Google Chromium Unauthorized Audio Spying Capabilities Raises Privacy Concerns

By on June 25, 2015

Google is being accused of covertly installing its “black box” Chromium software as part of Google’s Chrome browser on computers without user authorization.  The software can purportedly listen in on conversations in front of affected computers.

“Without consent, Google’s code had downloaded a black box of code that – according to itself – had turned on the microphone and was actively listening to your room,” said Rick Falkvinge, the Pirate party founder, in a blog post.  “Which means that your computer had been stealth configured to send what was being said in your room to somebody else, to a private company in another country, without your consent or knowledge, an audio transmission triggered by … an unknown and unverifiable set of conditions.”

Google claims that the software is only activated if you opt in and also accuses Linux distribution Debian for automatically downloading the non-open source component with Chromium.  “The key here is that Chromium is not a Google product.  We do not directly distribute it, or make any guarantees with respect to compliance with various open source policies,” Google developer mgiuca said.

Pirate Party Founder Rick Falkvinge disagrees.  “The default install will still wiretap your room without your consent, unless you opt out, and more importantly, know that you need to opt out, which is nowhere a reasonable requirement.”  He says a hardware switch to disable the microphone and camera built into most computers is needed.

If you would like additional information on Google’s Chromium or other news, please click the green button below and fill out the form.