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Matt Stoller
Well, this is interesting. Apparently Amazon and Google came out swinging against this Illinois bill saying a company is not allowed to remotely turn on a microphone without the owner’s permission.
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Matt Stoller Apr 10
Replying to @CastroforIL22
Here are the Amazon/Google talking points against the bill barring tech platforms from secretly recording you in your home. Talking points are laundered through the Illinois Chamber of Commerce and tech trade associations.
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Too Big To Fail Apr 10
Replying to @matthewstoller
Seems weird that Amazon can be sued because I have a dinner party and one of my guests happens to be telling a story about their coworker, Alexa Smith.
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Matt Stoller Apr 10
Replying to @matthewstoller
This is my favorite talking point against the bill barring undisclosed remote activations of microphones by tech platforms. "The language allows for company terms of services agreements to be void and unenforceable even if a failure to disclose is deemed accidental."
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Matt Stoller Apr 10
Replying to @Too_Big_To_Fail
Yes, I would also vehemently oppose the bill you made up in your head.
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Matt Stoller Apr 10
Replying to @matthewstoller
To be fair, what about Google's and Amazon's right to hear every private conversation? It's super uncool to make trillion dollar companies feel left out.
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Derrick Pruitt Apr 10
Replying to @matthewstoller
I think what they are getting at (and I may be wrong) is that this would cripple voice commands. You phone works with voice unlock by recording voices and putting it through an algorithm to determine if you are talking to it. This bill would make that illegal.
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Too Big To Fail Apr 10
Under this statute as written, Amazon would be violating the law in my home right now -- I have a number of Echo devices in various rooms, which I use. My wife also uses them, but since they're tied to my account and I set them up, she never agreed to the terms of service.
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Matt Stoller Apr 10
"unless a user first agrees to a written policy meeting specified criteria." --> Seems like your concerns can be addressed easily through contract, no?
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Too Big To Fail Apr 10
I don't see how. Requiring any individual who enters a home equipped with Echo devices sign on to an agreement about them seems entirely unworkable, especially since the compliance burden would be on home residents, but the penalties for violation would be on Amazon.
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Matt Stoller Apr 10
Replying to @matthewstoller
There are definitely interesting questions about how to define who gets to consent. If you're in my home and you are recorded by a microphone I've consented to use, what does that mean? Then again, there are one party consent states for phone recordings, so this is not hard.
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Matt Stoller Apr 10
Stop being intentionally obtuse, that's not what I mean and you know it. There are one party consent states for phone recordings. We can design user agreements that address this problem fairly easily.
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Too Big To Fail Apr 10
I'm not being obtuse; I'm a lawyer, and I spend all day interpreting statutes as they're written. This statute is written in such a way that it would essentially make smart speakers as we know them illegal. As such, it makes sense that Google and Amazon would oppose the law.
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Matt Stoller Apr 10
Replying to @gr81disp
No, it wouldn't.
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Matt Stoller Apr 10
You're not even quoting the statute, you're quoting the synopsis.
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Matt Stoller Apr 10
Replying to @Halfcockedlaw
That's not the point. The point is this can be defined by statute.
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Too Big To Fail Apr 10
...be able to continue using them for the purposes I purchased them for.
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Derrick Pruitt Apr 10
Replying to @matthewstoller
It records all voices in the room. If you don't have permission from each user (which isn't defined), it would be illegal, no?
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Matt Stoller Apr 10
Replying to @gr81disp
No
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Derrick Pruitt Apr 10
Replying to @matthewstoller
Why not? Is there a specific exemption for voice commands?
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