(Mass Private I) Amazon.com is building the CIA’s new $600 million data center, click here to read more. At the same time Amazon.com is building this massive cloud computing infrastructure for the CIA, the company is also shipping millions of Fire TV set-top devices to customers who are placing them in their private homes.
However there’s no power button on the remote, and there’s no power button on the box. It turns out there’s no way to power the device off except for unplugging it.
This is highly unusual and apparently done by design. “It is not necessary to turn off Amazon Fire TV when you are finished using it,” says the Amazon.com website. “Your Amazon Fire TV is designed to go into sleep mode after 30 minutes, while continuing to automatically receive important software updates.” (wink, wink)
Note carefully that this does not say your Fire TV device WILL go into sleep mode after 30 minutes; only that it is “designed” to go into sleep mode after 30 minutes. As lawyers well know, this is a huge difference.
What starts to make this really interesting is when you realize these devices are linked to your identity before they’re shipped to you.
Ever notice that when you power on your Fire TV device, it already knows who you are? Your entire library of video purchases on Amazon.com is already available, and those purchases are of course linked to your credit card, which is linked to your social security number, which is linked to your identity.
Amazon.com knows the identity of the owner of every Fire TV box currently sitting in living rooms across America. This mean it can connect everything that happens around that box (including audio monitoring, as you’ll see below) to your personal identity.
There is a built-in microphone on the Fire TV remote.
When you click the search button, your voice is recorded and uploaded to Amazon.com servers where it is analyzed by Amazon cloud computing applications — the same kind of thing Amazon is building for the CIA — in order to return search matches to your local TV screen.
Now, I fully realize that most Americans are too gullible and naive to believe their audio recordings get uploaded to Amazon.com servers, so I’m going to quote CNET.com here which published an article earlier this year entitled: “How to delete your Fire TV voice recordings – Amazon stores your recordings on its servers to improve accuracy of voice searches. Here’s how you can delete that data.”
“To improve the service and the voice results, however, Amazon records and stores the voice samples associated with your account to its servers.”
It goes on to warn readers that “there is no way to opt-out of Amazon’s voice storage.”
And there you have it: the Fire TV device was engineered from the start to record your voice, upload it to Amazon’s servers — now being expanded to the CIA — and link those voice recordings to your identity.
An article published by MHP Books reveals that Amazon may already be working with the NSA to provide surveillance data on U.S. citizens:
…One mainstream source — Businessweek — rather perversely observes that the leaked documents show Dropbox was about to be added to the PRISM program, then goes on to say that “This is a weird one because Dropbox stores its customers’ files on Amazon.com’s cloud computing service, yet Amazon appears nowhere in the Prism documents.” It fails to note that not all the companies suspected of supplying the NSA with info were named in the documents — that those documents were in fact redacted — although it does show a modicum of due diligence in asking Amazon if it was participating in the NSA program, and a spokeswoman responds with an apparent two word answer: “Not cooperating.”
But are they to be believed? Other non-mainstreamers report bluntly that Amazon was part of PRISM. To still other observers, such as this reader in the Guardian, it seems obvious: “Does this explain the apparent immunity to tax of Apple, Amazon and co?” she asks.
Full details on the PRISM infrastructure exposed by Edward Snowden are described in this Market Oracle article.
Another article entitled, “Snowden slams Amazon for leaking customer data to the NSA” reveals how former NSA contractor Edward Snowden harshly criticized Amazon.com for allowing intelligence agencies to read everything you browse on Amazon.com, including book titles, movies and more. This is happening due to Amazon.com’s failure to implement proper encryption protocols.
Nielsen & Facebook join together to spy on your TV viewing habits on smart devices:
Nielsen Media Research (NMR) has formed a joint effort with Facebook to monitor and track mobile phone users.
For the past several months, Nielsen has been sharing with clients and industry leaders how it plans to incorporate audiences viewing TV content on digital devices into traditional TV measurement for the 2014-15 TV season. Today, this effort took a big step forward as Nielsen confirmed to clients that it will make the software developer kit (SDK) that enables this measurement available for implementation in mid-November.
“We’ve been working hard to deliver this new SDK and are excited to be able to deliver a single client solution that supports both the linear (TV style) and dynamic (Internet style) ad models,” said Megan Clarken, EVP, Global Product Leader, Nielsen. “This unified encoding approach for video enables measurement to follow content across screens and ad models.”
Later this year, Facebook will be tracking what its members watch on their mobile devices and share information on them to NMR to help assist in the future line up on television programing during the fall.
NMR has an estimated 25,000 participants with installed meters to monitor their TV habits.
Cheryl Idell, executive vice president for NMR explained that the information sharing with Facebook “will be anonymous and aggregated” so that her corporation “won’t have information about individual users.”
NMR and Facebook are collaborating to know what customers are watching at any given time for advertising purposes and decision making when creating show content that will attract viewers.
Julia Horwitz, counsel for consumer protections at the Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF) commented : “Consumers really are not aware of the extent to which Facebook is putting their non-Facebook activity to use. Watching television and surfing the Internet shouldn’t necessarily involve Facebook.”
An anonymous spokesperson from Facebook was quoted as saying: “We have worked with Nielsen under strong privacy principles. We don’t believe that audience measurement systems should be used to adjust targeting; they should only be used for measurement. This protects the privacy of people viewing ads and ensures that both advertisers and publishers have the same information about the audiences.”
With regard to user browsing history, Facebook has decided they will monitor browsing history from 3rd party sources to use in a new marketing scheme targeting their members.
In order to deliver “improved” adverts to potential customers, Facebook will utilize access to “sing cookies saved in user browser history and data collected from all those Facebook Like buttons embedded on sites.”
Facebook offers this scenario to explain their new “internet-based advertising” plan: “Let’s say that you’re thinking about buying a new TV, and you start researching TVs on the web and in mobile apps. We may show you ads for deals on a TV to help you get the best price or other brands to consider. And because we think you’re interested in electronics, we may show you ads for other electronics in the future, like speakers or a game console to go with your new TV.”
Advertisers can access types of users from Facebook to targets adverts to specific demographics.
Although the actual identity of the user remains confidential, marketing firms can choose “attributes” such as:
• Ethnic affinity
• Primary language
• Where the user recently moved
• Where the user’s family is located
Groups likely to be targeted include:
• Baby boomers
• Fans of specific sports teams
• People who take cruises
• Heavy users of tech devices
Facebook is also able to monitor what users purchase online by using browsing history correlated with real world purchases.