More interesting is "a patent held by the company states that the Facebook app uses voice recognition algorithm, which uses audio recorded by the microphones, to modify the ranking scores of stories in users News Feed." and their speculation that Facebook could soon reveal details about their use of surreptitiously recorded user audio.
Facebook makes a curiously specific denial about audio, which is that it is not used for advertising. Considering their entire business is basically advertising, what does that leave? But all they mean is ad selection. When they were found to be recording audio during the posting of statuses, I believe they claimed it it was so they could recognize the music you were listening to, and know something about your mood. So for a long time, I have thought that they use audio to select other content, like friend suggestions, or to inform the selection of stories that appear on your newsfeed.
However, I think that I disagree with you on whether or not sharing the data is important. If you are heat mapping me, like facebook and probably everyone else from Microsoft to CNN and FoxNews does, or you are recording me like everyone from Facebook to Samsung does, I'm sorry, I've got a problem with it. I don't care if you don't share that data. I don't want Samsung recording what's going on in my living room. Doesn't matter if the data isn't shared. It's just the principle of the thing.
It's gotten to the point where I actually purchased a certain model of Sony TV, because the teardown verified that there is no microphone in it. Then I tossed the remote control and got a generic remote with no voice control.
People joke about me being paranoid, but I'm not paranoid. Sheez... I'm old and boring, I know that no one cares about what's going on in my house or on my computers.
I'm just stubborn.
Why let the privacy invaders win?
I got carried away and rambling but I mean, come on. Mouse movements? Really? I suppose you have to give them credit they are creative in a very perverted sense.
You need to be careful though because the microphone is in the remote control instead. So buy the remote control WITHOUT voice control, get rid of the remote that comes with the TV, and you're good. There will be no mic's in your tv setup. (This will cost you a bit extra. About 20 or 30 bucks for a generic one.)
A second problem is that it is a smart tv, so you have to make sure to NOT connect it to the internet and get your smart services via a box you control. (I haven't been able to prove that Sony siphons smart data usage from its tv's the way the Samsung Android tv's do, but it is technically possible for them to do so.)
In any case, under no circumstances should you get a samsung. You can't even use those tvs without the privacy invasion equipment activated.
>You can't even use those tvs without the privacy invasion equipment activated.
Could you elaborate further? If I don't connect a samsung smart TV to my network, shouldn't I still be able to use it as a normal TV?
Indeed, I would never buy a Samsung smart TV (or phone).
I don't do anything im worried about people finding out, but that doesn't mean I want to let them listen in either. Maybe if someone was upfront about it from the beginning or showed us what they were truly doing, but seeing how shady it all seems to be makes me assume they are doing shady shit with it.
Edit: I wanted to add that I didn't intent to focus on whether the data is shared. I think FB having and using it is bad enough, especially if they're ubiquitous. Also, once anyone creates such data, other entities such as governments will seek to obtain it and likely do so eventually.
And, since we can't know in advance all the ways data can be combined, recombined, projected, and analyzed there is no such thing as informed consent to use said data unless specifically restricted to a single analysis using only given data.
Such as, any time you store a precise time in connection with user actions that has privacy implications. I picture simply not recording the time or exact URL.
If the system is designed without any sort of privacy in mind, and just records whatever data is convenient and too much, that's easier to abuse than one that intentionally records a minimum with privacy in mind. I agree it's amazing the way all of this can be subverted, and yes, I realize that HN is stocked with data scientists who are more knowledgeable about this than I am.
Correction: Not in the background, but it could do it silently while the app is in the foreground.
I can only assume that up until P developers could record both sound and video in the background. That's some scary shit.
 Why isn't there a system level visual indication or audit trail of any camera or mic access? Surely this would be trivial to implement, you could even disable it if you just didn't give a toot about privacy at all.
I wonder if the apps and browsers will get a "grant access for 5 minutes" setting, so that one can feel safe with the services of these services. EDIT: Or maybe lock-screen/pulldown-screen (or whatever it's called) notification that has a "remove permission" button so that you can remove it when you're done.
[Disclaimer: I work on Firefox.]
In Firefox you can grant the permissions once (for the current page only) or grant them forever, your choice. If your browser doesn't offer that choice, that's a problem with your browser.
The media and general public seem to be 10-15 years behind when it comes to understanding how the things they rely on, and the tools being used to “improve” them, work
Though IMO, a lot of the blame is on Facebook and the whole lot for avoiding discussing openly in order to avoid fallout. Just asking customers too is out of the question, of course. Cause BIG Corps are smarter than their customers
Only once you’re “too big to fail” can you be honest about your shady BS
Does the patent really state that Facebook does that, or Facebook spammed the patent office with obvious ideas about how they could do that. Big tech companies have loads of trivial patents on stuff they have no firm plans to build, just to stake out IP territory.
> I believe they claimed it it was so they could recognize the music you were listening to, and know something about your mood.
When did this happen, and why wasn't it frontpage on HN and all the news sites?
As far as the status audio, I'm sure it has been discussed on HN. I don't have the time to dig up all the info right now but here is FB's take on that: https://newsroom.fb.com/news/2014/05/a-new-optional-way-to-s...
One bad thing about this system for Android is how much control Google has over permissions - for example, their own built-in Shazam...