Apple prepares to release HomePod ‘smart speaker’ that’s fitted with six microphones to records owners’ voice commands


Apple is preparing to lock horns with arch-competitors Amazon and Google by releasing a microphone-equipped smart speaker. Its ‘HomePod’ will go on sale in a matter of weeks, the tech giant announced today. The new smart speaker works a bit like the Amazon Echo, which is operated using voice commands, and features microphones so sensitive they can pick up your words even when loud music is playing.

When switched on, the device is always listening for orders, which it then encrypts and sends back to Apple prepares to release HomePod speaker that's fitted with six microphonesApple’s servers to be interpreted and sent back to the speaker. Privacy advocates are becoming increasingly wary of devices which can record what’s going on owners’ homes. But the tech firm assured potential customers that its HomePod would only begin recording when it hears the words ‘Hey Siri’. Apple wrote: ‘Security and privacy are fundamental to the design of Apple hardware, software and services. With HomePod, only after “Hey Siri” is recognized locally on the device will any information be sent to Apple servers, encrypted and sent using an anonymous Siri identifier.’

The gadget is also designed to play music and features seven tweeters for treble and a honking great subwoofer to blast out the bass. It can be used to control devices around the smart home and is connected to Apple Music so it can play more than 45 million songs. Philip Schiller, Apple’s senior vice president of Worldwide Marketing, said: ‘HomePod is a magical new music experience from Apple. It brings advanced audio technologies like beam-forming tweeters, a high-excursion woofer and automatic spatial awareness, together with the entire Apple Music catalogue and the latest Siri intelligence, in a simple, beautiful design that is so much fun to use.

‘We’re so excited for people to get HomePod into their homes, apartments and businesses to hear it for themselves. We think they will be blown away by the audio quality. The team has worked to give Siri a deeper knowledge of music so that you can ask to play virtually anything from your personal favourites to the latest chart-topping releases, simply by saying ‘Hey Siri.’’ Facebook is rumoured to be working on a device which features facial recognition cameras, which led to Mark Zuckerberg being dubbed ‘Big Zucker’. The HomePod will be on sale from February 9 and cost £319. FULL SOURCE

They are moving as fast as they can to take away your freedom and we will buy it as fast as we can and allow them….except for me!!

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AI: The Serpent’s Deception Revisited?


This article may not be of interest to some. In fact, many may wonder why it’s even being written about here. After all, it may have nothing to do with scripture. Then again, it MAY. It’s not my intent to force-feed a conclusion; I will leave that to the discernment of each individual reader to come up with their own conclusions.

AI, nano-technology, micro-processors, AGI, singularity, and many other terms are things we likely don’t think about on a daily basis. We may not be aware of the desires and beliefs of those who excel in these fields, and the reason why they are so driven to push the AI agenda on the world so quickly.

Some may think it’s merely profit… a race to the ‘top’ for who can be first to excel and produce these products for consumers, be it households, individuals, corporations, or military consumption. And for a few of those producing these things, that may play a part of it. But the majority of those who are skilled and accomplished in the field of AI (and all things related) have a far more nefarious desire to see it come to fruition. It’s not even the money (or fame) that they desire; it’s something even worse. They want to be ‘gods’. We’ll delve into that shortly…. more

Check out this video to learn more about the purpose of A.I. and your future.

Chinese Police Add Facial-Recognition Glasses to Surveillance Arsenal


A policewoman uses facial-recognition sunglasses while patrolling a train station in Zhengzhou, the capital of central China's Henan province, Feb. 5. BEIJING—As hundreds of millions of Chinese begin traveling for the Lunar New Year holiday, police are showing off a new addition to their crowd-surveillance toolbox: mobile facial-recognition units mounted on eyeglasses.

China is already a global leader in deploying cutting-edge surveillance technologies based on artificial intelligence. The mobile devices could expand the reach of that surveillance, allowing authorities to peer into places that fixed cameras aren’t scanning, and to respond more quickly.

The devices, released late last year, were touted in state media this week as a means to help authorities during times such as the annual Lunar New Year migration that begins next week, when Chinese travelers flood train stations and airports…. more

ICE is about to start tracking license plates across the US


The Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) agency has officially gained agency-wide access to a nationwide license plate recognition database, according to a contract finalized earlier this month. The system gives the agency access to billions of license plate records and new powers of real-time location tracking, raising significant concerns from civil libertarians.

