Posted on Jun 18, 2015 by Rick Falkvinge

Google Chrome Listening In To Your Room Shows The Importance Of Privacy Defense In Depth

Yesterday, news broke that Google has been stealth downloading audio listeners onto every computer that runs Chrome, and transmits audio data back to Google. Effectively, this means that Google had taken itself the right to listen to every conversation in every room that runs Chrome somewhere, without any kind of consent from the people eavesdropped on. In official statements, Google shrugged off the practice with what amounts to “we can do that”.

It looked like just another bug report. "When I start Chromium, it downloads something." Followed by strange status information that notably included the lines "Microphone: Yes" and "Audio Capture Allowed: Yes".

chrome-voicesearch

Without consent, Google’s code had downloaded a black box of code that – according to itself – had turned on the microphone and was actively listening to your room.

A brief explanation of the Open-source / Free-software philosophy is needed here. When you’re installing a version of GNU/Linux like Debian or Ubuntu onto a fresh computer, thousands of really smart people have analyzed every line of human-readable source code before that operating system was built into computer-executable binary code, to make it common and open knowledge what the machine actually does instead of trusting corporate statements on what it’s supposed to be doing. Therefore, you don’t install black boxes onto a Debian or Ubuntu system; you use software repositories that have gone through this source-code audit-then-build process. Maintainers of operating systems like Debian and Ubuntu use many so-called “upstreams” of source code to build the final product.

Chromium, the open-source version of Google Chrome, had abused its position as trusted upstream to insert lines of source code that bypassed this audit-then-build process, and which downloaded and installed a black box of unverifiable executable code directly onto computers, essentially rendering them compromised. We don’t know and can’t know what this black box does. But we see reports that the microphone has been activated, and that Chromium considers audio capture permitted.

This was supposedly to enable the “Ok, Google” behavior – that when you say certain words, a search function is activated. Certainly a useful feature. Certainly something that enables eavesdropping of every conversation in the entire room, too.

Obviously, your own computer isn’t the one to analyze the actual search command. Google’s servers do. Which means that your computer had been stealth configured to send what was being said in your room to somebody else, to a private company in another country, without your consent or knowledge, an audio transmission triggered by… an unknown and unverifiable set of conditions.

Google had two responses to this. The first was to introduce a practically-undocumented switch to opt out of this behavior, which is not a fix: the default install will still wiretap your room without your consent, unless you opt out, and more importantly, know that you need to opt out, which is nowhere a reasonable requirement. But the second was more of an official statement following technical discussions on Hacker News and other places. That official statement amounted to three parts (paraphrased, of course):

1) Yes, we’re downloading and installing a wiretapping black-box to your computer. But we’re not actually activating it. We did take advantage of our position as trusted upstream to stealth-insert code into open-source software that installed this black box onto millions of computers, but we would never abuse the same trust in the same way to insert code that activates the eavesdropping-blackbox we already downloaded and installed onto your computer without your consent or knowledge. You can look at the code as it looks right now to see that the code doesn’t do this right now.

2) Yes, Chromium is bypassing the entire source code auditing process by downloading a pre-built black box onto people’s computers. But that’s not something we care about, really. We’re concerned with building Google Chrome, the product from Google. As part of that, we provide the source code for others to package if they like. Anybody who uses our code for their own purpose takes responsibility for it. When this happens in a Debian installation, it is not Google Chrome’s behavior, this is Debian Chromium’s behavior. It’s Debian’s responsibility entirely.

3) Yes, we deliberately hid this listening module from the users, but that’s because we consider this behavior to be part of the basic Google Chrome experience. We don’t want to show all modules that we install ourselves.

If you think this is an excusable and responsible statement, raise your hand now.

Now, it should be noted that this was Chromium, the open-source version of Chrome. If somebody downloads the Google product Google Chrome, as in the prepackaged binary, you don’t even get a theoretical choice. You’re already downloading a black box from a vendor. In Google Chrome, this is all included from the start.

This episode highlights the need for hard, not soft, switches to all devices – webcams, microphones – that can be used for surveillance. A software on/off switch for a webcam is no longer enough, a hard shield in front of the lens is required. A software on/off switch for a microphone is no longer enough, a physical switch that breaks its electrical connection is required. That’s how you defend against this in depth.

Of course, people were quick to downplay the alarm. “It only listens when you say ‘Ok, Google’.” (Ok, so how does it know to start listening just before I’m about to say ‘Ok, Google?’) “It’s no big deal.” (A company stealth installs an audio listener that listens to every room in the world it can, and transmits audio data to the mothership when it encounters an unknown, possibly individually tailored, list of keywords – and it’s no big deal!?) “You can opt out. It’s in the Terms of Service.” (No. Just no. This is not something that is the slightest amount of permissible just because it’s hidden in legalese.) “It’s opt-in. It won’t really listen unless you check that box.” (Perhaps. We don’t know, Google just downloaded a black box onto my computer. And it may not be the same black box as was downloaded onto yours. )

Early last decade, privacy activists practically yelled and screamed that the NSA’s taps of various points of the Internet and telecom networks had the technical potential for enormous abuse against privacy. Everybody else dismissed those points as basically tinfoilhattery – until the Snowden files came out, and it was revealed that precisely everybody involved had abused their technical capability for invasion of privacy as far as was possible.

Perhaps it would be wise to not repeat that exact mistake. Nobody, and I really mean nobody, is to be trusted with a technical capability to listen to every room in the world, with listening profiles customizable at the identified-individual level, on the mere basis of “trust us”.

Privacy remains your own responsibility.

About Rick Falkvinge

Rick is Head of Privacy at Private Internet Access. He is also the founder of the first Pirate Party and is a political evangelist, traveling around Europe and the world to talk and write about ideas of a sensible information policy. Additionally, he has a tech entrepreneur background and loves good whisky and fast motorcycles.


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321 Comments

  1. abc

    Is there a list, (maker,model) of all these spying devices? I mean like those Smart TVs, now we have to add Chromium,etc.
    Not the devices made explicitly to record audio or video, but those that have the capability besides their normal use, those that people are not kind of aware that are capable of doing this spying

    2 years ago
    Reply
    1. Antimon555

      No need for a list, you only need to ask three questions:
      1: Does it have a connected/powered sensor to use for spying (microphone, camera, etc.)?
      2: Does it have an Internet connection?
      3: Is it open source?

      If answers 1 and 2 are “yes”, and 3 “no”, it is not unlikely that it is such a spying machine. If all three are “yes”, it may still be, if it isn’t properly checked, is hacked, etc. You’re only reasonably safe if answer 1, 2 or both are “no”.

      2 years ago
      Reply
      1. Somewhat Reticent

        1. Does it have a speaker?
        2. Does it have any electrical connectors/sockets or radio/wifi/wireless circuits?
        3. Who actively audits all code?

        2 years ago
        Reply
    2. diy crafts

      Without consent, Google’s code had downloaded a black box of code that – according to itself – had turned on the microphone and was actively listening to your room.

      6 months ago
      Reply
    3. Inspirational Believe Tattoos

      It looked like just another bug report. “When I start Chromium, it downloads something.” Followed by strange status information that notably included the lines “Microphone: Yes” and “Audio Capture Allowed: Yes”.

      6 months ago
      Reply
  2. George Hamman

    Any proof of what your writing above? When you make such accusations, don’t expect people to just believe what you write… you need some sufficient proof, which i definitely don’t see on your article.

    2 years ago
    Reply
    1. JB

      You (still) need proofs that corporations like Google, FB, Apple, etc, are amassing/stealing as many informations from our computers/profiles as possible?
      Have you been living as an hermit for the last decade?

      2 years ago
      Reply
    2. Mandarin

      i believed it, same as i beleived sadam had nukes, this is much easy.

      2 years ago
      Reply
      1. Somewhat Reticent

        Saddam’s sons gassed entire communities – no nukes, but certainly WMD’s.

        2 years ago
        Reply
        1. Mandarin

          please i dont need your wisdom, they gassed communities with the weppon which west sold to them against iran and vice versa and west destroyed the whole country and future generation. you cant justyfy ones evil with other one.

          2 years ago
          Reply
        2. qm20500

          and who give the saddam the gas to kill the curds? who trained osama? search the answers to this questions. who needed a war to revitalize their economy? have some initiative on the information that you receive…don´t eat up all you are fed throughout the media…

          2 years ago
          Reply
    3. Ashley Tate

      You need proof? There is an option to play back recorded audio if you use the “okay google…” thing

      4 weeks ago
      Reply
  3. beernuts

    Fairly sure it does not transmit everything you say to google. The binary is code that listens for and recognizes “Ok Google” LOCALLY. This is easy to verify simply by watching outgoing network traffic. There would have to be a steady stream if it were sending all audio to Google.

    While the underlying issue IS certainly a bug, this seems like another techno-panic story on the whole.

    2 years ago
    Reply
    1. JB

      If I read correctly, the article is about the fact that POTENTIALLY there is the possibility of doing that…

      2 years ago
      Reply
      1. beernuts

        Not so much.

        QUOTE:

        “Obviously, your own computer isn’t the one to analyze the actual search command. Google’s servers do. Which means that your computer had been stealth configured to send what was being said in your room to somebody else, to a private company in another country, without your consent or knowledge, an audio transmission triggered by… an unknown and unverifiable set of conditions.”

        2 years ago
        Reply
        1. Falkvinge

          Yes, as far as this is best understood, “Ok Google” is detected locally, and the audio stream right after that is sent to Google servers for recognition.

          This is also how Google’s voice detection works on Android. If you’re offline, you’re not getting a result but “Cannot contact Google servers at the moment. Resend audio?”.

          2 years ago
          Reply
          1. MrBishop

            There’s an xposed module I use to block the remote servers and use local only as its faster and the computers/phones can use it as long as you have rooted android. All you need is the local file installed for audio processing and a decent CPU on your lhine. As far as chromium goes it looks like the standard Google Now that I’m running on my Chrome; it listens for the command phrase. When it hears is then it sends the words to the remote servers but not until. Yes its always listening but toy don’t need internet to use Now its just used by default because the servers are a little more accurate still. From the sounds ofnit its a bug that it’s on by default. A bug I don’t seem able to reproduce so its not something I’m worried about. Are yky sure you just didn’t have Google Now enabled in your phone? Google shares settings across devices and that could be a simple reason why its on by default.

            But there’s nothing always on, or wiretappy about this. Other the. The fact Google should have asked for the closed source install first they haven’t fine anything wrong. Although that was a big screw up since most of us who use chromium do so for a reason. Never the less your trust a binary that’s been compiled elsewhere so toy can’t be that concerned.

            Also good luck living in a world with the Echo and smart TVs and smart pho es in every room. If yky czng use rational logic to stay calm everything with Mic is going to terrorify you. But I don’t disagree a level of paranoia is healthy especially when they don’t ask for permission to install a binary. But I can’t find any video or logs for evidence so I am only having to take your word. Good reporting inudes Sources. Would you mind running wireshark and uploading a log or a video, also maybe just screen capture. Uninsta chromium completely then insta it and watch it to see if it’s installed post chromium or as part of it. Also to see what it actually does. Does it actually grab control over the Mic? Is it shared or exclusive? These are the things Linux users expect when reading an article about Linux/open source. But honestly it looks like this article was designed to create fear, anger, and confusion for the common man rather then help anyone understand what specifically Now is doing. Get back to me with the results of the packet sniff and let me know if, when, how often, it grabs the Mic?

            2 years ago
    2. Falkvinge

      As far as has been claimed, the black box only transmits to Google Servers after it has recognized “Ok Google”.

      1) There is no way to verify this. There may be other activation conditions. Those conditions may be present in black boxes on other computers but not yours.

      2) It still needs to listen continuously in order to recognize “Ok Google” using local processing.

      3) The activation behavior can be trivially reconfigured.

      2 years ago
      Reply
      1. Oletros

        “2) It still needs to listen continuously in order to recognize “Ok Google” using local processing.”

        No, it doesn’t.

        2 years ago
        Reply
        1. Robert Watkins

          Um – how would it recognise “Ok Google” if it _wasn’t_ listening continuously?

          Sure, right now it’s only when you’re on the Google home page or in a blank tab. But, as pointed out above, that’s possibly able to be changed. Who knows if there is a backdoor there – say, for law enforcement purposes? Or if one got added?

