’

Posted by M. C. on February 24, 2019

The nation’s premier progressive spokesperson has it backward about whom wants own who.

Are you one of Maher’s deplorable?

https://www.breitbart.com/entertainment/2019/02/24/bill-maher-bashes-middle-america-less-affluent-and-educated-people-who-want-to-be-us/

By Ben Kew

“Maybe that has something to do with why Trump voters are obsessed with ‘owning the libs.’ Because the libs own everything else,” he continued. “The blue parts of America are having a big prosperity party while that big sea of red feels like their invitation got lost in the mail.”

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New Deals (Even Green Ones) Are Bonanzas For Big Business

Posted by M. C. on February 18, 2019

https://townhall.com/columnists/jonahgoldberg/2019/02/15/new-deals-even-green-ones-are-bonanzas-for-big-business-n2541520

Amazon is taking its ball and going home, and New York Democrats are actually celebrating.

I wasn’t a huge fan of the deal New York and Amazon worked out. I don’t like corporate welfare, and the race among municipalities to bribe businesses to set up shop in their backyards has a lot of problems. The news that Amazon is spurning the Big Apple and searching for a different location will undoubtedly spark an unseemly frenzy among other cities, reminiscent of the search for the last golden ticket in “Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.”

But what’s just astounding to me is how Democrats can (almost in one breath, figuratively speaking) champion a Green New Deal that would use the powers of the state — taxes, subsidies, regulatory bullying, etc. — to herd whole industries into alignment with their vision of a just and green society, and at the same time denounce these very tactics when actually put into practice.

The most prominent architect of the GND is New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez. Under her proposal, cows might suffer, but humans will thrive thanks to all the wonderful new jobs and free health care her utopian scheme would provide.

AOC, as she’s ubiquitously called, rejects the idea that traditional market economics or fiscal bookkeeping should be any hindrance to her scheme.

“I think the first thing that we need to do is kind of break the mistaken idea that taxes pay for 100 percent of government expenditure,” she recently told NPR’s Steve Inskeep. “It’s just not how government expenditure works. … Government projects are often financed by a combination of taxes, deficit spending and other kinds of investments — you know, bonds and so on.”

When Inskeep pointed out to her that deficit spending is “borrowing money that has to be paid back eventually through taxes,” AOC reversed herself with an impressive lack of embarrassment, saying that’s OK because this isn’t spending, it’s investing. Borrowing tens of trillions for her “investments” will pay for itself, “Because we’re creating jobs.”

Read the rest of this entry »

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Jeff Bezos Puts the Pentagon on His Monopoly Board | The American Conservative

Posted by M. C. on November 5, 2018

The real prize is to become the military’s sole procurement source for off-the-shelf components. 

Employees at Google and Microsoft...They don’t want to be responsible for developing technology that causes substantial harm, surveils others in violation of international norms, or contravenes human rights.

Do Google and MS have an App for selective guilt? Here is where I get to use one of my favorite terms, thank you Star Trek.

Non sequitur

https://www.theamericanconservative.com/articles/amazon-joins-the-military-to-further-its-dominance/

By JASON C. DITZ

Speaking at the Wired 25th anniversary last month month, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos announced that his company will continue to accept Pentagon contracts. That includes a very controversial cloud-computing contract that Google and Microsoft have already backed out of due to vocal employee opposition to working with the U.S. military.

Amazon was long considered the front-runner for this contract, but Bezos’s rationale for taking it goes well beyond its being low-hanging fruit. He’s argued that the government’s job is to “make the right decision, even when it’s unpopular,” and that large tech companies should support those decisions irrespective of politics.

The $10 billion tied to the contract can’t hurt either. Whatever his motivation for sucking it up and taking one for team tech, Bezos’s public justification is a poor one, and it isn’t hard to see why. The Pentagon has a long history of immoral and reckless behavior, actions that objectively aren’t beneficial to the defense of the United States. Any company that blindly works with them does so at its own peril. Read the rest of this entry »

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EconomicPolicyJournal.com: Amazon Makes an Evil Move

Posted by M. C. on October 3, 2018

http://www.economicpolicyjournal.com/2018/10/amazon-makes-evil-move.html#more

Amazon today announced it is increasing its minimum wage to $15 for all full-time, part-time, temporary (including those hired by agencies), and seasonal employees across the U.S.—effective November 1.

This is fine, Amazon should be able to play its employees whatever it wants.

But here is where they turn evil. In a press release announcing the wage hike, the company also states: Read the rest of this entry »

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Here’s The Criticism Jeff Bezos and Amazon Actually Deserve… | The Daily Bell

Posted by M. C. on September 17, 2018

https://www.thedailybell.com/all-articles/news-analysis/heres-the-criticism-jeff-bezos-and-amazon-actually-deserve/

By Joe Jarvis

People like Bernie Sanders attack the rich for being successful.

Yesterday we talked about legislation Bernie Sanders introduced last week. Called the Stop BEZOS Act, it specifically targeted Jeff Bezos, the founder, and CEO of Amazon, and richest person in the world.

If it passes, the legislation will tax large corporations 100% of the dollar value of any welfare any of their employees get from the federal government. It is basically a disincentive to hire poor people. Plus it nudges companies to automate with robots to avoid liability and other costs of human workers.

Jeff Bezos should not be criticized for being successful, making a lot of money, and providing half a million jobs of all skill levels.

But the endless anti-free-market whining of Democratic Socialists drowns out the valid criticism of Jeff Bezos.

I agree with portions of a letter sent to Jeff Bezos on behalf of 100 of his employees. Read the rest of this entry »

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From Facebook to Amazon, these are the default privacy settings you should change – The Washington Post

Posted by M. C. on September 16, 2018

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/the-switch/wp/2018/06/01/hands-off-my-data-15-default-privacy-settings-you-should-change-rou may have to ight-now/

By Geoffrey A. Fowler

Check it out but you may have to disable your ad blocker.

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Amazon, Stop Powering Government Surveillance | Electronic Frontier Foundation

Posted by M. C. on June 6, 2018

It also offers to flag things it considers “unsafe” or “inappropriate.”

I wonder if Jeff Bezos considers reading blog as  “unsafe” or “inappropriate.” Not sure? Just ask the government.

https://www.eff.org/deeplinks/2018/05/amazon-stop-powering-government-surveillance

EFF has joined the ACLU and a coalition of civil liberties organizations demanding that Amazon stop powering a government surveillance infrastructure. Last week, we signed onto a letter to Amazon condemning the company for developing a new face recognition product that enables real-time government surveillance through police body cameras and the smart cameras blanketing many cities. Amazon has been heavily marketing this tool—called “Rekognition”—to law enforcement, and it’s already being used by agencies in Florida and Oregon. This system affords the government vast and dangerous surveillance powers, and it poses a threat to the privacy and freedom of communities across the country. That includes many of Amazon’s own customers, who represent more than 75 percent of U.S. online consumers… Read the rest of this entry »

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