Tuesday, June 23, 2015

So Google Chrome can monitor your microphone?

There's yet another security 'scare' about how Google Chrome can use a computer's microphone and webcam to monitor users.  This is nothing new.  Tech analysts have spoken and written about similar stuff for several years - for example, see this Forbes article from January last year.  The latest fuss and bother appears to describe a couple of new features, new ways that Chrome can do this, but the basic capability has been there all along.

That's the problem with trusting any company to use your computer hardware and software responsibly.  If Facebook asks you to scan your ID documents (drivers license, etc.) and upload them to 'verify' your account, are you going to be dumb enough to do so?  That's none of their business - so why would they want that information if not to exploit it, and you?  Do you think they're doing it because they have your best interests at heart?  Like hell they are!

If you want all the bells and whistles Google builds into Chrome, Google Docs, Gmail or any of their other products, you have to sacrifice at least some privacy to get them.  That's just the way it is.  In some cases, we accept the balance between convenience and privacy.  In others, we don't.  Everyone's boundaries will differ (I, for example, won't use Facebook at all).

Therefore, the simplest and easiest answer to Google Chrome's potential or actual breach of your privacy is very simple.  Don't download it, don't install it, and don't use it.  Problem solved.



Stu Garfath. Sydney Australia said...

Wise words indeed Peter.
Here's a HEADS UP! for all Facebook and other social media users.
On sunday,21 June, here in Canberra, Australia, my Grandson celebrated his 16th birthday, and he told the world via his Facebook, no real problems there.
Then he did the following.
He posted images of himself holding up $20 and $50 notes, cash money presents from his friends, as he called it.
Roll forward to the next day Monday, 22 June, he was at his college in Canberra, he had just on $400 in his wallet, which he left in his school locker.
He arrived home minus the $400, his locker had been broken into and the cash, plus gift certificates, had been stolen, and he now realises that a friend or someone close, is the thief.
He was absolutely gutted, as he should have been.
Now, without going into all the 'should haves and should not haves', one point, to me, is glaringly obvious.
He, and quite probably a vast number of Social media users, are sublimely, even dangerously ignorant of the present and future impact their posts can have on them, whatever their age, gender or life experience.
He now knows that not everyone on social media is honest, or your friend, whether 'tagged' or not.
Welcome to the real world Grandson, it can be a real shitfight - if you let it be.

Coconut said...


Anonymous said...

I don't use facebook (or ANY "social media"), Mic's,cameras, Google, or cellphones. I use a twenty year old computer with no personal, information of any kind in it. I do nothing in public that I wouldn't want to see on you tube. I live and act as if I live in a socialist police state where I have no privacy and no civil rights of any kind. This is called "adapting to reality" . Y'all bitching about your "loss of privacy" should try it. Or pick up a gun and change it. Personally I don't think most will do ether.----Ray

Da Curly Wolf said...

they all have their problems Peter. The more downloads and upgrades for firefox you do it becomes bloated and glitchy. As a bonus Mozilla no longer gives you much of a choice about the upgrade because passed a certain point...it'll do it automatically without your permission. Between one shut down to the next. Whether that be just closing and shutting your browser or shutting off the computer...next time you open firefox 'hang on we're updating' oO.
And IE is literally RIDDLED with tracking cookies and other crap in comparison. When I run my av scan after or while using firefox? between 4-6 cookies. IE 40-50 of them. This while visiting the EXACT same sites I normally visit on firefox.

Anonymous said...

Google voice is an advertised feature, nobodies hiding this (or siri, or cortana) you have to click an agreement to get it to turn on.

Jonathan H said...

If you want an alternative, look into Iron - it is a version of Chrome with the tracking and monitoring features removed (which is easy to do since it is open source).