Workers not paid legally by Amazon contractor in China

US tech giant admits audit of Foxconn factory in Hengyang found irregularitiesAmazon has admitted that thousands of agency workers who make its Echo smart speakers and Kindles in China were hired and paid illegally.The US giant issued a statement regretting “issues of concern” following an investigation by the Observer and the US-based China Labor Watch into the “unethical and illegal” working conditions at its supplier factory in Hengyang. Related: Underpaid and exhausted: the human cost of your Kindle Continue reading

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UK homes vulnerable to 'staggering' level of corporate surveillance

Smart home appliances send data to manufacturers and third parties, Which? warnsBritish homes are vulnerable to “a staggering level of a corporate surveillance” through common internet-enabled devices, an investigation has found.Researchers found that a range of connected appliances – increasingly popular features of the so-called smart home – send data to their manufacturers and third-party companies, in some cases failing to keep the information secure. One Samsung smart TV connected to more than 700 distinct internet addresses in 15 minutes

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Amazon Echo helps push digital radio audience past FM

Smart speakers influence debate about switching off analogue signal in UKThe popularity of Amazon’s Echo smart speakers has helped push the audience for digital radio past that of FM and AM in the UK for the first time. The milestone, which was reached in the first quarter of this year, could prompt the government to launch a review to evaluate whether it should switch off the FM signal.Digital, which covers listening via digital audio broadcasting (DAB) sets in homes and cars, televisions and through services such as Echo, hit a record share of 50

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From solar-powered shirts to drunken droids: what the smarthome will look like

Can a robot fold towels? Could your toaster turn against you? And will Amazon know when you’re hungry and drone-deliver a Chinese takeaway directly to your mouth? Find out as we step into the home of the futureIf the invention of the ship was also the invention of the shipwreck, as the French philosopher Paul Virilio suggested, then what does that make the invention of the Nest learning thermostat? As our homes fill up with more connected devices, funnelling every aspect of our lives into the great cloud of big data, the answer could be something much more alarming than just a few more faulty appliances cluttering up our cupboards.This is one of the unsettling questions at the heart of The Future Starts Here, an exhibition about to open at the V&A in London. It promises to be less of a showcase of Tomorrow’s World-type gadgetry than a thought-provoking probe into where exactly this new generation of smart technology is taking us

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Xiaomi to sell smartphones in UK through Three

‘China’s Apple’ turns focus to west and is set to raise $10bn on Hong Kong stock exchangeThe Smartphone maker Xiaomi will begin selling its smartphones in the UK under a partnership with Hutchinson’s Three as “China’s Apple” turns its attention to the west.The news came as the firm announced its IPO on the Hong Kong stock exchange seeking to raise at least $10bn (£7.3bn), in what could be the largest offering since Chinese e-commerce conglomerate Alibaba’s $25bn listing in New York in 2014

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Amazon now delivers packages straight to car boots

Latest in Amazon Key programme sees newer Volvos and General Motors vehicles become lockboxes for Prime membersAmazon has begun offering deliveries direct to car boots for members of its Prime subscription service.The new Amazon Key In-Car service is available in 37 US cities for owners of 2015 or newer Volvo or General Motors vehicles, including Chevrolet, Buick, GMC or Cadillac brands. The cars require GM’s OnStar or Volvo’s On Call connectivity services

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Ring: Amazon aids smart home push by closing video-doorbell firm deal

Retailer celebrates by slashing prices on smart doorbells, while deal includes transfer of customer data to companyAmazon’s reported $1bn acquisition of video-doorbell maker Ring has closed, giving the company a significant lead over rival Google in the potentially lucrative home security market.The deal, announced in February and closed today, means Amazon now owns a leader in DIY video security systems. Ring makes popular wireless doorbells with cameras and a range of home security cameras, recently launching a wireless home security system with keypads, contact sensors and motion detectors

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We need to build a new social contract for the digital age | Kevin Keith

We are conditioned to view data as a threat, but it can be the opposite, if all parties understand the deal into which they are entering “Raise your hands if you trust Facebook, if you trust Google, if you trust government.” It was spring 2017, and I was leading a debate with young people in Canberra. “Has anybody heard of Cambridge Analytica?” Heads shook

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Beware the smart toaster: 18 tips for surviving the surveillance age

We’ve come a long way since the web was just a fun place to share cat gifs – now it’s a place mostly dedicated to finding and selling your personal info. Here’s what you need to know in this new eraOn the internet, the adage goes, nobody knows you’re a dog. That joke is only 15 years old, but seems as if it is from an entirely different era

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