          The problem is over-hyped – but the problem is real.

          But hey, I use an iPhone and the microphone on that is listening out for “Hey Siri” every second it’s plugged into power, so what do I know?

          2 years ago
          Reply
          1. Falkvinge

            Even if this is true, there’s also the fact that several people routinely have 30+ tabs open, at least one of which is a derelict of some unfinished or sidertracked thought process.

            Am I supposed to have to consciously think of not leaving a tab in a “listening” state in order to have privacy? That idea is horrendous.

            2 years ago
          2. Leslie Clarke

            If you look in the Google settings, there’s an option to turn off and on the voice search capability. It only listens constantly when it’s on, so you can turn it off.

            2 years ago
          3. Somewhat Reticent

            When was that option added?

            2 years ago
          4. billyoblivion

            (1) You’re sure that that switch does what it says?

            (2) Defaults should be (reasonable) secure. That one is not.

            2 years ago
        2. Alastair Houghton

          Yes, it does, though it might be hardware listening until it spots audio above a certain level before kicking some piece of software into action.

          2 years ago
          Reply
          1. Oletros

            No, it doesn’t.

            Can any of you claiming that it is always listening give just ONE prof. Or, at least, just one plausible argument.

            As you accuse Google of lying, please, at least tell us that you have some proof of them lying.

            2 years ago
          2. Alastair Houghton

            I’m a software developer. I’m telling you that it has to be listening all the time in order to hear the “OK Google”.

            If it’s hard to understand, imagine that you’re blind and wearing ear defenders. Now you want to take the ear defenders off when someone says “OK Google”. How are you going to do that? You can’t, because you can’t tell when someone said “OK Google”, right?

            The only way to solve that is to listen all the time somehow; i.e. you have to take the ear defenders off. You can then decide not to pay attention until you hear “OK Google”, which I think is basically what’s going on, but you’re still listening, right?

            2 years ago
          3. Oletros

            It seems that it is hard to understand that it only detects Ok Google in a new tab so, it has to listen ONLY when a new tab is created AND if the detection has been enabled.

            Perhaps you’re a software developers, but you clearly don’t read how it works.

            So now, any proof of Chrome listening apart the specific situation when it has to listen?

            2 years ago
          4. Alastair Houghton

            I didn’t claim otherwise. If a new tab has been created and the detection is enabled (which it is, by default, in the case being discussed), then Chromium listens all the time. It doesn’t magically wait for someone to say “OK Google” first, because that’s impossible.

            2 years ago
          5. Oletros

            No, the detection is not enabled by default. Please, can all of you read at least what is enabled and what is not.

            2 years ago
          6. Alastair Houghton

            Quote from the article: “the default install will still wiretap your room without your consent, unless you opt out”.

            2 years ago
          7. Oletros

            Perhaps then you have to ask how the author of the articles knows it and how can prove that Google is lying.

            So no, the article can claim the FUD it wants, reality is what it is and.

            And y9u don’t have to opt out, you have to opt in and mark the “Allow OK Google detection”.

            Do you people have any critical thinking or believe the first thing you read on Internet because it follows your biases?

            It is funny that people like you, that say that they never had used some thing can do such claims without any knowledge of the situation.

            2 years ago
          8. Alastair Houghton

            You may be right that the article is incorrect in that regard — it seems that there has been some confusion caused by the wording of the status information in chrome://voicesearch/ and the fact that it actually does enable the webcam temporarily even if the setting is turned off.

            As for the rest of your comment, don’t be so rude!

            2 years ago
          9. Oletros

            Rude? After repeating multiple times that you and the other didn’t researched anything and still repeating ad nausea the same FUD?

            The ones being rude are you and the the author of the article that still have not amended the article and still let FUD spreading

            2 years ago
          10. Alastair Houghton

            Yes, rude. Go read your comments and see how you’d feel being on the end of them.

            (I’ll ignore the ridiculous suggestion that I could somehow edit the original article, which I have nothing to do with.)

            2 years ago
          11. Oletros

            Perhaps the “ridiculous argument” was directed to the author of the article.
            And the rude here is you, rude is the attitude of not wanting to know what the thing is about just because your own biases.

            2 years ago
          12. Alastair Houghton

            I’m not the one hurling insults.

            2 years ago
          13. imposterdamus

            Don’t listen to me until you hear me say your name…..

            2 years ago
          14. Oletros

            Stupid analogy is an stupid analogy

            2 years ago
          15. Teszter

            It is hard to get, isn’t it, Oletros?

            2 years ago
          16. Oletros

            Sure, you see? They are not getting that it is not always listening, just in one specific case and if it has been activated.

            2 years ago
          17. Teszter

            “It is advisable to read everything carefully in order to understand. If what they are talking about here is clear to you, then this comment is not for you and you do not have to read it.”

            2 years ago
          18. Oletros

            Yes, you have expressed the stupidity of the analogy very well

            2 years ago
      2. Somewhat Reticent

        NSA/FBI/LEO-interest => activation … per secret deal Google is obligated to deny?

        2 years ago
        Reply
      3. Alastair Houghton

        It isn’t true that there’s no way to verify this. Someone could reverse engineer the code. I would, if I had time and could be bothered, but in this case I don’t use Chrome or derivatives (I didn’t like Google’s existing behaviour wrt watching your browsing habits) and I have more important things to do with my time.

        Anyway, I’m sure you can find a security expert prepared to reverse it for you and tell you exactly what it does, if you ask. There’s bound to be someone interested in doing it.

        2 years ago
        Reply
    3. Ed Snowden

      Dude… talk about naive…

      2 years ago
      Reply
      1. beernuts

        What in the world is naive about that? It can be verified, and I DID watch network traffic before, during and after “activating” it with it’s hotword. Nothing is sent until it is activated.

        2 years ago
        Reply
        1. ta2025

          Ahh, but google is nefariously in collusion with the router and network management software companies and even has inserted its people onto the design teams of the trusted platform open source network analyzers, purposely to write the code to mask their traffic and make it only APPEAR to start upstream traffic AFTER the “OK Google” Trigger. they even manipulate the bit counters to throw off the actual traffic statistics. There is no telling how deep this rabbit hole goes! 😉

          2 years ago
          Reply
        1. them0use

          Certainly. I mean, who would think to check the assertions in this article by looking at what the program is actually doing but a shill? Nice try, Google!

          2 years ago
          Reply
    4. grat

      And if they add “my password is” or “my account number is”, or “I plan”, or “let’s watch”– How would you know?

      For that matter, what if someone ELSE figures out how to hack their code to add a phrase or two?

      There are so many ways to abuse / misuse / get screwed by this that it’s just crazy.

      Makes me glad that only one of my computers even HAS a microphone, but I’ll be uninstalling all google products from that laptop this evening.

      2 years ago
      Reply
      1. them0use

        Do you run any closed source software, or open-source software you haven’t personally audited? Because if you’re setting the bar at “could be updated or hacked to listen for ‘my password is’, etc” then you’ll need to uninstall pretty much everything on your computer, since that could be done with any program. In fact, how do you know they’re not all doing that *right now*? >.>

        2 years ago
        Reply
        1. Alastair Houghton

          Agreed, though the particular problem with Google is that unlike most software vendors, they have an incentive to act in a manner you might not like — they sell advertising (not software*), and it’s in their interests to maximise their revenue from that.

          Most of us (I’m a software developer) charge for our software, which is where we make our money, and in that case we really have no incentive to screw you — particularly, I might add, if we’re allowed to charge for upgrades in the future, because we’d actually like repeat business. It’s when things are free or unusually cheap that you need to start worrying, because it costs money to make software. Even with FOSS, it’s worth bearing in mind where the money is coming from and why — though at least with FOSS you can look at the source code, which makes it rather easier than auditing a binary.

          * Yes, I know there are a few exceptions (e.g. Google Search Appliance and some SAAS products), but Google makes its money from ads.

          2 years ago
          Reply
      2. Stein Vidar Hagfors Haugan

        “Don’t believe me? ‘Ok, Google’ it” 😉

        And the following will of course never, ever, be listened to by NSA, right?

        “Another piece of ‘bombshell’ news…”
        “What if they bomb the city?…”

        2 years ago
        Reply
    5. jeremiah johnson

      Hold the phone, there is NO ROOM for thought, here. You’re supposed to agree with the article and MOVE ON. You are NOT supposed to open your mouth, ESPECIALLY if you’re going to contradict the article.

      Geez, it’s like some people have never been in a mob before…

      2 years ago
      Reply
    6. Alastair Houghton

      FWIW, it doesn’t necessarily send the audio itself; it could be doing some of the processing locally and sending a stream of symbols instead, which would cut down the data rate dramatically, to the point where you might not notice if you weren’t looking for that.

      2 years ago
      Reply
    7. GTH_BHO

      it doesn’t have to be a steady stream. there are all sorts of ways to transmit the data. It doesn’t have to be a lot of bandwidth

      2 years ago
      Reply
    8. S. Robot

      This article is the embodiment of the “slippery slope” argument. Google has the ability to listen to every room, but they proveably not doing that, as they said.

      Sure, google could upload more code to do that, but why speculate on all the things google could do? The article brings an important point up, but I feel like the tone is wrong. Very wrong.

      2 years ago
      Reply
  4. Oletros

    According to the documentation, Chrome only listen in a new tab or the search bar and only when Ok Google is activated.

    Any proof of the claims made on the article?

    2 years ago
    Reply
    1. Falkvinge

      Just follow the links. It’s all there.

      2 years ago
      Reply
      1. Oletros

        No, none of the links says that Chrome is listening

        2 years ago
        Reply
        1. Nagora Nerides

          It *has* to be listening for this to work. It’s not magic.

          2 years ago
          Reply
          1. Oletros

            It has to be listening in a very particular situation, not always.

            2 years ago
          2. Nami Doc

            For now. You don’t know when google will enable it listening all the time, because it’s a black box being downloaded.

            2 years ago
          3. Joshua Landau

            No. The code is enabled by open-source code. That code is auditable.

            2 years ago
          4. Nami Doc

            …Which makes no assertion as to which code actually ends up on your machine, indeed.

            2 years ago
          5. them0use

            Multiple people have shown that the feature is disabled by default, and, when enabled, only sends data when triggered. If you have to go beyond that into “yeah, but the developers *could* sneak in code later to secretly enable it, make it listen for passwords, kill your dog, etc” territory, “but they *could*…” territory, then you should probably just stop using any software you haven’t audited personally, since the same thing is true of *everything else on your computer*.

            2 years ago
          6. Joshua Landau

            It does. That’s the whole point. Debian audits the code. If you don’t trust the Debian maintainers, don’t use Debian repos.

            If you don’t want to trust *any* auditor, you’re going to want to compile manually from source after manual audits. I guess there’s Gentoo, then. But it means you can’t use *any* precompiled package.

            Expecting Google to go along with that absurdity is stupid.

            2 years ago
        2. Falkvinge

          Something that activates when you say “Ok, Google” must, by definition, be listening to what you say – and by extension, to any sound in the room.

          There is no other way to detect if you’re saying “Ok, Google”, with the possible exception of lip-reading through the webcam, which would not be any better at all.

          There’s the issue of whether this is technically opt-in, opt-out, enabled, activated, and a number of other technical nuances. But the basic facts are there: Google downloaded eavesdropping software onto people’s computers without knowledge or consent, activated right this moment or not.

          2 years ago
          Reply
          1. Oletros

            Something that is activated just on a new tab when an option is set to on it is not listening all the time.

            At least until you provide any proof of that always listening

            2 years ago
          2. Elliott Smith

            How is this a hard concept to understand? You can’t analyse audio to figure out if it says “ok google” if you haven’t recorded that audio! It has to be listening to every noise that goes into the microphone to decide if one of those noises was “ok google”.

            The issue is, there’s no reason Google couldn’t, if they so desired, silently change the behavior to listen for other keywords. What if someone had suspicions that a certain gmail address was operated by a criminal? They’d be able to check which computer’s chrome install was logged into that google account, then silently install a chrome update that records everything the person says and sends it directly to google.

            What if there’s a vulnerability and someone shady figures out how to exploit it?

            2 years ago
          3. Oletros

            > How is this a hard concept to understand?

            It seems that it is very hard to understand that the author has claimed that Chromium/Chrome is listening in all the tabs all the time and this is not true and the author has not given any proof of this.

