If you have a laptop, if you use Google, and most importantly if you use Google Chrome, then this is your business.
Open source developers have noticed that the Chromium browser, the open source basis for Google Chrome, began remotely installing audio-snooping code that was capable of listening to users.
Initially decided for the “OK, Google” hotword detection, it has become this thing that is just active on your computer without your permission.
Rick Falkvinge, the Pirate party founder said in a new blog post that “Without consent, Google’s code had downloaded a black box of code that according to itself had turned on the microphone and was actively listening to your room. Which means that your computer had been stealth configured to send what was being said in your room to somebody else, to a private company in another country, without your consent or knowledge, an audio transmission triggered by … an unknown and unverifiable set of conditions.”
The feature is installed as a default part of Google Chrome but open source advocates are concerned because the listening code is considered to be “black box”, not part of the open source audit process.
“We don’t know and can’t know what this black box does,” said Falkvinge.
This is actually kind of very scary news. Can’t we just have privacy even in our homes? Technology!