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Amazon Alexa transcripts live on even after you delete voice records

first_img“Amazon markets Echo Dot Kids as a device to educate and entertain kids, but the real purpose is to amass a treasure trove of sensitive data that it refuses to relinquish even when directed to by parents,” said Josh Golin, executive director of the Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood.In a statement, Amazon said the Echo Dot Kids Edition is compliant with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act.While Facebook has drawn much of the attention for the ways it’s gobbled up our personal data, Amazon has increasingly inserted itself into our lives. The company has sold more than 100 million Alexa devices, and it’s sitting on a massive amount of text data containing details on people’s habits and behaviors that isn’t deleted. Amazon’s smart speakers are also the most popular choice for buyers.Amazon Echo dominates the market with about 70% of the market share, while Google Home has about 24% and the Apple HomePod is next at 6%. Google and Apple said they don’t keep transcript data indefinitely.A Google spokesman said both the audio and text entry is removed when a person deletes that data. For Apple, which uses Siri as a voice assistant, the company said voice recordings are never associated with a person or an account, and are tied to a random identifier that you can delete. “When you turn Siri and Dictation off, Apple will delete the User Data associated with your Siri identifier, and the learning process will start all over again,” Apple said on its website. This retention doesn’t just apply to Amazon’s own smart speakers — any third-party device using Alexa as an assistant would be sending that data to Amazon, and people wouldn’t be able to delete it. That includes voice data sent to Facebook Portal, a smart speaker released by the social network in November. Facebook said it deletes the data and transcribed text for its smart assistant when it’s activated through the wake word “Hey Portal.” But when it comes to interactions with Alexa on the Portal, that’s a different story. “Facebook does not have access to interactions with Alexa on Portal,” a Facebook spokeswoman said in an email.Amazon transcribes your voice data to text through a process it calls Automatic Speech Recognition, which then sends it to another process called the Natural Language Understanding System. The NLU system uses artificial intelligence to figure out what people really mean — so if you’re asking “how is it outside,” the system can infer that you mean to ask about the weather. In a white paper on Alexa privacy and data handling published in July, Amazon said text data was stored “for machine learning purposes.” Amazon doesn’t delete that data until the machine learning training is completed. The company didn’t clarify how long that process is.Amazon also keeps text records when people set reminders — so even when the voice recording is deleted, Alexa is still able to send reminders to people based on the text record. Your order history through Alexa also remains, even if you delete the voice recording, the company said. Beyond the data transcribed from a person’s voice commands to Alexa, Amazon also noted that it stored text data on the smart assistant’s responses. In the same document, Amazon stated: “The response can be used by the Amazon team who built the specific skill to ensure that Alexa is providing relevant answers to queries and that the (Text-to-Speech) system is properly translating the text to speech.” While it’s not your voice or something you’ve said, it’s not hard to figure out what a person asked based on the answer. It doesn’t take much to figure out what the question is from a log of Alexa saying “the weather in New York is cloudy this morning.”   Smart Speakers & Displays “When a customer deletes a voice recording, we also delete the corresponding text transcript associated with their account from our main Alexa systems and many subsystems, and have work underway to delete it from remaining subsystems,” an Amazon spokesperson said in an email. The new finding comes as privacy concerns have reached a boiling point, with people scrutinizing the tech they use more than ever. People want privacy from tech giants, and are finding that the options companies offer are not really doing the trick. In April, Facebook admitted it still tracked people after they deactivated their accounts. “Here’s what I tell all of our business executives and consumers: ‘Delete’ is never really ‘delete,'” said Theresa Payton, a former White House chief information officer and founder of cybersecurity company Fortalice. “Delete just means that you can’t see it anymore.” On Thursday, a group of 19 consumer and public health advocates filed a complaint with the Federal Trade Commission claiming that the Amazon Echo Dot Kids Edition was retaining children’s data even after parents deleted the voice recordings. The data stored on Alexa’s “Remember” feature wasn’t deleted until the parents called customer service to delete the entire profile. 2:27 Now playing: Watch this: You deleted your Alexa voice recordings, but the text… Comments While you can delete voice recordings for Amazon, the text records stay. Chris Monroe/CNET Amazon doesn’t need to hear your voice recordings to know what you’ve said. It can read them.After Alexa hears its wake word — which can vary from “Echo” to “Alexa” to “computer” — the smart assistant starts listening and transcribes everything it hears. That’s why when you check your Alexa dialogue history, you can see text next to the recordings like “How’s the Weather” and “Set an Alarm.” Amazon lets you delete those voice recordings, giving you a false sense of privacy. But the company still has that data, just not as a sound bite. It keeps the text logs of the transcribed audio on its cloud servers, with no option for you to delete them. Amazon said it erases the text transcripts from Alexa’s “main system,” but is working on removing them from other areas where the data can travel. Share your voice 10 Tagslast_img read more