            If any of you had spent just 30 second to look the documentation you will find that the only time it is listening is when the Ok Google is activated (it is not by default) in a new tab.

            When any of you can give any proof that Google is lying and it is listening every time then you can start to talk about “hard concept to understand”.

            And the hypothetical things are irrelevant, the author has made an accusation but it seems that he is incapable of reading the links he posts or it is just making things

            2 years ago
          4. Cowicide

            Oletros, I see your points, but it comes down to a matter of trust as well. Google only has itself to blame for that lack of trust as they have an incredibly spotty record when it comes to privacy.

            Google has put itself in a position where people (unless they are rather naive) don’t take their word on privacy.

            Please stop acting befuddled by the fact that people don’t trust Google’s intentions. It’s just making you look like a silly apologist.

            2 years ago
          5. Oletros

            It is not a question of trusting Google or not.

            The author has made a clear accusation:

            ” had turned on the microphone and was actively listening to your room.”

            Can he prove it or not? Because when he is asked he can’t answer, so, even if I don’t trust Google, the author is just inventing things.

            And the ones acting like silly apologists are the ones that believe the first thing they read in internet without even trying to contrast the sources

            But I give up, yes, Chrome is listening anything in the room even if you don’t have a mic. And the 9/11 was an internal plot.

            2 years ago
          6. Cowicide

            It is not a question of trusting Google or not.

            Actually, it is. Again, Google has only themselves to blame for all this distrust they’ve garnered.

            And the ones acting like silly apologists are the ones that believe the first thing they read in internet without even trying to contrast the sources

            You keep using that word “apologist”. I do not think it means what you think it means.

            2 years ago
          7. NooneYouKnow

            How about something that is downloaded without knowledge or consent, with the potential for eavesdropping all the time. Is this an acceptable practice to you?
            Whether it is listening all the time is irrelevant. You have to go looking for the ‘opt out’ part, with no guarantee that the software is, in fact, de-activated. Sorry, your position is wrong, in fact, your position is dangerous.

            2 years ago
          8. Falkvinge

            I haven’t said always listening. I’ve said 1) that there’s the potential to listen to any conversation, and therefore, that Google has taken itself the right to listen to every conversation, and 2) that Chromium appears to be listening based on preliminary data but deeper analysis seems to contradict this for now, 3) that Chrome is listening.

            There have been reports that the default is off. I have received screenshots that show it in what-must-be-on state, by users who were surprised about it (attached). These were not people who had taken active action or given consent.

            Regardless, I based this article on how I understood the Chrome dev comments about the feature (in the link).

            2 years ago
          9. Oletros

            Without consent, Google’s code had downloaded a black box of code that – according to itself – had turned on the microphone and was actively listening to your room.

            Yap, that quote doesn’t mean that you have accused that it is always listening. And Santa is a real person> I have received screenshots that show it in what-must-be-on state,

            You’re really joking if you claim that that screenshot means that is activated.

            > Regardless, I based this article on how I understood the Chrome dev comments

            No, you have based tour article in a lot of FUD without any proof. If your “paraphrased” explanation is what you have understood is clear that you don’t want to understand.

            2 years ago
  5. Living_without_a_purpose

    Even if this true or not. I made sure my Google Voice search was disabled. How the hell was it that I left it on? Oh well, I don’t talk much anyways,

    2 years ago
    Reply
  6. Geekmee

    “Don’t be evil” – Google

    2 years ago
    Reply
    1. HughdePayens

      Sheesh everywhere, and I mean EVERYWHERE, we look, every direction we turn, corruption…deep to the core corruption.

      2 years ago
      Reply
      1. Somewhat Reticent

        Even here!

        2 years ago
        Reply
      2. VendicarDecarian0

        What corruption?

        2 years ago
        Reply
        1. VeggyZ

          What corruption? What exactly have you been listening to for the past several decades. Not only our government, but governments around the world are thoroughly corrupt and actively involved in taking power away from regular people, consolidating it, and using it to suppress rights that are inconvenient for those in positions of power – little things like freedom of speech… in fact, why don’t we just say freedom, period.

          I hope that question isn’t serious, because corruption has been a hot topic for decades, even centuries.

          3 months ago
          Reply
          1. VendicarDecarian0

            Shut up, pig, and get back to work, while you have work to get back to.

            The world revolves around money and Capitalism demands that the maximum amount of money be extracted from you.

            Anything less is pure communism.

            3 months ago
          2. VeggyZ

            I don’t give a shit what capitalism demands, I work for ME, not you, or anyone else leeching off this country’s welfare system. There isn’t just choice A and choice B – the corruption is plain to see and surprise surprise, it exists in ANY form of government you could possibly use as an example.

            Maybe you should TRY working, and you’d have some perspective on all this. I’m willing to bet you don’t. “Pig” …

            Let me correct that instead of backspace. “Swine”

            If you’re really questioning the corruption they talk about in all this you’re beyond a fucking retard. That’s why I had HOPED you were being sarcastic. Evidently not. Stupid is as stupid does. By your response it’s almost impossible to gauge if you even KNOW what you think you believe in – or if you’re just pretending to have beliefs period.

            3 months ago
      3. HughdePayens

        Well you have the corruption of our government that has uses companies to spy on it’s people. You have the corruption of a corporation that thinks that is a-ok. Then the corruption of the courts that facilitate this nonsense with some such argument about there being monsters under all of our beds…so the government has the right to look under our beds. The corruption of a people so scared of life that they want mommy government to take care of them, pick up their noony when it falls out of their mouth etc…I could go on for a long time.

        2 years ago
        Reply
        1. asmattersevolve

          What I want to know… and I think I already do know the answer… If people who are surprised about this hidden black box get together as a larger group and ask Google to explain what they are finding out… I believe it will lead to an interesting dialogue. The people at Google are pretty knowledgeable about things but perhaps we need to balance the privilege they have given themselves by being so “smart” with an honest to goodness red flag curiosity. of our own. I do trust google- strangely enough -but you are right to point out this self entitling behaviour and, in fact, if what they are looking for is truly a worthy thing that enables them to bring us all closer to the things we dearly want to learn and know about then we really do have an obligation to say something and not leave our faith in humanity to become a prisoner to our inability to trust others. Google has accomplished some remarkable things that can be given a positive interpration as well. If you want me to put Googles’ accomplishments into simple words, I would have to say that Google… out of its “do no evil” pledge has had an incredible… actually unimaginably significant effect on all our lives.

          It seems that being such an amazing facilitator might even justify their evolving more relaxed views on the taboos of most average people that evolved in a completely different environ. Perhaps, becoming a googlophyte or what ever you call the programmers and engineers at Google you actually become part of a group of individuals who want to change the world for the better. Maybe they will listen to us if we complain about not being included in this interesting examination of boundaries and boldness. If I was doing something kind for someone, I think I would choose to boldly believe that what I was doing is worth my going against the grain.
          In short, I would like to say that drawing attention to a black box might underline the covert tendencies of the author more than the violating nature of Google’s curiosity and that an inquiry of greater significance might be to examine the more subtle variances of mission creep evident in Google’s path of inquiry if indeed there are any.

          1 year ago
          Reply
          1. Noah Walker

            I found this website accidentally, like 5 pages into a Google search about sound amplification, and as a curious programmer (as most are) I decided to read it. I assumed the website would be rather biased and the commenters would be interesting. I always enjoy reading things from a point of view that conflicts my own.
            Your comment is like the most well worded and rational comment I think I have ever seen, not just on the right winged fringe theory websites that I enjoy reading to understand the thoughts of others, but on the internet. (I assume you too do not frequent this website due to your comment being much later than most comments in the thread)
            I don’t know what it is about it but you should become a writer if you aren’t already. I’d usually speed read comments as long as this one even if it was conflicting with the author of the article, but your writing pulled me in.
            I just wanted to compliment you. There aren’t enough compliments on the internet.

            1 year ago
          2. Alan

            What a long-winded excuse for disgusting behavior! You and the shill “Noah” should be ashamed of yourselves!!

            10 months ago
          3. harry guy

            My thoughts exactly

            9 months ago
          4. Emmanuel Goldstein

            Throughout history, the greatest damage has generally been done by seemingly well-intentioned people who saw themselves as better, smarter, more moral, whatever, than the “common” people, and who believed that their superior status entitled them to evade the rules that govern everyone else. And if you can’t see the Orwellian irony in Google’s “do no evil,” then you really shouldn’t be commenting on things like this.

            10 months ago
          5. russ hook

            L000NEY ALERT ^^^ !!!

            8 months ago
          6. asmattersevolve

            And pray tell what is wrong with someone who has a mental illness… ? I’m proud to be a part of that community…. Sometimes you have got to wonder what causes mental illness-no? Enjoy your perspective on life while you can. A little hurt is good medicine I guess. Thanks for something you maybe weren’t intending. Nontheless! It’s so hard to sense what exactly people mean unless they incorporate the principles of good writing… context; examples; analogies; comparison… Without specificity and elaboration the message suffers. (If this is a russ I know; How’s Clark?… and the pulp mill?) There are a million things wrong with my response here. Were you referring to me as having a mental illness or to Noah? I guess simple comments: “LOONEY ALERT ^^^!!! are interpretable in a number of different ways. Share your thoughts? Not that it matters I guess but it seems an interesting idea that dialogue between perfect strangers should somehow wax informative and evolve in ways socially benevolent but that is probably a silly thought… What is the point of writing things here then? I tend to want to spend my time looking at positive things.
            Take care.

            7 months ago
          7. Clipart

            If you think this is an excusable and responsible statement, raise your hand now.

            5 months ago
          8. Chip Chace

            The Patriot 24/7 365.

            Talk about full of shit!! That long rambling utterance of nonsense that you just spouted. Makes about as much sense as farming for rocks. So in your mind because they have a “do no evil” statement. That they’ll never use any of that information that they pick up for something that could hurt you or people around you. The amount of information that could be covertly gathered about individuals and the people they associate with. family members and the like. Could be very easily used to Blackmail anybody. The individuals that would have access to that kind of information could very easily use it to destroy someone’s life. on a individual basis someone in a particular position and another company of any type you could take information gathered from that particular person’s private conversations and use that to your own advantage. It doesn’t have to be Google themselves but those individuals who have access to that type of private information. This is very dangerous and I believe there should be a class action lawsuit against Google so that they have to remove any type of software like this. this should cost them millions for doing this. If I were a lawyer I would start looking to pull people in and start a class action lawsuit against Google for an invasion of privacy against Millions of people. Google has just gotten too big for their own good and I believe needs to be brought down a peg or three. Anyone finding out about this should be outraged. Google has gotten too big and too powerful. Any company who has access to that much information about individuals needs to be scrutinized very very carefully. I believe a audit of their informational databases should be done. any personal information they’ve gathered without permission from that individual. Google should be fined for every individual breach of trust. A company like Google can be very dangerous to every individual. There truly is no limit to what they can do with that kind of information.

            5 months ago
          9. VeggyZ

            I wish I had the “good faith” or “naivety” to trust in something as large as google, that engages in as much censorship as google has been, because life would have a lot less stress.

            If you really believe being spied on is in our or your best interests, you’re insane. I don’t care about their accomplishments – because that doesn’t tell you a think about their intention for you or what their end goal may be. Information is a powerful thing, and information on people who are already in less power than yourself is a weapon. It means essentially, you can do whatever you want, and you have the means to stymie anyone who might disagree.

            Things like suppression of free speech and freedoms in general, and invasion of privacy, are NOT “changing the world for the better” . Not a fucking chance. And that goes for EVERYONE who is not the founder of Google or one of his immediate employees or associates.

            3 months ago
      4. Christian Valenzuela

        The love of money is the root of all evil, Ojays said it best

        2 years ago
        Reply
      5. michael conner

        Thank you. Bless you. This dude is a perverted stalker gettin off on our personal life that only gets him hotter when we turn off the lights. And its legal. Our country lost its morals with Cliton the President who condones infidelity and privacy is now the normal life we share. now is big brothers lover goverment invents. Read my post i wrote to the joker who needs to cut his dick off with my dogs choker chain. My countrys corruption is pure dysfunction . thanks again. oconnerm5@gmail.com

        2 years ago
        Reply
        1. Ratchet hunt

          Only thing I’ve found is power off and pull that battery when you discuss anything you don’t want repeated or video taped also hangout is another one to get rid of jlyk RATCHET hope that helps

          2 years ago
          Reply
        2. Alex Sherman

          What are you even trying to say? Try writing in complete sentences…

          2 years ago
          Reply
        3. Mr.Me

          ANOTHER ONE WHO CAN’T LET MONICA LEWINSKY GO.
          What else do you waste time dwelling about?
          Never mind it’s not that interesting, and probably too far back to care about.

