Motherboard: Amazon Shuts Down NSO Group Infrastructure

Motherboard: Amazon Shuts Down NSO Group Infrastructure. “Amazon Web Services (AWS) has shut down infrastructure and accounts linked to Israeli surveillance vendor NSO Group, Amazon said in a statement. The move comes as a group of media outlets and activist organizations published new research into NSO’s malware and phone numbers potentially selected for targeting by NSO’s government clients.”

TechCrunch: Amazon aims to inject new life into Alexa with release of developer tools and features

TechCrunch: Amazon aims to inject new life into Alexa with release of developer tools and features. “Amazon is giving its Alexa voice platform a shot in the arm after seeing further declines in skill growth over the past year, indicating lagging interest from third-party voice app developers. At the company’s Alexa Live developer event today, the company announced a slew of new features and tools for the developer community — its largest release of new tools to date, in fact. Among the new releases are those to encourage Alexa device owners to discover and engage with Alexa skills, new tools for making money from skills and other updates that will push customers to again make Alexa more a part of their daily routines.”

CNET: How fake reviews flood Amazon, fueled by Facebook groups like this one

CNET: How fake reviews flood Amazon, fueled by Facebook groups like this one. “Valerie Zhong, the administrator of the Club Ki-Fair group on Facebook, made a simple commitment: Join her group and get free samples of household products. The generous offer promised to put hair care products, nail polishes and coffee makers into the hands of members. There was, of course, a catch. Club members had to buy the products and write a review for Amazon, where they were sold. Then, the purchases would be refunded.”

Make Tech Easier: New Alexa Skill, Reading Sidekick, Helps Kids Learn to Read

Make Tech Easier: New Alexa Skill, Reading Sidekick, Helps Kids Learn to Read. “If there’s one thing parents wish they had more of, it would be time – time for themselves, time for their children, etc. They can get a little more of that time back with Reading Sidekick, an Alexa skill that reads with children. Parents can entrust Alexa with the task or sit with their children as they learn.”

Fired by bot at Amazon: ‘It’s you against the machine’ (Bloomberg)

Bloomberg: Fired by bot at Amazon: ‘It’s you against the machine’. “Bloomberg interviewed 15 Flex drivers, including four who say they were wrongly terminated, as well as former Amazon managers who say the largely automated system is insufficiently attuned to the real-world challenges drivers face every day. Amazon knew delegating work to machines would lead to mistakes and damaging headlines, these former managers said, but decided it was cheaper to trust the algorithms than pay people to investigate mistaken firings so long as the drivers could be replaced easily.”

The Verge: Ring will require video requests to be public in Neighbors app starting next week

The Verge: Ring will require video requests to be public in Neighbors app starting next week. “Ring is adjusting how public agencies such as police and fire departments are able to request video clips from Ring camera owners in its Neighbors app. Starting next week, agencies will only be able to request clips be sent to them through public posts that are viewable in the app’s main feed; they will no longer be able to send individuals specific requests for clips.”

Reuters: Market power of Siri, Alexa, Google a concern, EU regulators say

Reuters: Market power of Siri, Alexa, Google a concern, EU regulators say. “The market dominance of Amazon’s Alexa, Apple’s Siri and Alphabet’s Google Assistant has triggered concerns of potential anti-competitive practices, EU antitrust regulators said on Wednesday. The comments from the European Commission come after a year-long inquiry into voice assistants and other internet-connected devices and responses from more than 200 companies.”

PC Magazine: What Is Amazon Sidewalk and How Do You Disable It?

PC Magazine: What Is Amazon Sidewalk and How Do You Disable It?. “When the Sidewalk Bridges(s) in your house are active, wireless signals that reach outside your home to the sidewalk and beyond will allow any passing Sidewalk-enabled device (called a Sidewalk Endpoint) to instantly connect. Sidewalk will also help set up new Amazon products on your home Wi-Fi. You’re not going to use Amazon Sidewalk to sidle up to the neighbor’s house, access their Wi-Fi on your laptop, and use their ISP bandwidth to watch Netflix. But your Echo devices and your neighbors can co-mingle, forming a low-energy, long-range mesh network over the whole area.”

Publishers Weekly: Amazon Publishing, DPLA Ink Deal to Lend E-books in Libraries

(Hello to YourBasicGeek) Publishers Weekly: Amazon Publishing, DPLA Ink Deal to Lend E-books in Libraries. “The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) today announced that it has signed a much-anticipated agreement with Amazon Publishing to make all of the roughly 10,000 Amazon Publishing e-books and digital audiobooks available to libraries, the first time that digital content from Amazon Publishing will be made available to libraries.”