Game of Thrones season 8 breaks viewing records HBO show most popular

first_imgGame of Thrones season 8 episode 1 Bran stark meeting Jaime LannisterGame of Thrones (@gameofthrones/Instagram) The final season of Game of Thrones finally debuted. And as expected the premiere episode of season 8 of the HBO has shattered viewing records.Reportedly the first episode delivered 17.4 million viewers on Sunday evening across multiple airings, including some live streamings. This number makes the GoT season 8 premiere the biggest telecast in HBO’s history and the most-watched scripted entertainment program of the year.Season 8 of Game of Thrones was one of the most anticipated shows of the year, especially after it took a gap of one year between the seasons. However, Season 8 will have a shortened run of six episodes and will be the show’s final season. As such fan anticipation should be high for every episode leading up to and including the finale which will most likely shatter further records.  The premiere’s viewership numbers surpasses the show’s previous overnight record of 16.9 million viewers for the season 7 finale two years ago. These numbers are still strong, especially after it was reported that HBO lost Dish subscribers in a contract dispute last December (which HBO believes impacted the numbers), and certain streaming partners (such as Amazon, Hulu, Roku) not being counted in this first-round number.The cast and crew of Game of Thrones has been on doing the rounds, with Maisie Williams, Sophie Turner, Kit Harington and Emilia Clarke doing their part to promote the show that marks the end of nearly a decade of work. After the end of the final season, it is more than likely that Game of Thrones will go down in history as one of the most popular TV shows in the world.last_img read more

Singapore Airlines arm Scoot expands flight services to India adds Jaipur

first_imgSingapore’s budget airline Scoot is currently increasing its presence in India’s domestic aviation sector. The long-haul budget arm of Singapore Airlines has launched its operations in Jaipur as its third destination.Scoot started its India operations in May this year when it launched flight to Amritsar and Chennai with a Boeing 787 plane. The airline will fly to Jaipur three times a week, which would increase to four from this month end, Press Trust of India reported.”We are excited to welcome an international airline like Scoot as it opens new avenues for the public in Jaipur to fly to popular destinations. This will go a long way in boosting trade and tourism for the city making it more prominent on the world map,” Vasundhara Raje, Chief Minister of Rajasthan was quoted as saying by the agency.Other subsidiaries’ SilkAir and Tigerair also fly to India.”We are a very young airline, just four years old, but have always been interested in the Indian market. Last year, when aircraft deliveries started coming in, we have been eyeing Indian market. We started the ground work early last year to commence operations here,” Bharath Mahadevan, country head of Scoot airlines had said in a statement in May.The airline hopes to double its operations in terms of cities by 2017.In May 2014, parent company Singapore Airlines (Asia’s biggest carrier by market value) spent $319 million in buying stock in Scoot Pte, Bloomberg reported.last_img read more

HC asks DU not to treat law centre in stepmotherly way

first_imgThe Delhi High Court on Wednesday asked the Delhi University not to treat its the three law colleges, which have been in controversy recently for alleged non-compliance of the Bar Council Of India (BCI) norms, in a “step-motherly” way.A bench of Chief Justice G Rohini and Justice Rajiv Sahai Endlaw said that the Delhi University’s (DU) law schools are very much part of the varsity and closing down will affect the future of the students. “The three law centres are very much part of the DU,” the court said, adding that they should not be treated in a a step-motherly way. The court said this when it was informed that the BCI inspection committee that had visited and reported on the state of affairs was of the firm view that the DU’s three law schools should be closed down. The inspection committee has recommended that the DU’s law centres failed to comply with 17 conditions listed and it should not be allowed to admit new batches of students. The court was hearing a PIL filed by Tarun Narang seeking setting aside of a notification barring fresh law graduates of the DU from being enrolled as lawyers.last_img read more