          1 year ago
          Reply
        4. Namma

          Never mind the fact that it really wasn’t about sex but about getting a President “off” for committing a felonious act by lying to a Grand Jury, manipulating/usurping the courts by twisting the American version of Mandarin (legalese) so that he was let go for baldly stating his lies.

          It was an experiment to see how far they could push and how well they could pull the wool over the population’s eyes. Everyone who forwarded the “jokes” about his sex helped create this.

          You want an environment of lawlessness among the ruling elite? Let them get away with everything, including but not limited to rape, mayhem and murder.

          See how they treat what they call “the little” people then.

          When was the last time that occurred?

          Oh yes, before people sought a “new land” where they could attempt an experiment to not allow delusional criminals who get rich by any means possible (by getting let off their crimes) who subjugate the rest of the populations to their depredations.

          1 year ago
          Reply
    2. Somewhat Reticent

      Corporation – see sociopath …

      2 years ago
      Reply
      1. Alastair Houghton

        No, “corporation” just means a legal person (as opposed to a natural person). Lots of things are corporations. Most small businesses, for one (and most of those are definitely NOT sociopathic).

        Oh, AND the big corporations you’re so keen on making out to be the bogeyman… they’re owned by your pension scheme (i.e. by YOU, albeit indirectly). And you can buy shares in them too, if you want to own a bit of them. Oh, and did I mention that shares generally come with voting rights? Yes, that’s right, folks, most corporations are democratic — you just have to be a member to vote.

        Now, you can certainly criticise the behaviour of companies like Google and Facebook with respect to user privacy. But lazily handwaving about huge evil megacorps of the kind Hollywood insists on (equally lazily) writing into the scripts for its blockbusters is really dumb. If anything, it causes people to disengage when really they should be making clear to their pension companies, investment fund managers and so on that they want particular issues raised with businesses whose shares they hold.

        2 years ago
        Reply
        1. libtarded

          Bu Bu Bu… Us vs. Them!!! 99%!!! Err.. free healthcare! education!
          Lets be honest. Corporations themselves are not inherently bad– but when they reach a certain size, they have to play the game with governments… taxes… political donations… special favors (cronyism).
          Look what happened to Microsoft in the 90s. They were making BILLIONs a month, and made the mistake of only having 1 part time lobbyist in DC. So what happened? The government took them down for billions, and now? Dozens of full time lobbyists and active PACs and donating millions to those in power. It’s how big business MUST be done (if you want to stay in business).

          2 years ago
          Reply
          1. wehl3318

            Yes. I agree. It has been this way for a long, long, long… very long time. That fact shouldn’t distract people from the very real reality that populist movements and reforms are at odds with the interests of very large corporations and probably will continue to be until money is removed from politics.

            What got my blood boiling and mouth watering for some good ol public revenge were the well curated phrases “To Big to Fail” and “To Big to Jail.” I’ll die happy when the giant mega banks are broken into unrecognizable pieces. If some top executives went to jail that would be cathartic.

            Of course I do realize I am responding to someone with the handle libtarded and Alastair Houghton so I wouldn’t be surprised if these feelings were confusing to you. When I got back from sweating my a** off in Iraq in 120 degree weather and from shooting at farmer gangsters who just wanted us to get the h*** away from their tribal war I came home to the financial crises. I was kind of wondering what happened to the happy America I had left 15 months ago. To big to fail my a**. I’d like to see Jamie Dimon in full body armor sitting in a dusty tent with a cigarette hanging out of his mouth as gets ready for his next pointless mission sent down to him from the faceless command structure that is the US military. He’s the reason we fought that pointless war. Him and all the other tailored suits. Oh and how about the Evangelicals. Oh yeah, and the morons like Allastair. Oh yeah and how about the media. Oh wait a minute it was like 90% of us wasn’t it?

            I guess Allastair is right about everything since a full 9/10 of us were too stupid or too cowardly to have joined a march or raised our voice in protest. I was naive enough back then to just listen to the adults. 10 years later after a tiny, miniscule amount of research and the facts are clear. Iraq had nothing to do with our values, which in all reality are completely non existant. So its laughable that people in this country even have political opinions. If you are over the age of 40 and you let us walk into Iraq without saying a word in protest you have blood on your hands. And that’s because you are either too stupid to know what your federal government is actually about or to hateful to care. Who cares whether a corporations are evil or not. Look in the f****** mirror.

            2 years ago
          2. Alastair Houghton

            Letting the banks merge until they are the size they are now was a regulatory failure, for sure. It’s resulted in massive banking monopolies with very little competition, and also the “Too Big to Fail” phenomenon where governments are scared to let any of the go to the wall. Which, by the way, is what should have happened.

            Instead, we’ve socialised the debts and protected the banks’ shareholders and bondholders from the consequences of the reckless lending that was going on. That was wrong.

            However, where you and I differ (aside from you calling me a moron, which I’m not), is in your analysis of who was at fault. The problem lending was happening outside of most of the mainstream banks; people were being incentivised to do it by commission payments, and the fact that it was possible to capitalise the debt using Lehman’s slice-and-dice scheme meant that in practice a virtually unlimited amount of money could be lent. The reason the big banks had problems was for the most part down to the fact that they’d bought these slice-and-dice products as assets, but when the debts started to go sour it wasn’t easy enough to work out who had the assets that were affected — the result being that nobody wanted any of them, hence their value fell to essentially zero.

            To my mind, the people who should go to jail here are the people who were lending money to people they knew couldn’t pay it back in order to collect the commission. And the blame lies with them, with the people who borrowed money they knew they couldn’t afford to pay back, and with the politicians who were told repeatedly about this problem and did nothing. Why? Good question. If I had to guess, it’s because “lending to the poor” sounds like a socially good thing to do (if you put very little thought into it, anyway). In practice, lending anything other than very small sums they might stand a chance of paying back is a very bad thing for everyone concerned. On one side, people go bankrupt, lose their homes and their possessions, and on the other side, the lenders lose their capital, savers get less interest (or potentially lose their money entirely) and so on.

            The only blame you can really assign to the big banks is that they were trading in assets that it turned out they didn’t understand, and possibly in the case of Lehman Brothers, that they were manufacturing those assets in the first place. Though actually the slice-and-dice scheme is an entirely reasonable, rational thing to do — it’s just that the resulting assets are subject to a phenomenon rather like a bank run if people lose confidence in their value, which is exactly what happened.

            (You might also bring in the issue of credit default swaps, which some have claimed were an important factor here and undoubtedly helped to magnify the problem.)

            2 years ago
          3. Antikapitalista

            Ha-ha, please, tell us how crapitalism is compatible with regulation…!

            Actually, this is what things would look like in your visions of the system with “money linked to voting”: “too big to fail”.

            2 years ago
          4. Antikapitalista

            Well, I would say is that this is also your fault. Instead of shooting at poor Iraqis, you should have turned your gun on your policy makers who had come up with the idea of waging yet another war of aggression.

            Granted, the people who did not protest yet another aggressive war waged by Fashington do have some blood on their hands.

            But what did you do?! Did you at least try to leave the military? You walked there yourself and you yourself fought that “pointless” war! (It was not quite pointless, though — Dick Cheney’s Halliburton got a nice deal and the military-industrial complex got fat contracts, too.)

            People did protest, but in U.S. oligarchy one is free to protest anything, as long as it makes no difference in the end. If it should make a difference, one would be considered a terrorist — just like the Occupy protesters were considered by the U.S. regime.)

            2 years ago
          5. asmattersevolve

            A lot of people are hanging themselves and others on the “noose of convenience.” Most everyone is guilty of doing this but I’m not looking for people to blame. I reflect this because I want an easy way to question the effect of consumption on our choices in life. Eat apples from the tree in the very middle of the garden and

            10 months ago
          6. VendicarDecarian0

            Developers, Developers, Developers, Developers.

            2 years ago
        2. Gerd Steinwender

          How democratic is a system where you vote with your money?

          2 years ago
          Reply
          1. Alastair Houghton

            Requiring voters to meet some requirement or other is not incompatible with democracy. Usually these days countries require citizenship in order to vote, for instance.

            And, actually, given that most corporations exist to make a profit by using members’ capital to generate revenue, it is entirely reasonable that there should be a relationship between capital investment and voting rights.

            In point of fact, there is even an argument that there should be some link between money and voting in countries’ electoral systems; the fact that there is not allows political parties to attempt to buy votes by promising welfare increases (and there is some evidence that the UK’s Labour Party may have attempted to do exactly that in the past). I accept that this may not be a popular position to adopt, but it’s hard to argue it doesn’t distort the outcome of elections.

            2 years ago
          2. Friotz the Cat

            Democracy is near its end when the people figure out they can vote themselves a raise.

            2 years ago
          3. Jonny Quick

            You come from an isolated island of statist, ass-kissing toadies. You are genetically programmed to kiss someone’s ass. You don’t even know what freedom is, much less have any authority to comment on democratic process. Somewhere there is a dirty rectom in desparate need of cleaning. Go there, pucker-up and fulfill your destiny, and leave the difficulties of self-governance to those that know and care about freedom.

            2 years ago
          4. Antikapitalista

            No; what you describe is not democracy (=the political system of socialism/communism), but plutocracy (=the political system of crapitalism).

            Thus, such a requirement is incompatible with democracy in the same way was as plutocracy is incompatible with democracy.

            Oh, and while we are at it… how much does citizenship cost? I would like to buy a bulk package of citizenship…

            2 years ago
          5. Alastair Houghton

            Democracy is not “the political system of socialism/communism”. It has its origins in ancient Greece, which was most definitely neither socialist nor communist. Nor is plutocracy “the political system of capitalism”, in spite of the fascist propaganda of the early to mid 20th century.

            As far as linking money to voting, it’s worth giving the idea more than a passing thought; for instance, if you were to weight peoples’ votes somehow according to tax paid, you might well encourage certain very rich individuals to pay more tax in the process.

            2 years ago
          6. Antikapitalista

            Just go on reading some fundamental definitions on Wikipedia to find out why your proposed system of crapitalist plutocracy is incompatible with democracy.

            That corporations have been established as legal persons is actually the greatest perversion of the perverse system known as capitalism. Despite this legal fiction having no origins in rational thought or common sense, it continues to be the source of the outrageousness of crapitalism.

            Democracy may have its origins in ancient Greece, which need not have been socialist or communist. But all socialist and communist societies must be democratic.

            Oh, the fascists were surely right then. After all, fascism was born out of the desperate need to salvage crapitalism. And the crapitalists were supporting the fascists.
            In spite of the crapitalist propaganda since the mid 20th century, of course.

            2 years ago
          7. Alan

            Dude, your lack of economic understanding is enough to give a kitten cancer. The Alastair guy is way out of your league and has an idea what he is talking about, unlike you.

            1 year ago
          8. Jeff

            This is a democratic REPUBLIC. That is the major difference between our system & full democracies. We can’t have a full democracy in a nation of 300 million. This is the reason why everyone should want government to be run at the smallest level as possible & also have the Federal Government as a backup to make sure communities don’t get carried away with power. It’s another form of checks & balances that we have to have. Thomas Jefferson was right when he said the constitution should be rewritten every 6 years to make up for the unforseen changes that happen over time in a society. This stupid microphone is a perfect example of new technology being crappier than it was previously. This stupid S6 edge has a microphone that “bings” & turns on almost more than it doesn’t. I’ve tried my settings & have tried to minimize my volume. I’m to the point now, that I’m ready to shut it off completely & use my 4 version. Does anyone out there know how to shut this stupid S VOICE off.???? I lived my whole life without it before this. Any Help out there!!!!!?? ((

            2 years ago
          9. Alastair Houghton

            😀 “This” is not. I am not in the same country as you.

            2 years ago
          10. Coonhound

            The word CITIZEN is now being discouraged due to the fact that it is OFFENSIVE to residents who are not citizens. Dont believe me just google Seattle + citizen…….couldn’t make this crap up if you tried. I am awaiting the mass book burning.

