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This thread has gotten long, so here's a summary:

- There is not evidence that these devices record and transmit without an activation word triggering this behavior - However, there is nothing to stop companies from breaking this assumption - Some people think the risk of one of these companies flipping a switch and recording everything is negligible - Some people think the risk of one of these companies flipping a switch and recording everything is warrants serious concern - These two groups will not agree, and that's fine :)




There is hard evidence [1][2] you can remotely operate Echo recording capabilities without a wake word. Hope this puts the 'hardware limitation' claim to bed.

[1] https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=18905161

[2] https://m.youtube.com/watch?feature=youtu.be&v=Mme9d-ojpNo


I still don't get why a stationary assistant would be less trustworthy than a handheld phone. Shouldn't both devices be equally suspect?


It's like in school where there's an advantage/disadvantage question and I only know one thing: I wore the same thing as advantage and disadvantage.

The advantage of a stationary device is you don't have to charge it. It is always connected.

The disadvantage is you don't have to charge it. It is always connected so the engineers don't have to make trade offs they'd have to make on a battery operated phone.


I picked up a google home a week ago. I pretty much use it as a glorified alarm clock, and I love it.

I was running into issues with my phone’s alarm not being loud enough (either off or in a pocket, wrong room, etc) — with the Home, its always there.

The other ‘smart’ features are handy, but I’m not using those very much. When the price is right I will get some lights, though.

Does everybody need one of these? No. Is it any better than a phone? Yes, only because it’s exactly where I want it at all times.


Nice summary. For those who believe that one of these companies might (intentionally or accidentally) "flip the switch", would a project like this really do that much to persuade you that the device had now become safe for use? Or would you simply avoid knowingly purchasing any such devices? (In that sense I'm struggling to understand the true customer for a neat hack like this.)


That's a good point. If you can already translate words you could implement some of the basic features like search on the same device.




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