The source of the data is not named in the contract, but an ICE representative said the data came from Vigilant Solutions, the leading network for license plate recognition data. “Like most other law enforcement agencies, ICE uses information obtained from license plate readers as one tool in support of its investigations,” spokesperson Dani Bennett said in a statement. “ICE is not seeking to build a license plate reader database, and will not collect nor contribute any data to a national public or private database through this contract.”

Reached by The Verge, Vigilant declined to confirm any contract with ICE. “As policy, Vigilant Solutions is not at liberty to share any contractual details,” the company said in a statement. “This is a standard agreement between our company, our partners, and our clients.”…. more

Russia Plans National Biometric Database Starting Next Year


Russia will get a country-wide biometric database for financial services starting next summer, the central bank said.

The system will expand access to banking by letting people open accounts without having to visit a branch and is a key milestone in digitizing financial services, the Bank of Russia said in a statement. The regulator said that data would only be stored with individuals’ consent. Legal changes needed for the system passed this month.

State-owned Rostelecom PJSC has been selected to run the database, which will collect personal data including images of faces, voice samples and, eventually, irises and fingerprints. Facial-recognition technology has been gaining consumer acceptance around the world, with Apple Inc.’s latest iPhone using it to unlock the device. In Russia, the authorities and government-linked companies are leading the charge… more

Big Brother is watching? New Facebook facial recognition spots you even if you’re not tagged


Big Brother is watching? New Facebook facial recognition spots you even if you’re not tagged The world’s largest social network has just rolled out a new feature of its facial recognition technology that will notify users when someone has uploaded a photo of them even if they haven’t been tagged in it on Facebook.

The new feature sprang into action Tuesday. Facebook says it will “help people better manage their identity” on the platform “using face recognition.” Though not all of the network’s over 2 billion users will be able to avail of the new feature as those in the European Union and Canada are excluded due to privacy laws which prohibit Facebook’s use of facial recognition.

Under EU law, personal data can only be gathered legally under strict conditions, for a legitimate purpose. Furthermore, “persons or organisations which collect and manage your personal information must protect it from misuse and must respect certain rights of the data owners which are guaranteed by EU law.”… more

Surveillance cams, face scans help China make thousands vanish


Not his mother, who lives in a two-story house at the far end of a country road, alone behind walls bleached by the desert sun. She opened the door one afternoon for an unexpected visit by Associated Press reporters, who showed her a picture of a handsome young man posing in a park, one arm in the wind.

“Yes, that’s him,” she said as tears began streaming down her face. “This is the first time I’ve heard anything of him in seven months. What happened?”

“Is he dead or alive?”

The student’s friends think he joined the thousands — possibly tens of thousands — of people, rights groups and academics estimate, who have been spirited without trial into secretive detention camps for alleged political crimes that range from having extremist thoughts to merely traveling or studying abroad. The mass disappearances, beginning the past year, are part of a sweeping effort by Chinese authorities to use detentions and data-driven surveillance to impose a digital police state in the region of Xinjiang and over its Uighurs, a 10-million strong, Turkic-speaking Muslim minority that China says has been influenced by Islamic extremism…. more

….Thought police
The government has referred to its detention program as “vocational training,” but its main purpose appears to be indoctrination. A memo published online by the Xinjiang human resources office described cities, including Korla, beginning “free, completely closed-off, militarized” training sessions in March that last anywhere from 3 months to 2 years….

German government wants ‘backdoor’ access to every digital device: report


German government wants ‘backdoor’ access to every digital device: reportGermany’s Interior Minister wants to force tech and car companies to provide the German security services with hidden digital access to cars, computers, phones and more, according to a media report from Friday.

The RedaktionsNetzwerk Deutschland (RND) reported that Thomas de Maizière had written up a draft proposal for the interior minister conference, taking place next week in Leipzig, which he has called “the legal duty for third parties to allow for secret surveillance.”

According to the RND, the proposal would “dramatically extend” the state’s powers to spy on its citizens.

The Interior Minister has been motivated to propose a new law by the fact that it is becoming ever more difficult for the intelligence agencies to break through the security systems which protect privacy on digital devices…. read more