            2 years ago
          11. Jane Gaddin

            Doesnt matter. We havent been citizens for a long time. We are consumers and thats all.

            2 years ago
          12. Mike D

            Consumer? That implies we consume something. Sorry but “content” cannot be consumed. No, we are not consumers, the same as we are not “content creators” that should be getting paid for our hard work of putting words online by creating this original content (these posts). We are data, we are ad revenue, we are nothing, we are slaves to be bought and sold with no say.

            2 years ago
          13. Jane Gaddin

            I agree with what you say. Although i would like to linguistically and literally debate whether or not we “consume” content.
            In any case, saying we are ad revenue is good enough.

            2 years ago
          14. Anonymous

            Why speak of democracy as if it were something laudable? The United States resembled, before the hideous Federal Reserve Act of 1913, a republic, one where the Constitution and Bill of Rights originated. Now, by way of a so called “democracy”, amendments are destroyed because it’s easier to usurp them under conditions of “democracy for all!” We need a republic.

            2 years ago
          15. VendicarDecarian0

            One dollar one vote is the preferred method of voting for those who have most of the dollars.

            2 years ago
        3. roxtoto

          A corporation large enough is obligated by contract to be a psychopath: to put profit first.

          2 years ago
          Reply
          1. Alastair Houghton

            No. Its directors are obligated by law (not by contract) to act in the best interests of the shareholders. That isn’t quite the same thing, though it usually will align with profit. But profit is a good thing; it’s what generates tax revenues, what creates jobs, and indeed what incentivises people to do all kinds of difficult things… you don’t seriously think that anyone would bother creating half the things companies make if there was no gain to be made?

            2 years ago
          2. wehl3318

            I wish we had a time machine and we could send you back to the early 1800s. It would be for the best.

            2 years ago
          3. Friotz the Cat

            All the hair brained utopias created by the would be social engineers take for granted the people’s good will, explaining their universal failure.

            2 years ago
          4. roxtoto

            No no, they are obligated by contract to their shareholders to pursue profit above all else. Individuals that follow that code of behavior are rightly defined as psychopaths.

            2 years ago
          5. Alastair Houghton

            No. Company law explicitly places a duty on directors (the fiduciary duty). It really isn’t a matter of contract, and it is not, as I said, explicitly concerned with the pursuit of profit above all else (for one thing, that would depend on the purpose for which a company was incorporated). Now, directors will usually have contracts as well, and it’s quite possible for the contracts to stipulate higher profits or increasing the company’s share price as goals to be pursued (often bonus payments are contingent on such things).

            Note also that it’s quite common for an increase in share price (rather than company profits) to be what the shareholders want from their board of directors. Share prices can change for all kinds of reasons besides profits, including publicity (good or bad) and the general behaviour of the company.

            2 years ago
          6. roxtoto

            Thanks. I was just repeating what I read. A great nuanced and informative contradiction you gave.

            2 years ago
          7. Antikapitalista

            You have claimed that you were not a moron. (Well, I have my doubts about that…)

            But what are you then? A different kind of psychopath? Or a sociopath, perhaps?

            You go on lecturing people in bursts of off-topic verbiage, sending legions of straw men against their succinct arguments which you simply fail to comprehend?

            FYI, that man was talking about *putting profits +first+*.

            2 years ago
          8. VendicarDecarian0

            Fuck off and die, moron.

            5 months ago
          9. Alastair Houghton

            Charming.

            5 months ago
        4. Somewhat Reticent

          Corporations behave like people in groups – inherently sociopathic, which means they’re amoral – not always-evil. The challenge is to make sure they’re properly motivated to stay moral.

          2 years ago
          Reply
          1. Mike Rollins

            Does this include those corporations which call themselves governments, while too often also claiming a monopoly right upon use of violence?

            2 years ago
        5. Jonny Quick

          I vote this guy be forced to shut the fuck up, and walk the plank.

          2 years ago
          Reply
          1. Hanks Jim

            wrong,fools

            1 year ago
    3. James

      Don’t be live…

      2 years ago
      Reply
    4. Clipart Basketball

      Ok, so how does it know to start listening just before I’m about to say ‘Ok, Google?

      5 months ago
      Reply
  7. Ed Snowden

    How do you turn it off… Faking Google.

    2 years ago
    Reply
  8. Bobby Bill

    I uninstalled Google just now. Please keep me advised of any class-action lawsuits against them for this. Otherwise, they belong in prison.

    2 years ago
    Reply
  9. Tark McCoy

    Bad Google! No browser cookie for YOU!

    2 years ago
    Reply
    1. VerifyMyCaptcha

      Best comment EVER! You win everything! Cheers!

      P.S. Made me sign up for Disqus just to regale your comment!

      2 years ago
      Reply
      1. Colin P. Müller

        > this much autism

        2 years ago
        Reply
        1. memer

          Who are you quoting?

          2 years ago
          Reply
      2. guest

        Why not post as a guest?

        2 years ago
        Reply
        1. woofywoofelson

          Probably didn’t see that “I’d rather post as guest” option… petty thing, tho.

          2 years ago
          Reply
    2. Somewhat Reticent

      No need – servers track requests

      2 years ago
      Reply
      1. Tark McCoy

        Don’t tell me it’s not a cookie! I see chocolate chips all over the internet tubes!

        2 years ago
        Reply
        1. bluejayray

          Thanks–I just spewed mine all over my keyboard along with some tea!…

          2 years ago
          Reply
  10. Christopher Courtney

    Nice proof. I see that you installed wireshark, watched the activity, and analyzed it to back up your claims of google spying on you.

    Oh … wait. You didn’t. Ooops.

    2 years ago
    Reply
  11. nameduser

    How to turn it off would be nice

    2 years ago
    Reply
    1. roxtoto

      Uninstall. Use open source software.

      2 years ago
      Reply
      1. Joseph Benton

        only option is to unistall chrome completely?

        2 years ago
        Reply
        1. roxtoto

          It’s not the only solution to this particular problem but why would you bother with unnecessary Google-NSA software when it has great alternatives and burdens you with many more invasions of privacy than the particular ones discussed here?

          2 years ago
          Reply
  12. Gideon Thompson

    I have Chrome on my computer and this is correct!! One important thing to say is that when I have a headset plugin one of the microphone is muted and there is no sound coming from the microphone!! This is in Windows 7 Sp1 64 bit!!

    2 years ago
    Reply
    1. Šimon Tóth

      Chrome is a commercial product. This article is about Chromium, which is an opensource spin-off project.

      2 years ago
      Reply
      1. Ed Snowden

        Correct. I would never use Chrome. I hate Google BUT Chromium is open sourced and Faking Google should not be installing this shit!!!

        2 years ago
        Reply
        1. Šimon Tóth

          It’s not Google, it’s some retard at the Chromium project enabling this module.

          2 years ago
          Reply
          1. Ed Snowden

            Can you tell me which Chromium version does not have this shit?

            2 years ago
  13. jwert982

    I think this is true! I was having a conversation with a co-worker who was discussing taking a European cruise on a specific cruise line and several minutes later – even though I had never searched for ANYTHING regarding that, I was getting specific ads about that cruise line and destination. It freaked us both out yesterday. I wouldn’t doubt this is true about Google.

    2 years ago
    Reply
    1. Dennis Nilsson

      Connect your microphone input to the aduio output of Fox News, and you watch what type of ads you would get!

      2 years ago
      Reply
      1. kgbme

        There need to be apps that can fill their servers will billions of terabytes of trash, which can be used by millions (of people).

        4 months ago
        Reply
    2. Adam

      Bought a gun the other day. Within minutes of the background check being completed, my phone beeps and I check my email. It’s a message about people running background checks on my, and how I can find out who they are.

      Creepy right?

      Only, I had appearance gotten the same exact message dozens of times and just deleted them beforehand or they were caught by the spam filter. The only reason it registered this time is because I actually did just have a background check performed.

      2 years ago
      Reply
  14. Adam K Bice

    From the “practically undocumented switch” link you posted:

    “This is not “opt-in default”. If you do not explicitly opt in (using the “Enable Ok Google” setting in chrome://settings), then this module will not run.”

    Just checked my settings, the box isn’t checked. So much for that.

    2 years ago
    Reply
    1. kgbme

      Unless there’s a condition which ignores the setting.

      4 months ago
      Reply
  15. Ed Snowden

    You can’t uninstall this crap, it’s native. Does anyone know what was the last Chromium version that does not have this Wiretapping… UNREAL

    2 years ago
    Reply
  16. Šimon Tóth

    How exactly is Google responsible for an open-source spin-off project that was wrongly built for a platform which they have no control over?

    2 years ago
    Reply
    1. blah

      Who is collecting/storing and using the data without you knowing? Google.

      2 years ago
      Reply
  17. John Bennett

    Sounds scary, but there’s a few layers that make this slightly less sinister: as reported by more than a few users, wireshark only detects voice-activated outgoing traffic AFTER :
    a. a new chrome tab, or google search box is open
    and
    b. a voice says “ok google”.
    This means that BEFORE you say the phrase, only that phrase is being listened for by a local codec on your machine, which doesn’t listen for any phrase whatsoever when you don’t have a new chrome tab or google search box open.
    HOWEVER, this does leave dubious room for exploit (say, if the local codec also -always- listens for “I am building a sandwich that goes boom”, and sends that directly to an NSA computer, which then starts recording every sound in that room, live, forever.

    You can look at this 3 ways: the good, the bad, and the BFD.
    The good is that many find trigger word searches very useful, and once wearable computing takes off, voice control WILL supersede typing within 3-5 years. Unless you are the rotary phone type, you will be using this in some way.
    The bad is that based on past corporate cooperation with NSA web/email/phone data collection, every connected mic and camera we own -could- be recording us all at every single moment.

    The reality is, while I prefer not to have big brother potentially watching/listening, they can’t possibly listen and watch every feed of every person all the time. It’s impossible. Unless I regularly scream ISIS into my camera, it’s very doubtful my naughty bits are ever on NSA screens via my tablet. So, while we should all keep on eye on this tech in the future, for now, I say Big Fucking Deal.

    2 years ago
    Reply
    1. Antimon555

      Then what if they don’t listen to every feed all the time, but actually lets every person’s computer record and text-convert their voice and THEN send it to the NSA? Then the amount of data storage and analyzing power needed there goes from huge to practically pocket-sized. They are crazy and evil, not stupid.

      (Yes, I just called the NSA evil. No other word properly describes an organization that eavesdrops on as many they can. It can’t be adequately explained by stupidity.)

      2 years ago
      Reply
    2. rose_r

      There is no reason to listen to everyone, but being able to listen to anyone is enough of a problem. Let’s say a rogue element at NSA or Google itself is interested in digging dirt on an opposition politician, or finding out the sources of a journalist. Or Google gets interested in the technical secrets of an innovative new start-up that is planning to file a patent.

      With such modules downloaded silently when the browser starts, Google can essentially send any user any piece of software that will be executed by the browser. It is basically a back door that is technically no different from a one implemented by a Trojan horse. With such functionality, Chromium is essentially acting as a node in a botnet controlled by Google.

      2 years ago
      Reply
    3. Mendel

      it’s a bot not a human it can listen to everyone

      2 years ago
      Reply
    4. Teszter

      “[…] they can’t possibly listen and watch every feed of every person all the time”; suppose they move to the next step and buy computers?
      🙂

      2 years ago
      Reply
  18. Julien Blanchez

    OK Google has been around for 3 years. À bit late with this Rick.
    In times of cloud computing processing happens in the cloud.Just like the processing of your money happens on servers in the banks since a few years now. Or maybe you didn’t realize that either ?

    2 years ago
    Reply
  19. George Smith

    Google is evil. This is the least of what they are doing. Google car? Loaded with cameras to take photos of every other car on the road, including license plate, with date, time and GPS stamp. They then route into DMV records and find out who the driver is (or is most likely to be) and then sell that info! It goes on and on. Only when there is a massive class action lawsuit against them, and a worldwide boycott will this end.

    2 years ago
    Reply
    1. Oletros

      Not sure if serious or just a very good example of Poe’s law

      2 years ago
      Reply
  20. Ed Snowden

    Anything before

    Chromium 43 does not have this shit loaded….

    2 years ago
    Reply
  21. Kyle Beck

    First off I’d like to state that chromium and chrome are not the same. Chromium is not google. Chrome is Google. The fact that you all failed to note the difference makes me call bs on anything else you wrote.