Return of priceless artefacts

first_imgMarking the safe return of three stone sculptures from Australia to India, National Museum, Janpath has organised an exhibition titled, “Return of the Three Stone Sculptures from Australia to India.” The sculptures of Seated Buddha; Worshippers of Buddha; and Goddess Pratyangira were purchased by National Gallery of Australia from the Nancy Wiener, New York in 2007 and Art of the Past, New York, 2005. Minister of State for Culture and Tourism, Dr Mahesh Sharma inaugurated the exhibition on May 23. He attended a special event at National Gallery of Australia (NGA) in Canberra, Australia in which Senator Mitch Fifield formally handed over three ancient artefacts stolen and smuggled out of India and inadvertently acquired by National Gallery of Australia. Earlier, during the visit of Australian Prime Minister to India in September, 2014, the Australian government had also returned sculpture of ‘Dancing Shiva’. This exhibition is important as it celebrates the return of rare heritage sculptures that were stolen from the country. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfThe statue of worshippers of the Buddha: The panel depicts the worship of some of the Buddhist symbol (possibly chakrastambha or Bodhi tree but it is not visible as the piece is damaged at the top) kept on a throne, below which the Buddha-pada are visible. On both the sides, male worshippers are represented first followed by the female worshippers. The most probable offering objects held in their hands are vases with flower or garlands. This sculpture was unearthed in 1970s during the excavation of a Buddhist stupa at Chandavaram (District, Prakasham) in Andhra Pradesh. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveSeated Buddha with large halo: (Kushan, 2nd century CE, Maholi, Mathura, Uttar Pradesh Spotted Red sand stone). This sculpture represents the Buddha seated cross legged (Padmasana) wearing ekansika sanghati (drapery covering one shoulder and arrayed with additional pleats). The transparent effect of the cloth is apparent through the conspicuous marking of the navel. The sculpture indicates that the right hand was raised in the abhaya mudra (protection pose) and the left rests on the thigh. He is shown with an urna, pralamba karna (elongated ear-lobes), ushnisha and with a filing contemplation on his face.Standing Pratyangira: (Chola, 13th Century CE, Tamil Nadu, South India Grey coloured granite stone). In order to carry out his supreme task of preservation, Lord Vishnu took incarnation in the form of Narasimha in which he is represented by a human body and a lion’s head, who destroyed the demon kind Hiranykashipu, the personification of evil. The deity represented here is a tantric deity who is the female aspect of God Narasimha also known as Narasimhi. She is standing in pralambapadita pose, the face of a roaring and furious lion while the body is of a female. Flames are coming out of her head. However, the attributes tridents (trisula) and drum (damaru) in her right hands suggest her to be Pratyangira, a form of Bhairavi as per Saivite cult. The image was under worship in Vriddhachalam temple near Chennai before its theft.last_img read more

