The Worst Idea In The 'Bad Idea' Department
The Market Ticker - Commentary on The Capital Markets
2017-11-30 09:35 by Karl Denninger
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The Worst Idea In The 'Bad Idea' Department
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If you brought an "Alexa" into a workplace that I had responsibility for you would be fired.

Immediately.

There would be no discussion, no second opportunities, no "oops", no thinking about it, no taking it back home.

You'd be handed a box and the guard would stand at your desk while you filled it with your personal effects, your access card would be revoked, your password shut off for the office network, and your ass would be out the door.

Period.

There are already enough issues with people having apps on their phone that might spy on them -- including turning on the microphone and/or camera without formal request.  The corporate espionage capacity here is off-the-rack already when it comes to personal smartphones, which is one of the many risks that nobody pays attention to but damn well should.

This is ridiculously specific, however, and intentional.

And by the way, if you think Spamazon will ever be held accountable when (not if) they steal some corporate secret and abuse it you need your ****ing head examined.  May I remind you that the company has already, many times, almost-certainly done exactly that?

How many times has the firm had a fulfillment relationship with a vendor on their store and from that been able to determine how much product moves and where it's sourced from, then sourced the product itself and effectively forced out the vendor, destroying their business?

Oh, you say that doesn't happen eh?  There are people on this very site who say it has -- to them.

By the way that conduct is outrageous and actionable at best (while possibly being criminally illegal under the Sherman and Clayton acts as well); the implied term of fair dealing is part of all contracts, and you don't need to specify or negotiate it.

Have you ever heard of any attorney general going after Amazon for this sort of thing?  Has the FTC ever done so?  Are you telling me that it's not blatantly obvious that it has happened thousands of times simply by looking at all the items on which both Amazon and a third-party seller has the same item listed?  How hard would it be to look at who had it on the site first?

Amazon gains not only the knowledge of what's bought and from whom it also knows "for how much", in other words, what your cost as a vendor looks like.  Maybe not to the penny but it certainly knows what the ceiling is, because it knows its 15% commission rate, shipping deductions, the probable cost to ship it to their warehouse and your price.  It therefore knows the maximum you could have bought it for and remain in business.  This is information nobody else has, but gee, they've got it.

How hard is it to abuse that?  Very simple, and if even one time Amazon has solicited a supplier to undercut a third-party marketplace seller..... well?

Now you want to bring a spying device from this very same company into your building in which it must inherently listen to conversations that take place within range of it in order to work and it must upload that speech to its "cloud" in order to process it?

You're out of your ****ing mind.

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User Info The Worst Idea In The 'Bad Idea' Department in forum [Market-Ticker]
Jacksparrow
Posts: 31
Incept: 2016-04-15

4116 Libby Rd NE, Olympia WA 98506
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Make dam sure no phones have the amazon apps on them either. I caught them listening into conversations in the room, and sending ads based on those discussions. What privacy? Did you notice white house leaks stopped after phones were banned from meetings. Hmm makes you wonder if spying via phone app was the source of some stories?
Maynard
Posts: 448
Incept: 2007-11-27

on the move
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I wonder how much corporate espionage happens with this issue. Used to work for a major airplane MFG. Most people always had a personal and work phone (all BBRY) at the time. Who is listening to all those proprietary meetings with personal devices people have in their pocket?
Tickerguy
Posts: 150706
Incept: 2007-06-26
A True American Patriot!
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I would have to assume it's constant. Were I running a company in today's environment there would be a lockbox at the conference room door into which all such devices would be placed; get caught with in one in any sort of meeting and you're fired.

There's absolutely no reason to believe that this is not taking place since NOBODY GOES TO JAIL for doing it. It's so blatant that companies, when caught, even try to bambooze JUDGES (witness Uber/Waymo) and intentionally withhold evidence, which is a CRIMINAL offense.

They literally do not care.

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Winding it down.
Sdumdum21
Posts: 4
Incept: 2015-03-09

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I would like to share a great description of Amazon that I'd like to take credit for, but I must attribute to the "hedgeless horseman" on ZeroHedge:

"Amazon, the go-fund-me site for Jeff Bezos' political blog known as, The Washington Post."

Goforbroke
Posts: 7153
Incept: 2007-11-30
A True American Patriot!
Time to feed the chickens.
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This is undoubtedly what prompted your ticker ...

https://www.cnbc.com/2017/11/29/amazon-a....

https://www.engadget.com/2017/11/30/amaz....

HAHAHA!

Quote:
Alexa could soon be coming to work with you. At Amazon's annual re:Invent conference, the company revealed its plans to make the voice-activated virtual assistant office-friendly with an Alexa for Business platform, which will come with specific skills for the workplace.