    2 years ago
    Reply
    1. Christian Bundy

      Chrome is Google’s prebuilt binary created from the Chromium source code.

      2 years ago
      Reply
  22. Breanne

    Not like I say much of anything when I’m online at 2:00 am. Maybe some conversations with myself. They can listen all they please.

    2 years ago
    Reply
  23. matt

    Lol cause this article was written with a unbiased opinion that objectively looks at the problem. Someone needs to go back to journalism 101. No sources or anything worth reading? This article is a damn shame.

    2 years ago
    Reply
  24. Robbie

    The humble in house telephone has had that capability for decades!

    2 years ago
    Reply
    1. Antimon555

      I don’t know how telephones work in your country, but in Sweden, the microphone is electrically disconnected from the line when the phone is hung up. I’ve seen a person measure the line with an oscilloscope while yelling in the mic. Nothing.

      2 years ago
      Reply
  25. RogerP77

    It makes you wonder if other browsers of maybe even all of them are doing this. Are there other applications also secretly spying on you? Talk about the surveillance state a la Alex Jones.

    2 years ago
    Reply
  26. JPReturns

    The NSA superdatabase has everything anyway.

    2 years ago
    Reply
  27. Jack

    A way you can stop this is by unplugging your microphones from your computer when not in use

    2 years ago
    Reply
  28. Kyle Hamilton

    Will Chromium respect if a .nexe file is set non-executable? Will it be properly blocked if, after being downloaded, it’s set non-readable, non-writable, non-executable?

    2 years ago
    Reply
  29. Justin Boss

    I’m not sure but I think it also takes screenshots. When I watch Netflix, Crackle and YouTube the progress indication pops up from time to time. like if you have bummed the mouse. I have come in contact with someone that has the kind of job that would have access to this kind of stuff I think they are spying on me. I can see the packets going to all kinds of locations. I have disabled everything that would cause network traffic and still see all that.

    2 years ago
    Reply
  30. DarkStarAz

    Google is the inception of Skynet

    2 years ago
    Reply
  31. pepemalanga

    lets find them and do what we have to do..off with there heads ..time to take them down by any means possible..

    2 years ago
    Reply
  32. Ham P Nose

    There are real wolves and Google is one of them. But your article helps undermine proper vigilance. You’re crying wolf.

    The Google response does indeed give the
    answer: The Chromium build should be configured so that calling this
    module is turned off by default. That is the responsibility of whoever
    makes a build of Chromium.

    I don’t appreciate having to look up
    something like this. You wasted my time.

    2 years ago
    Reply
    1. Mendel

      they can turn it on at will and/or the bots that analyse your behavior turn it on it is an invasion of privacy period.

      2 years ago
      Reply
  33. Driven

    I noticed that I have received it on my notebook also. But I am not understanding the stuffs I have pasted below. I don’t have microphone. Can the thing still record my voice? My webcam can’t. Thats why I am asking.NaCl EnabledYesMicrophoneNoAudio Capture AllowedYesCurrent Languageen-USHotword Previous Languageen-USHotword Search EnabledNoAlways-on Hotword Search EnabledNoHotword Audio Logging EnabledNoField trialInstall

    2 years ago
    Reply
  34. Red Rarebit

    Don’t you have to press the little microphone button on the search bar to activate the listening? Its not listening all the time.

    2 years ago
    Reply
  35. Filippo Mortemale

    Hi everyone, I just wanted to report something. I’m a Chromium user on BackBox linuxn (that should be a security-oriented distro, huh?) right now, and I’ve read that the suspicious activities on Chromium have been noticed after the version 43 release. So I’ve made some quick tests, and I could see that running the version 40, if I browse chrome://voicesearch everything is set as “undefined” or “no”, but the voices “Microphone” and “Audio Capture Allowed” are set to “Yes”.

    This is pretty scary to me, not because of the data stream (which is not present – aka Google is not receiving my voice, etc…) – but because I (mistakenly!) thought that I could trust Chromium and who maintains the code, as should be a duty of all the Open Source community (in that specific case: who handles the OS updates, and the WHOLE Chromium team) to check that the code downloaded it’s actually downloaded as source code and compiled directly on the host machine.

    What’s going on is simply awful. I’m seriously thinking to say goodbye to Chromium after 4-5 good years of partnership. 🙁

    FCK U GOGGLE.

    2 years ago
    Reply
    1. Somewhat Reticent

      Despite claims advertising the contrary, isn’t Chromium still a Google “product”?

      2 years ago
      Reply
  36. thegrumpyoldsod

    I always thought that “OK,Google” bollocks was dodgy right from the off,so I never availed myself of it. Now,despite being “poo-pooed” by others,I feel vindicated,so all I have to say is:”Stay the fuck out of my house, OK, Google?”

    2 years ago
    Reply
  37. Guest

    What about the Android behavior of waking up the phone whenever it gets jiggled? Is there a way to turn this behavior off?

    2 years ago
    Reply
  38. Jordan Padgett

    if you listen to the song b.o.b paper route (not the album but the song) he mentions it in that song and alot of other things too check it out

    2 years ago
    Reply
  39. BeaveVillage

    You really want me to switch to Firefox again don’t you Google… or maybe Microsoft Edge? Sheesh…

    2 years ago
    Reply
  40. Taric Sam Alani

    RICK FALKVINGE, thank you for plunging the technically illiterate into needless panic, since the “OK Google” that Chrome recognizes is local and allows a user to search without clicking, which easy to verify simply by watching outgoing network traffic. Play hide and go fuck yourself.

    2 years ago
    Reply
  41. Paper Rhino

    Chromium… not Chrome

    2 years ago
    Reply
  42. Bonnie

    It would be helpful if your article TOLD PEOPLE how to protect their privacy once the software was installed. So, how do you turn off the voice search?

    2 years ago
    Reply
  43. Mendel

    bot not human friend
    only solution is to de-bot

    2 years ago
    Reply
  44. DaTechGuy on DaRadio

    Hey this is no big deal, Just like a group of people decided to refine marriage to suit their own purposes Google has decided to redefine “privacy” and “evil” to suit theirs.

    It’s not like words actually mean things, that’s a nasty conservative idea

    2 years ago
    Reply
  45. ohio granny

    Using the logic of this ATT and other telephone companies had the right to listen and tape all of our telephone conversations as well. In reality they had to have a warrant signed by a Judge for a specific reason before they could do that. So why does Google or any search engine have the right to follow our private conversations in the privacy of our homes without some sort of warrant?

    2 years ago
    Reply
  46. Quancho

    I don’t care. My conversation is buried among millions of others. Ho hum.

    2 years ago
    Reply
    1. DaTechGuy on DaRadio

      yeah it’s not like you could program a computer to filter through millions of pieces of data to find something particular….oh wait

      2 years ago
      Reply
  47. ElisianTime

    Seems like there would be a huge market in computers and phones that have the kind of off switches this article talks about. Does Safari do the same thing?

    Also, seems like the “agree button” should be broken up. I don’t like all the terms, for example, of my university email server. One term you must agree to is the complete takeover and erasure of your entire system. If employed, you must sign the agreement. I spoke to our IT tech and he said, “yep, the university can erase everything on your hard drive if they choose. That’s the agreement they made with Outlook.”

    2 years ago
    Reply
  48. Barefoottothe Pole

    If someone wants to sit and analyse what gets said in my living room i feel truly sorry for them…. the phrase “get a life” springs to mind.

    2 years ago
    Reply
  49. Arun

    Not “Ok, Google”

    2 years ago
    Reply
  50. Shane Randy Lee Burlech

    So basically, boycott Google now? Mkay, I’m down with that.

    2 years ago
    Reply
  51. Sorrin

    Just switch to Vivaldi – basically Chrome, but without shit like this.

    2 years ago
    Reply
  52. lfstevens

    Do t phones have the ability to do the same thing?

    2 years ago
    Reply
  53. Dantes

    Interesting. I dictate medical reports on my Chrome equipped computers. Seems as this could be a violation of Federal HIPAA laws.

    2 years ago
    Reply
  54. baurigae

    “When you’re installing a version of GNU/Linux like Debian or Ubuntu onto
    a fresh computer, thousands of really smart people have analyzed every
    line of human-readable source code…”

    This sounds almost too good to be true. But it’s a nice statement, I like it. I’m sure we all do.

    2 years ago
    Reply
  55. cam_jobs

    Dear Google:

    What the hell.

    Sincerely,

    The Internet

    2 years ago
    Reply
  56. Joey Bagdano

    So how can one deactivate this feature?

    2 years ago
    Reply
  57. Joey Bagdano

    What if I don’t have a mic hooked up?

    2 years ago
    Reply
  58. Conspiracytheroryaredumb

    This is how stupid crap gets started.

    2 years ago
    Reply
  59. interstar

    While I basically agree. I think the Chromium guys and the Debian package maintainers for Chromium, OUGHT to take some responsibility here.

    Their job is surely not just to automatically package today’s Google Chrome source-code release without review.

    If we’re to trust them, they need to be looking at what changes to the code do and alerting THEIR users, if Google suddenly add something like black-box download to it. And ideally, they should be filtering this out / putting a big up-front “opt-in” on Chromium.

    I realize that that makes their job harder, and maybe implies that they have to maintain a fork of Chrome but otherwise why does Chromium even exist? If we accept that Google can add black-box code to it whenever they like, why not just use Chrome?

    2 years ago
    Reply
  60. Non Sequitur

    well the browser has to be focused, so if you dont want it listening, minimize it

    2 years ago
    Reply
  61. phreakhead

    If these “audit-then-build” upstreams are so reliable for secure, safe code, how did the black box downloader get there in the first place? Certainly it would have been blocked by the project maintainers if they thought it was unsafe?

    2 years ago
    Reply
  62. GTH_BHO

    DOJ anyone? Oh yeah, They have Obama in their pocket.

    2 years ago
    Reply
  63. Ian Hastie

    If you’re going to complain about this then you also need to look at the “Hey, Siri” and “Hey Cortana” voice activations because they’re doing exactly the same thing. Siri does this unplugged from iOS 8. Cortana is going to be part of Windows 10 and so in most desktop PCs.

    2 years ago
    Reply
  64. Jeremy Hogan

    Go to “Settings” and under search, uncheck the box that allows Google to listen for audio searches. And to answer the “how does it know when to listen” question, it listens when you open a new tab and before you start typing.

    Or just use Firefox.

    Not that leapfrogging the core commiters in the open source project isn’t skeezy, but at least we can turn it off now that we know.

    Or, again, use Firefox.

    2 years ago
    Reply
  65. Alexander Wynn

    This article contains so much disinformation, I can’t believe it’s spread as far as it has.

    At a very basic level Rick has either complete misunderstood, or misrepresented the information being displayed in his screenshot.

    The chrome://voicesearch page is simply reporting back system state information which would be useful to the team implementing that feature. His terror inducing “the microphone has been activated” interpretation of Microphone : Yes is in fact the much more benign, “the system api confirmed a microphone is present on this system. Similarly Audio Capture Allowed, refers to a flag you set when a website requests access to your microphone. At no point has Google’s code changed any user settings, it is simply collating the relevant system information.

    Onto ” The first was to introduce a practically-undocumented switch to opt out of this behavior”. Now I’m giving him the benefit of the doubt and assuming he isn’t a programmer, and so doesn’t know that compiler flags are pretty much the defacto method for allowing optional behaviour in source code, and so it would be on his chosen distro to choose to use it or not.

    As for the rest of his increasing misrepresentation of what was said by the Chrome team, well, just go read the post yourself, when it isn’t “paraphrased” it becomes much more reasonable.

    2 years ago
    Reply
  66. roxtoto

    Good job outing the evil fucks but TBH anybody using google software is asking for this shit. Including myself with Android.

