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Amazon Alexa offering NHS health advice

Amazon Alexa offering NHS health advice

From this week, the voice-assisted technology is automatically searching the official NHS website when UK users ask for health-related advice. The government in England said it could reduce demand on the NHS. Privacy campaigners have raised data protection concerns but Amazon say all information will be kept confidential. The partnership was first announced last year and now talks are under way with other companies, including Microsoft, to set up similar arrangements.
17-Year-Old Weakness in Firefox Let HTML File Steal Other Files From Device

17-Year-Old Weakness in Firefox Let HTML File Steal Other Files From Device

Except for phishing and scams, downloading an HTML attachment and opening it locally on your browser was never considered as a severe threat until a security researcher today demonstrated a technique that could allow attackers to steal files stored on a victim's computer. Barak Tawily, an application security researcher, shared his findings with The Hacker News, wherein he successfully developed a new proof-of-concept attack against the latest version of Firefox by leveraging a 17-year-old known issue in the browser. The attack takes advantage of the way Firefox implements Same Origin Policy (SOP) for the "file://" scheme URI (Uniform Resource Identifiers), which allows any file in a folder on a system to get access to files in the same folder and subfolders.
Amazon Alexa keeps your data with no expiration date, and shares it too

Amazon Alexa keeps your data with no expiration date, and shares it too

If you have hangups about Amazon and privacy on its smart assistant, Alexa, you're not alone. Even after Amazon sent answers to a US senator who had questions about how the tech giant retains voice data and transcripts, the lawmaker remains concerned about Alexa's privacy practices. Sen. Chris Coons, a Democrat from Delaware, sent a letter to Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos in May, demanding answers on Alexa and how long it kept voice recordings and transcripts, as well as what the data gets used for. The letter came after CNET's report that Amazon kept transcripts of interactions with Alexa, even after people deleted the voice recordings. 
Gmail’s API lockdown will kill some third-party app access, starting July 15

Gmail’s API lockdown will kill some third-party app access, starting July 15

Google is locking down API access to Gmail data (and later, Drive data) soon, and some of your favorite third-party apps might find themselves locked out of your Google account data. The new API policy was announced back in October, but this week Google started emailing individual users of these apps, telling them the apps will no longer work starting July 15. The new policy closes off OAuth access to Gmail data, and while we by no means have a comprehensive list of what isn't affected yet, so far we've seen users of Microsoft's SwiftKey and the open source app SMS Backup+ receive notification emails.
Terrifying video of a Texas woman's kidnapping was captured by a Ring video doorbell, and it helped police arrest the suspect

Terrifying video of a Texas woman's kidnapping was captured by a Ring video doorbell, and it helped police arrest the suspect

After her kidnapping was caught on camera by an Amazon Ring security monitor, the man accused of a Texas woman's abduction has been arrested. A 31-second video of the kidnapping — which we first saw on KVUE, an ABC affiliate in Austin, Texas — shows the woman frantically knocking on a neighbor's door at 9:25 p.m. on Tuesday. Then, she backs up against the door as a man approaches. She says, "Stop, please, no, no, no, no," as the man says, "Get over here, get into the car," and drags her away.
Stanford Team Aims at Alexa and Siri With a Privacy-Minded Alternative

Stanford Team Aims at Alexa and Siri With a Privacy-Minded Alternative

PALO ALTO, Calif. — It has been almost two decades since Google started to dominate internet search the way Microsoft dominated software for personal computers a generation earlier. Now computer scientists at Stanford University are warning about the consequences of a race to control what they believe will be the next key consumer technology market — virtual assistants like Amazon’s Alexa and Google Assistant. The group at Stanford, led by Monica Lam, a computer systems designer, last month received a $3 million grant from the National Science Foundation. The grant is for an internet service they hope will serve as a Switzerland of sorts for systems that use human language to control computers, smartphones and internet devices in homes and offices.
Apple's former Siri chief says today's digital assistants still have a long way to go before they can really understand us

Apple's former Siri chief says today's digital assistants still have a long way to go before they can really understand us

If you've been paying any attention to the announcements Apple and Google made during their recent developers conferences, you probably already know that big improvements are coming to Siri and the Google Assistant. During its Worldwide Developers Conference earlier this month, Apple announced that Siri will be getting a more natural voice that's generated entirely by software when its iOS 13 update for iPhones launches later this year. Google said in May that its digital assistant will be able to understand and process requests up to 10 times faster, and Amazon recently launched a new version of its Alexa-powered Echo Show.
L'Oréal's UV-detecting wearable is ready to keep more people safe in the sun

L'Oréal's UV-detecting wearable is ready to keep more people safe in the sun

L’Oréal is ready to help sun-lovers in the UK pay closer attention to UV exposure through a battery-free wearable that can be worn on your clothes - and even on an Apple Watch. The £60 My Skin Track UV, which is launching under the beauty giant's skincare brand, La Roche-Posay, is now on sale through Apple's online and select stores after it launched in the US last November. It's been developed inside of the Tech Incubator research and development lab, which has already produced two stretchable UV sensors and is also developing a wearable that can detect your skin's PH level to recommend appropriate skincare.
'A white-collar sweatshop': Google Assistant contractors allege wage theft

'A white-collar sweatshop': Google Assistant contractors allege wage theft

“Do you believe in magic?” Google asked attendees of its annual developer conference this May, playing the seminal Lovin’ Spoonful tune as an introduction. Throughout the three-day event, company executives repeatedly answered yes while touting new features of the Google Assistant, the company’s version of Alexa or Siri, that can indeed feel magical. The tool can book you a rental car, tell you what the weather is like at your mother’s house, and even interpret live conversations across 26 languages. But to some of the Google employees responsible for making the Assistant work, the tagline of the conference – “Keep making magic” – obscured a more mundane reality: the technical wizardry relies on massive data sets built by subcontracted human workers earning low wages.
AMAZON WEARABLE DEVICE MAY SOON BE ABLE TO READ HUMAN EMOTIONS

AMAZON WEARABLE DEVICE MAY SOON BE ABLE TO READ HUMAN EMOTIONS

researchers at technology giant Amazon are reportedly working on a wearable device that will be able to recognize human emotions from a voice. According to Bloomberg, the project is a collaboration between experts in the Alexa division and Lab126, the development team responsible for designing the Amazon Echo, Kindle and Fire tablets. It is reportedly a “health and wellness” device that is worn on the wrist. Based on internal documents, Bloomberg reported that the product is paired with a smartphone app and used microphones combined with software to detect an emotional state.
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