Our tech is listening to us. And that could become spying on us

Some people tape over their laptop webcams. But even our headphones can be used to listen to us - so why are we inviting listening devices into our homes?

This is slightly terrifying:

A security researcher has discovered that when the Mac version of Shazam is switched off, it simply stops processing recorded data. The recording itself continues.

The music identification service admits the behaviour but says it only keeps recording purely for technical reasons.

That’s all very well, but it’s worrying how easily our devices can eavesdrop on you.

For example, how about your headphones?

Cautious computer users put a piece of tape over their webcam. Truly paranoid ones worry about their devices’ microphones—some even crack open their computers and phones to disable or remove those audio components so they can’t be hijacked by hackers. Now one group of Israeli researchers has taken that game of spy-versus-spy paranoia a step further, with malware that converts your headphones into makeshift microphones that can slyly record your conversations.

It all makes you wonder how sensible it is to invite products like these into our houses:

Echo  in the Kitchen

Google Home in the Living Room

Much as my family is coming to enjoy the Amazon Echo in our kitchen, both it and the Google Home are essentially always on listening devices that feed data straight to corporations. Could we regret buying them in years to come?

Lead image by Andrea and used under a Creative Commons licence