    2 years ago
    Reply
  67. John C. Gage

    Android. Same feature as on every smart phone. Didn’t hear anyone saying anything about that when Android came out. However, in light of Open Source, Chromium absolutely broke the rules.
    Shout out to Siri and Cortana, too. LOL

    2 years ago
    Reply
  68. Ben M

    The large corporations are bad and abusive in the search for more money. But a government that has a complete monopoly on force is worse because it wants absolute power to control & expand. The Government are the ones insisting via secret courts/letters that they have unfettered access to Google/Apple/Yahoo/Microsoft/Amazon’s customers. The Government seeks to crush individual thoughts which is why they are insisting an banning strong encryption. We have a democracy on paper, but since nobody reads critically anymore, we have devolved into something less. Ruled by sound-bytes from the dinosaur if-it-bleeds-it-leads press rather than reason. ‘Our security’ is their trump card which justifies listening all the time even when you’re on the toilet. Meanwhile, MY dollar is buying less and less largely due to too much government spending/printing

    As witnessed by the new thousand page laws, turning into 10,000 pages of regulations, with no regard for the individual, there is no counter force to the expansion. And no measure of the quality lost to this insatiable, well-armed (guns and lawyers), bureaucracy. If you’ve tried to find a Dr. lately you might understand how quality is getting chased away by government records requirements. They could care less if better jobs get chased overseas by over-regulation. I’ve written my congress critters letters, but I guess all they want is a check. Speak up and be heard for a much smaller government. Organize peacefully, and purposefully against this Leviathan while you still can. And stop asking it to solve YOUR problems.

    2 years ago
    Reply
  69. Well-Manicured Man

    Sounds like an illegal wiretap in the US, under both federal and state laws. Anyone concerned can file a criminal complaint on the FBI’s website using its tip form or on various state agency complaint/tip forms. They will then investigate. You don’t need a lawyer, unless you are trying to sue for damages.

    2 years ago
    Reply
    1. Sparzo

      Are you concerned? Will you be filling a complaint?
      Thanks.

      2 years ago
      Reply
  70. ACIoannina

    Is it just me (and friends in my area) or does this blog not work in chrome and firefox? I can only view the content in explorer, a friend of mine who runs ubuntu can only view it in opera! The other browsers only show the top banner and the bottom, no content!!!

    2 years ago
    Reply
  71. Derrick

    Uh, this is no different than using Siri on an iPhone. It’s just a basic feature. Take off your tin foil hat and read a non fiction book.

    2 years ago
    Reply
  72. Isaac Garcia

    “Their watching you Neo.” – Trinity

    2 years ago
    Reply
  73. Paul X

    I believe if you insert an audio plug (even one connected to nothing) into the MIC port found in most computers, that will physically disconnect the internal microphone, thus defeating this monitoring.

    2 years ago
    Reply
  74. privacyadvocatesaredead

    1995: Wow, the Internet is cool.
    2015: Wow,the Internet is a giant spying device.

    What are we going to be saying in 2035? It’s difficult to imagine.

    It’s not privacy that’s dead, it’s the spaces people construct using technology that make their intuitions about privacy moot. We’ve surrounded ourselves with networked microphones and cameras and then act shocked when they’re turned on by unauthorized and sometimes malicious actors, who can include corporations and governments, friends and enemies, foreign and domestic.

    Meanwhile in privacy land, it’s interesting to see how a privacy website can’t resist handing its user data off to third party corporations, i.e. discus.

    2 years ago
    Reply
  75. Kayana Koe

    They have some balls to admit that they are not only doing this but that they “can do it”. And given their history, I think I’m about done with Chrome. Removing Unity and other plugins just means they’re killing their browser.

    2 years ago
    Reply
  76. Rob Arnold

    I would like to thank all the techno wizards for making it easy to give up your freedoms, by spying on us. See you in the prison camps comrad

    2 years ago
    Reply
  77. jon åge olsen

    hmmm makes me want to setup a virtual microphone and have it default to automatic replay of the soundtrack of a bad porn movie, and set it as the default recording device on my computer….

    2 years ago
    Reply
  78. Pat Knowles

    Does this mean phones (android) that have chrome available on them can also be listened to? Will the phone apps still work without using chrome? I mean can I disable or remove chrome from the phone without messing up anything else?

    2 years ago
    Reply
    1. Cromulent Definitely

      You’ll need to disable Google Now and any software that has access to your microphone to do this reliably.

      2 years ago
      Reply
  79. TAMMM Admin

    How do you turn it OFF??!!

    2 years ago
    Reply
  80. Ed Snowden

    Google pulls listening software from Chromium

    Search company removes ‘eavesdropping’ audio-monitoring software from
    open-source base of Chrome browser after outcry from privacy
    campaigners

    2 years ago
    Reply
  81. Guillotine_ready

    If you do not want your room bugged disconnect the microphone and camera. Simple.

    2 years ago
    Reply
    1. Dumb Idiot

      This might have held true in 2002.

      Most consumer tech has cameras and microphones that are turned on and off by software. There is no hard switch.

      You cannot “disconnect” those peripherals if they’re built in unless you have a screwdriver and scissors.

      If all that needs to be done to turn a device on or off is flip a few bits, someone will find a way.

      2 years ago
      Reply
  82. Patricia

    THEY MY BE LISTENING. WATCHING. WHICH IS ILLEGAL!
    AGAINST OUR RIGHTS,JUST FOR US TO BE ABLE TO COMMUNICATE
    WITH ONE ANOTHER! I WILL SEEK JUSTICE 1st.

    2 years ago
    Reply
  83. VendicarDecarian0

    Governments can not be permitted to listen because government is pure evil.

    Corporations on the other hand can be trusted because they do what is good to advance their profits.

    This is the Libertarian way.

    2 years ago
    Reply
  84. alexpimania@gmail.com

    Has the backdoor always been in Google chrome?

    2 years ago
    Reply
  85. La CFC

    hahaha such BS XD they would be agienst laws and privacy dont belive all you read here =3

    2 years ago
    Reply
    1. Daniël Oosterhuis

      The NSA is state-run, my dear.

      2 years ago
      Reply
  86. Bob Buttons

    Rick,

    It’s pretty amusing how ignorant you are about what you’re posting. In the screenshot, it actually shows NaCl is disabled — which means *there isn’t even an engine available to run this code*. Might I suggest a bit of research before posting inaccurate inflammatory fodder?

    2 years ago
    Reply
  87. Jonny Quick

    Let’s find out who Google employees are, where they live and post that information on line, so that our freedom fighting friends can pay them a visit.

    2 years ago
    Reply
  88. bosch

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    2 years ago
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      1 year ago
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  89. madethatway

    So fed up with this Orwellian corporate crap.

    You’ll also notice an association between MicroCrap, the Murdoch press, and Canonical (the makers of Ubuntu) because Canonical aren’t backwards about invading your private information and handing it over to it’s masters, either, so avoid any Android phones and pc’s with a Canonical-owned system installed, like Ubuntu, if this shite pisses you off.

    Meanwhile, Murdoch press will always slag off Google products and services and Google will always return the favour, so use your own intelligence and take anything both sides of the fence say with a grain of salt.

    I always wondered why MicroCrap would approve of a Linux based system when it seems to be in direct opposition to all things MicroCrap – now we know.

    It’s all about privacy invasion and greed.

    2 years ago
    Reply
  90. Trevor

    Can we assume that this applied to Chrome for Mac?

    2 years ago
    Reply
  91. Trevor

    On a Mac, if I delete Chrome (by dragging the application to the trash), have I deleted everything or are there hidden files I should be looking for?

    2 years ago
    Reply
  92. Enrico 'nekrad' Weigelt

    Okay folks, it’s time for a fork – or at least a close inspection with a patchset that ripps off these misfeatures (FF has similar problems w/ their recently introduced digital restriction management)

    2 years ago
    Reply
  93. Gra Piken

    Call me paranoid, but I think the world of state surveillance is more insidious than we realise.

    There were articles in the media not long ago, highlighting the disturbing phenomenon of Apple iPhones listening to their owners – WHILST SWITCHED OFF!

    This was only possible because people cannot remove the batteries from their iPhones. I wonder if the current move away from removable battery smartphones by manufacturers (which make the phone last longer and is better for the environment) towards unibody designed smartphones (where the battery cannot be removed), is actually the result of pressure exerted on manufacturers by shady government bodies.

    A device used by the surveillance state is useless once the battery is removed.

    2 years ago
    Reply
  94. Marvo76

    google is the devil….

    2 years ago
    Reply
  95. Christopher C

    … WELL FUCK GOOGLE THEN… just a bunch of scared losers, obviously… helping the anit-Christ Obama… anti means “in place of”, lol… best of luck to them in their barren lands of sinners… retards.

    2 years ago
    Reply
  96. Emil

    Where do you switch it off in any case. Not explained sofar!

    2 years ago
    Reply
  97. Kepulauan Seribu

    Supposedly every company or government has to understand the rights of every individual, if that right is violated sooner or later damage occurs. Not true if the violation was done to safeguard the public interest ….

    2 years ago
    Reply
    1. Teszter

      Why is the picture of that dude there?

      2 years ago
      Reply
  98. John Smith

    WHOA WHOA WHOA. Whoa. Wait. I watched YouTube partners on several channels start saying things on their shows that I’d said aloud in my bedroom and kitchen, and when I said someone was watching me and tried to go for legal help, I was committed and forced to take psychiatric medication. I was sent to a hospital by a judge! Everyone in my life thinks I’m INSANE. And this is just a fucking feature? This is bullshit. They’ve used this technology to ruin my life and NO ONE BELIEVES ME.

    2 years ago
    Reply
  99. rob smith

    Two hundred years ago on devil Island off georgia USA Woodrow Wilson sold the USA out to the filth of this world ! and people with no more rights than anyone on this planet like rockefellers, j p morgan to gain control and have machines to print money…The governments around the world that put people in jail for what they themselves do wrong “It is called fraud’
    The worst thing is we can do nothing about it criminals run the world !

    2 years ago
    Reply
  100. rob smith

    More people young in the usa thing Julian Assange and Edward Snowden are heroes Good call .The sheep in their comfy homes say otherwise !

    2 years ago
    Reply
  101. rob smith

    Of course we have another problem Mahomond .Let me put it blunt he is a peadophile he married a nine yer old ! why don’t Muslims do their own research and find out the truth ! Hey I have not the answers to solve this world/hell
    Except to agree with Abraham Lincoln’s Quote ” The more I know my fellow man the more I like Animals”
    I will sign off on that note, some people too few are helping the wretched souls on this God “forsaken rock” that these evil human beings do on a daily basis
    Alas I think God put them here to find who are the evil one’s “Just a thought”

    2 years ago
    Reply
  102. UsedToBeChromeUser

    “Ok Google” is turned off…………………then i say ok google and the thing pops up saying “ok google is off”…………………HOW DOES IT KNOW I SAID IT

    2 years ago
    Reply
  103. Anonymous

    Google needs to end.

    2 years ago
    Reply
  104. LA Woman

    FUCKERY!

    2 years ago
    Reply
  105. Anita Mac

    Well it’s better then watching and listening and keeping to show people the importance of always logging out before they leave so there personal life isn’t left for everyone to watch but why would you tell the person who’s personal life your using that I mean that would be considered ethical.

    2 years ago
    Reply
  106. papa

    Google should be shafted by the law for acting like a bunch of dicks. Its unlawful. illegal end of story. Surely I can turn up on Googles doorstep and stab someone who works there to death without consequences. I’m only breaking the law like Google. If no-one is going to have the balls to enforce it then there are obviously lots of backhanders going on.

    2 years ago
    Reply
  107. papa

    PS. Has anyone in the UK heard of Tempora??? our own UK government spies on everything illegally everyday so thanks for leading by example fucking hypocrytes

    2 years ago
    Reply
  108. KC

    so how do we find this and delete it?

    2 years ago
    Reply
  109. mike

    There is a reason Google has dropped “don’t be evil”. People are not paying attention to what is happening in this world right now. You are giving away your privacy. That is something almost impossible to regain.

    2 years ago
    Reply
  110. Marleena

    Wow. So much for their clause. Google is short for googleplex which is the largest sum of money in the world. We can’t expect the greedy to adhere to not being evil.

    2 years ago
    Reply
  111. openeyes

    Google is based around lies, seeing that is just seeing the obvious and Google and our Government go hand in hand. Its not uncommon that google sneaks 500$ out of ones bank account over the year who checked the box in one of the many terms of service, or to sell access to pictures, microphone or the camra to and unknown source in a different country. What country the one our country is in war with? To a foreign porn site? For how much immoral things google does fooling people into thinking its innocent and made for them, going about pretending I dont understand how much of society around me is ignorant to the truth doesn’t last this bullshit I cant ignore makes me against calling this a democracy its an idiocracy I cant be apart of to lie to myself and say we are told the truth. with the things google and the government say being proved a lie just like google saying oh it only listens when some one says ok google, that our votes are accurately counted, that people are incarcerated based on their wrong doing no to the convenience of the governments budget which obviously is doing terrible being we know they had to resort in partnership with google to sell the blind google users information to these unknown countries.
    Open eyes in a blind folded country.
    Take off your blindfolds.

