Amazon.com Inc. is updating its Alexa voice software to let users delete recordings of their voice using a spoken command, a move that follows criticism of the company’s privacy practices related to its digital assistant.A coming set of updates will offer users who have opted in online the ability to say “Alexa, delete everything I said today,” or, similarly, delete their most recent utterance. Previously, the only way to remove recordings was a tool on the Alexa privacy website.“It’s a good step in the right direction,” said Florian Schaub, a professor at the University of Michigan who has researched privacy issues related to smart speakers. Recent reporting and research on Amazon’s digital assistant, he said, likely “helped inform these decisions” by the company. Mozilla exec tells big data committee he was ‘shocked’ by what Alexa recorded Amazon is working on a device that can read emotions based on the sound of someone’s voice Amazon’s Alexa voice command auditors can access customers’ home addresses, sources say Bloomberg reported last month that some Amazon employees listen to users’ voice recordings as part of an effort to improve the software. In some cases, those workers can access the location of the person whose voice they are transcribing. Amazon’s privacy and user policies didn’t explicitly disclose either practice.Meanwhile, a coalition of children’s and privacy groups asked the Federal Trade Commission to investigate whether Amazon had violated children’s privacy laws by giving parents insufficient control of their kids’ data. And CNET reported that even after users delete Alexa voice recordings, a text record of that information lingers on Amazon’s servers. (Amazon said it was working on an update that would remove those text records from all of its systems after a user tries to delete them.)Amazon’s move also comes as other technology giants make a point of touting their own efforts to safeguard user data. Facebook Inc., under fire after a string of privacy scandals, has started emphasizing privacy features. Alphabet Inc.’s Google highlighted its own work on the topic at its developer conference earlier this month, and Apple Inc. has made privacy a cornerstone of recent marketing campaigns.“It could be Amazon feels that they need to be in the same game,” Schaub said.The company also gave its Alexa privacy website a facelift, adding a bit more explanation to how the software works. The company’s Echo Show 5, a new version of the screen-bearing smart speaker line, announced on Wednesday, comes with a shutter that lets customers cover the built-in camera.Bloomberg.com read more

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by The Canadian Press Posted Oct 21, 2015 4:59 pm MDT Last Updated Oct 21, 2015 at 6:40 pm MDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email Tsilhqot’in, B.C. government reconciliation talks to focus on mill and moose VICTORIA – Restarting a sawmill and rebuilding moose populations in British Columbia’s Interior are now the focus of reconciliation talks between the provincial government and Tsilhqot’in Nation.The talks began last year after the Tsilhqot’in won title in court to 1,750 square kilometres of its territorial lands in the remote Nemiah Valley.Aboriginal Relations Minister John Rustad said in an interview Wednesday that both sides have signed a letter of intent, which is the next step in the reconciliation work.“It’s a way to get out of the starting blocks for us to be able to spend some time working on a couple very important issues,” he said.He said a working group will examine the possibility of restarting the River West Forest sawmill, located west of Williams Lake, and look at business opportunities on the site.“One of the things that is going to be critical as we go forward working with the Tsilhqot’in is finding ways for Tsilhqot’in to be self sustaining,” he said, adding the nation has identified the mill as one potential economic opportunity.Both sides have also agreed to find ways to support the recovery of the region’s moose population.Rustad said anecdotal evidence suggests the local moose population has declined, so the nation wants to work with the government to reverse the trend. He said moose are important culturally to the local aboriginal and non-aboriginal population.The Tsilhqot’in also want to spend more time consulting with community members, Rustad said, noting the nation and government have been in conflict for more than 150 years and trust will take time to build.Tsilhqot’in Chief Joe Alphonse said in a news release that the nation will get a closer look in the coming months at the economic opportunities available at the sawmill site.“A history of mistrust of B.C. is still very real for us,” he said. “We are using this as a test of B.C.’s commitment to reconciliation.”Transportation and Infrastructure Minister Todd Stone announced last month the installation of distance signs, written in Tsilhqot’in and English, on Highway 20 and several other major routes west of Williams Lake.He said the signs are meant to honour the history and culture of the region’s original people.— by Keven Drews in Vancouver read more

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