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Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our Light, and not our Darkness, that most frightens us. -- Marianne Williamson
Vernonb
Posts: 1927
Incept: 2009-06-03

East of Sheol
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"The stupid it burns.".... a quote from an exceptionally bright guy that sums this all up.

Isn't google working on something similar? I cringe when someone tells me they used google for patent searches. After enough entries I can usually figure out what's on the searcher's mind.

Also isn't Amazon now providing services to the intelligence community? Interesting how fast the Alexa business platform came after taking that services contract with ths government. Coincidence? Unlikely......

We can now centralize all domestic spying operations under an abusive little brother.

Beezlebezos be damned.


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"Mass intelligence does not mean intelligent masses."
Whitehat
Posts: 191
Incept: 2017-06-27

New York City
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When I was running my company, this would have been prevented by my rule set. Personal cellular telephones were not permitted, period. Everyone was welcome to forward all calls to the office when they were there in case of emergencies. Personal laptops were allowed on the open part of the network during breaks in the work cycle. If I issued some hardware such as a laptop, BS use excessively was frowned upon. My particular bane was AOL. Productivity was the issue.

I cannot begin to tell you how noticeable the losses in productivity are in the businesses that i frequent.

A few years ago NYC's public schools got the ****-4-brains idea to allow cell/smart phones in school. ****ing why? Their excuse was that the parents might need to reach them in an emergency. It was simple when I was a student; parent called the school.

For situations where you have employees that need smartphones, issue them locked down units for work only. The bring your own **** only invites them to do everything else other than work not to mention the obvious security risks.

IMO females are the worst offenders. It seems like five seconds cannot go by without some distraction. Funny how my companion was a corporate executive whose interruptions were mild and barely noticeable and for good reason given the responsibilities. When camera and smartphones were becoming big she seriously wanted to smash some people's faces.

Even see tradesmen breaking their work for this BS in their pockets. A friend with an auto body repair shop was wondering why things were taking longer than usual until i pointed it out to him. Accidents anyone? If you are a boss or supervisor, set some rules.

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There are two ways to be rich: One is by acquiring much, and the other is by desiring little.
Bagbalm
Posts: 5311
Incept: 2009-03-19

Just North of Detroit
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Not welcome in my home either.
Lobo
Posts: 407
Incept: 2013-12-25

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Mixing the this ticker with the previous one, I want a little box into which I can put my phone. The box would play the audio track from soap operas for the phone to send home to Big Brother. If I knew that there was an actual person on the other end, I'd play the Barney theme song non-stop for weeks. Sadly, you can't drive a computer insane.

Even without loading a bunch of questionable apps on the phone, are there any ways to determine what the OS itself might doing?

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Village Idiot
Tickerguy
Posts: 150706
Incept: 2007-06-26
A True American Patriot!
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Sometimes with work yes. If you can get root. Unfortunately of not you can discover that it is sending to someone, but not WHAT it is sending.

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Winding it down.
Pz
Posts: 1
Incept: 2017-12-01

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Companies like Amazon and Google pride themselves on their data collection, data mining, and "AI" (hate that term) capabilities. They also both run start up incubators and have access to huge amounts of capital. As soon as Alexas or what not started to get popular, it was evident that there may be more opportunity than just advertising.

Is if far fetched to think that they will use this network of listening devices and data mining to preempt ideas from other businesses? If not, what's to stop them from extending that to personal listening devices? Then why not market them to public and shared work spaces (the new thing) as well? Sure, they'll get a lot of noise, but they could just key off the words "idea", "copyright", "patent" or similar. And if an idea has merit, who is going to beat them to market?
Tickerguy
Posts: 150706
Incept: 2007-06-26
A True American Patriot!
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Exactly.

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Winding it down.
Whitehat
Posts: 191
Incept: 2017-06-27

New York City
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one thing, the best way for two people to keep a secret is if one of them is dead. ****ing with consumers is one thing, but if they are scavenging information from company offices with listening devices, this is industrial espionage. yes, they might get away with it for a while, but more than one person in their employ knows what is going on. You know the rest. once some employee gets terminated or otherwise frustrated, you know that his testimony will be offered to the highest bidder. there is no way that a program like this could be kept secret forever. this is both criminal and civil. do not see how they could capitalize on it since like anti-trust it is only the attempt that is illegal, not necessary to have resulting damages.

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There are two ways to be rich: One is by acquiring much, and the other is by desiring little.
Tickerguy
Posts: 150706
Incept: 2007-06-26
A True American Patriot!
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smiley

Cough-Uber-Cough-Cough-Cough

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Winding it down.
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