    2 years ago
    Reply
  112. GAGP

    I am tired of Google!

    Google is getting very invasive: Chromium was installed by itself along with add-on Hola through IE browser on my laptop. I uninstalled Hola (couldn’t find Chromium file anywhere, fx. control panel or all programs) but Hola was installed again today and opens with Chromium!!

    Hola is a very helpful tool but doesn’t work with IE, so I use it with Mozilla Firefox.

    2 years ago
    Reply
  113. john holms esq.

    Your informative invasion of my personal relation is none of ur buisness or infatuation to the pervert evangelist practice results from jaded ejaculation. Call me I’ll teach you to cum without sum unich you’ve become listening to the publics current positiong with sex with all us animals that expects satifaction without your frustrated insecure disrespect. Your a retired impotent loney whore…try to explore Rome Italy…the clergy will give you a new religous view you can ensue with a tribe of nice young alter boys raised to fornicate the way you use to do…in a dark private place with just you and a night with all those obsessive hands that found a new little friend to shake…all wittnessed and blessed by God. Amen ? Your App is your way to ignore that theres a war between your dick and ass crack that cant join in together cause its too short to explore your G-Spot. Buy a dildo you adore. Sell your App. To sex offenders that will listen to the evangilist thats living inside of those convicts that was born into porn before committing a crime.
    … you can alter by audio sex stalking spying to rehabilitate a mind that will give you sex for life to hear…just keep them hot with dirty talk…and dont let em ever stop talking. Amen?

    2 years ago
    Reply
    1. 151rum

      What in the actual fuck? That shit was pure poetry, and beautiful. Amen

      1 year ago
      Reply
  114. Terrell Methvin

    I really do believe they really want to give us what we want when we what it. The reality is one-day it can be used against us. Just like when your wife uses what you say against you. So just don’t or say anything you don’t want repeated.

    2 years ago
    Reply
  115. Charles

    The fact that all devices and or machinery is being used to “listen in too” anybody and every single consumer of said product doesn’t really concern me. It’s when the monitoring being done for the “sole” purpose of product analysis and maintenance of the services being provided change the basic human rights we have as people to say what we would like are being censored. Do you think they take the time out to bleep out every inappropriate (curse) word I’ve said? Like what the @#$% is this @##$. I’m not jiggy with this @#$%. If and in fact everything is recorded and stored in a mainframe is just a waste of space. Never thought what I had to say would have ever amounted to anything. Big Brother, can you hear me now. I guess not because I haven’t actual said a single word. You think with all the big bank they’d have already have mapped it out. Is it really as complicated as you’ve allowed it to become. Come to think of it, would that make the Rosetta Stone the world’s first ever “tablet”. The only fact that I’m doing the Earth a huge favor by using a smartphone to store the information I feel is useful. Instead of wasting so much ” God” damn paper. Makes the fact that most things I say and do are now being recorded ……. But anyways grab a piece of paper, pen or pencil (Ticonderoga) to be exact and come up with a better, effective, innovative and I forgot to mention original solution. The “Minority Report” in the name of National Security is the weakest I’ve seen you at. What happened to do your duty to do your best to serve “God” and your Country? What year is this anyways?

    2 years ago
    Reply
    1. Charles

      It’s called paranoid. Not to be confused with conspiracy.

      2 years ago
      Reply
  116. Fxckfxcx

    Exploit me cookie

    The bend over user

    2 years ago
    Reply
  117. Pete

    Maybe it should concerns you! Think about our story! We emailed this article to 1200 business from our database. Next day our website was vanished and not found on google. We where on top in the past 5 years like we still with bing and yahoo… Still no concerns? Because you don’t see the direct impact, now you can see one. The people who fight in the civil war and fight for hundreds of years for civil rights, taking away in a couple years and getting controlled by corporate…still no concerns? You must miss what’s freedom and democracy it’s about. Our generation blowing all what we fight for up.

    2 years ago
    Reply
  118. Fxckfxcx

    Everywhere some known or unknown first, second, third or however many parties are profiting off of exploiting the end user.

    All these companies for example Google, morpho, countless others, the list goes on and on are duping everyone and making money doing it.

    Everyone in this whole world technically should be getting a percentages every two weeks and stock options made available for whatever wave of business comes next.

    The population has become a giant beta testing experiment that pays monthly to have stress and anxiety from the use of all this technology.

    Aggravating is all that comes to mind body and soul.

    2 years ago
    Reply
  119. Mike D

    Who cares about our government, seriously, anything they want they can get by data warehouses owned by randoms. People cry about government surveillance yet are totally cool with some no name, never heard of, have never had any business with, privately owned “company” surveilling every single aspect of who you are. Then selling who you are to anyone and everyone. Providing no product, no service, giving you nothing, period, yet making millions and billions off selling the very core of you. But but but our government… Dumb.

    2 years ago
    Reply
  120. Jessy M.

    So google is spying on us without us knowing? I can’t believe the government is letting google do this.

    2 years ago
    Reply
  121. Fred of the Dark

    None of this is surprising…..I spent six months deleting google chrome from my system. I never asked for it. It came anyway. I asked them how to remove it, they asked me why I would want to delete my browser. I toled them Chrome wasn’t my browser. They wanted to know why it wasn’t. I demanded it come off and they stop loading it on m.y machine. They required me to sit for an exit interview before letting me speak to anyone in charge, then hung up on me without letting me. The next day Chrome was back piggy-backed on a Windows update. The opt out screen did not wait for me…it deleted itself the second it flashed onscreen and installed Chrome again. I got a mal-ware company’s help uninstalling it….and the 29 other things they stealthed in with it. I wrote the google chrome acsolutely refused to even look at or consider anything they or their gang of thugs ever produced no matter HOW useful, and would pursue legal action if they ever did it to me again. The e-mail was answered by another exit interviewer which loqded another copy of chrome onto my machine when I deleted the questionnaire. Absolute truth. I have yet to find anyone willing to take these guys on legally. I’ve learned to watch every download like a hawk before clicking. Even then I have to scrape them off my shoe every now and again. Three times this year so far. Everyone I know who use chrome didn’t choose it. They just got too tired to fight them, and decided to lie back and take it.

    I don’t “Google” anything. I spit on them.

    1 year ago
    Reply
  122. Kathi C

    Does this mean the same can be said for our cell phones?

    1 year ago
    Reply
  123. Laughing Man

    Oh gee, I guess I’ll have to cancel my weekly poker games with select communist dictators…
    Know what google will hear if it listens to me? A whole lot of silence and the sound of keystrokes interspersed with conversations regarding video games and steel. So they can tailor my experience and try to sell me more games and metal? Great! I’ll buy more of the stuff that I like, sure, was planning on it anyway.
    I get the feeling that if one weren’t a “political evangelist” (read as “fucking bonkers) then one wouldn’t care if someone heard what was being said. Most likely they’re just talking about tv shows or their cats anyway. Whoop dee fucking doo.

    1 year ago
    Reply
  124. Clifton Farr

    Tape a small image of dog balls on the camera, and clip mic wires all together, only using a hand held mic to record encrypted sound bits on an offline (defused mics and antennas) and a home brew of Linux .

    1 year ago
    Reply
  125. DonGateley

    “Yes, we deliberately hid this listening module from the users.” Can anyone tell us exactly how to unhide this and use it for our own sweet purposes. Is the power with this enormous? Why couldn’t I have my first YouTube video up by the end of the day?

    Can someone savvy please haul ass back here with proper question? Aren’t I restricted?

    1 year ago
    Reply
    1. DonGateley

      Am I willing to await for the question behind this as pretty much the next thing I must do? Why are things falling into place so easily?

      Why doesn’t someone else take note of this? Are my motives pure enough for the job? Were they always?

      1 year ago
      Reply
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    1 year ago
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  129. R.William Lightbown

    Well better late than never…..Absolutely wonderful to know there is a man named Rick doing what he is doing…….thank you ……My name is R.William Lightbown……..”the man who can solve gridlock”……..Rick Falkvinge I praise your words like gospel……righteous and true……the key for humanity is to deny the meaninglessness of endlessness vocabulary lingo tech data ……that nobody gives a (“make any sound you like”) for me it’s an octave above the fart sound I can make with my lips and the grunt-growl vibrato a baby makes whilst gearing up to poop……..

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    It has never been secure or protected …..and never will be……..Hmmm by the way why isn’t electricity free……seems like I should go buy a bottled water that should make me feel smart and up on things…….wonder if I could “repurpose” bottled water bottles as captured air……clean air…..EPA approved quality air……”for sale”…..to benefit humanity of course…bottled air without a doubt will still be cleaner than anything tomorrows free air will offer………….. I don’t have all the answers but I do have one…….I can solve gridlock…….better late than never…….I will need your help

    1 year ago
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  130. Paul Korab

    you know I’ve been fighting with these people for 3 weeks now to regain my contacts and my phone numbers in my Android phone which they illegally stole from me and will not return them I don’t know how to go about getting my my contacts and phone numbers back from them they refused to return the email address they deactivated and took it out on my phone when I did that it took every contact in every phone number along with it who do I turn to to get this matter resolved apparently they don’t care

    1 year ago
    Reply
  131. Rob S

    I just came across this article, because I noticed that when I have Chrome open, and it is just sitting there idle, I was having a conversation with another person about black mold. I turned back to the computer and an add popped up about black mold. I swear this just happened yesterday. I never did a search for black mold on that computer. I never eve searched for mold on that computer. That computer had to be listening to my conversation. This is totally unbelievable. This is totally criminal. I just read that a person was charged with murder because he had a Alexa, and he was discussing the murder in his home, and the Alexa recorded everything he said, even though he did not “wake up” Alexa, and Amazon turned over the voice records to law enforcement. Has the government just decided that they don’t need a warrant anymore? I’m going back to a flip phone, and a laptop with no camera or microphone

    8 months ago
    Reply
  132. Jerry Bozeman

    I really don’t know what to believe about Google. My phone has been completely taken over by some company that has the power to do it. Didn’t really think that could be done to Google. The reason I am posting something is because I seen this was PIA vpn. I have wanted to try a vpn for a while and PIA and Express vpn get the best ratings from everyone. I just don’t know if a good vpn could stop this.

    5 months ago
    Reply
  133. kgbme

    Talk about nuts. Just used my phone voice search to find “Google is spying on me” and this blog.

    While I’m typing, Internet activity is going on in the background, sending this text to their servers, through their (phone) keyboard.

    What kind of madness is this.

    4 months ago
    Reply
  134. Johannes Bols

    I can prove that Googe listened to me! Long story short: I was talking about King Edward VIII’s assassination attempt. My laptop was powered on when I did this. The next time I went to you tube the top suggested search was… wait for it…King Edward VIII’s assassination attempt!

    4 months ago
    Reply
  135. VeggyZ

    This is fucking ridiculous. It’s beyond infuriating. I guess Google is past that point where they think they’re too big to suffer any consequences. I wish I had the money to start a lawsuit right this moment.

    Learn your place you scum.

    3 months ago
    Reply
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    3 months ago
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  138. Johannes Bols

    I swear that what I am about to tell you is true. About six months ago I was talking to myself [it happens] about how King Edward VIII’s reputation would have been that of a hero if an attempt on his life during, I believe, The Trooping of the Colour had been successful. A few minutes later I brought youtube up. In their videos I might be interested in, you guessed it! King Edward VIII’s assassination attempt!

    2 months ago
    Reply
  139. Sharon Hennen

    Have been trying to remove CHROME from my Dell XP Windows 7 PC. I use MAX Uninstaller to ensure Google hasn’t accessed PC. Now, I learn CHROME is Google! Harrrgh! All attempts to remove CHROME failed; however, one good thing occurred—came across your article. Yes, I believe what you’ve written. What I don’t get is why Congress & DJT aren’t doing something about PC users being invaded by Google-Chrome. This great-granny is upset at your words, but thankful you’re telling the world about Google’s antics. Thank you, & GOD bless you.

    2 months ago
    Reply