Step to inform people about changes in GST Council must

first_imgKolkata: Pandiyaraj G V, the assistant commissioner of CGST, said steps should be taken to inform everyone about the recent changes in GST council.For those businesses that came under late fee filers, the government has given a benefit to file return by March 2019. The government has given a lot of rate cuts to benefit businesses. Rate cuts have to be passed onto final beneficiary as he pays taxes. Also he mentioned that much of the issues can be resolved if technical issues are reported. Also GST practitioners’ exams will come in future. Also Read – Bose & Gandhi: More similar than apart, says Sugata BosePandiyaraj was addressing a day-long session organised by the Bengal Chambers of Commerce on Friday. The target for the state is to achieve 18,000 crore (CGST) in this financial year, till now 12,000 crore have been achieved (December, 2018). If a person or business fails to file GST return, for two consecutive months, a ten rupees fine would be applicable. Also, e-way bill will not be issued unless he files his return as system will not work Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataSpeaking at the opening address, T B Chatterjee, Chairperson, Indirect Taxes Committee, The Bengal Chamber and senior partner and mentor Tax Connect Advisory Services LLP said: “Most of the judgments on GST that have been passed by high courts have all come through writ petitions and not appellate proceedings. GST is still in its nascent stage and it would take another 2-3 years to get good judgments on relevant topics. It would take some time to understand GST and its recent notifications and its impact on businesses and individuals. “The GST legislation is also one of the most important legislations after independence. We have significant issues at the initial stage and I must say issues are getting resolved. I must appreciate initiatives of the government of India and GST councils,” Chatterjee said.The Bengal Chamber has organised four GST workshops in the past. The objective in holding such seminars is to appraise members about GST so that they can implement it in their respective organisation. The Bengal Chamber also conducts courses on three specific subjects — international taxation that includes direct and indirect taxation, international trade that include costing, pricing, strategic management and lastly, the chamber will start a course to train candidates to make them suitable for giving GST examinations.last_img read more

Democracy will perish if BJP is voted back to power CM

first_imgShamshi, Pakuahat, Kaliachowk (Malda North/South): Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee said there will be no democracy in India if the fascist BJP government under Narendra Modi gets voted back to power.”BJP will not come back but if they are voted back to power then the fascist government under Modi will bid goodbye to democracy in India,” she said. Banerjee addressed three rallies at Shamshi, Pakuahat and Kaliachowk in North and South Malda, where elections will be held on April 23. Also Read – Rs 13,000 crore investment to provide 2 lakh jobs: MamataMalda and Murshidabad are two districts where Trinamool Congress did not have any MP until recently. Both the MPs in Malda were from Congress, until Mausam Benazir Noor joined Trinamool Congress. AHA Khan Chowdhury had won the Malda South seat by 1.64 lakh votes, while Mausam had won the Malda North seat by over 65,000 votes. Both the ministers in Mamata Banerjee’s cabinet, Krishnendu Narayan Chowdhury and Sabitri Mitra, had lost in the 2016 Assembly election. But the Trinamool supremo is expecting a change in the Congress stronghold this time. Also Read – Lightning kills 8, injures 16 in stateRecalling her long association with Congress, Banerjee said: “As a Congress worker I felt that it was not possible to oust CPI(M) from Bengal as Congress made compromises with the party. Trinamool Congress was set up in 1998 and because of Trinamool, CPI(M) was ousted from Bengal. Trinamool does not make any compromise with any party,” she said, adding: “I asked Mausam to join Trinamool because she is a genuine worker. She will work for the people.” Criticising Congress, Banerjee said the party “Does not work and always refers to the work which had been carried out by ABA Ghani Khan Chowdhury many decades ago,” she pointed out. Coming down heavily on BJP, she said: “BJP is a fascist government that survives on lies. Their leaders come from Delhi and speak lies to create confusion among the people. The statistics they put forward are concocted and full of lies.” Banerjee said in the past five years, the condition of common people has turned from bad to worse under the BJP government. “From banning of high value notes to hasty implementation of GST, the economic condition of India has been badly hit. Thousands of people have lost their jobs and the farmers are committing suicide. Bengal is the only state where the premium of crop insurance is paid by the state government. We take care of the farmers and working class,” she said. Banerjee maintained that the attitude of the parents towards their daughters has changed because of the Kanyashree scheme. Under the scheme, girls can carry on with higher education with the help of state government scholarship. “Kanyashree has not only bagged a prestigious award from the United Nations, but has also changed the attitude of parents towards their daughters. Daughters are no longer their burdens,” she said. She said after Bangladesh stopped import of mangoes from Malda, Bengal government opened business with Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern countries, where mangoes are being exported now. There will be an export centre in malda soon along with a new airport, she maintained. She urged the voters to cast their votes in favour of Mausam in North Malda and Moazzem Hossain in Malda South. “Do not waste your vote by casting it in favour of Congress or CPI(M). If you vote in favour of Congress or CPI(M), you will actually strengthen the hand of BJP. Vote for Mausam and Hossain saab, who will work for the development of Malda,” the Trinamool supremo said.last_img read more