Categories: Gadgets

The patents of Amazon and Google with which they could spy you 24/7 even in your house

The patents of Amazon and Google with which they could spy you 24/7 even in your house

The Privacy It is an issue that concerns us all. Fortunately or unfortunately, the recent scandals relating to Facebook and Cambridge Analytica have made the users pay more attention to everything related to your data and personal information , but that does not mean that technology does not follow its course, increasing its penetration in our lives. The goal, in addition to facilitating the simplest daily tasks, is to obtain data about us with the ultimate goal of use them to show us hyper-directed advertising . It is in this line that the last patents that Amazon and Google want move. And eye, because they have crumbs.

The patents suggest that some devices such as Google Home and Amazon Echo are able to know everything about the user . And when I say everything, I say everything, from the mood of the person to their medical problems, as they say in the New York Times.

Why do you want to know when you cough and sneeze?

The patents of Amazon and Google with which they could spy you 24/7 even in your house

The patents of Amazon and Google with which they could spy you 24/7 even in your house

Why does a company like Google want this type of data? To show advertising , of course. According to the source, the speakers of Amazon and Google could listen -and interpret- he “Volume of the user’s voice, the detected breathing frequency and even the crying” , in addition to coughing and sneezing.

The Times article has made so much noise that Google had to respond , stating that he does not use “Raw audio to extrapolate moods, medical conditions or demographic information” . At the same time, the signature of the Great G says what “All devices that come with Google Assistant, including Google Home, are designed with the user’s privacy in mind.”

Nevertheless, Jamie Court, president of Consumer Watchdog (a non-profit organization that looks after the interests of consumers), states that, “When you read the content of the applications [of the patents], it is very clear that it is a spy program and a surveillance system designed to show ads […] Basically, they will discover how our home life is qualitatively” . This affirmation gains strength if we take into account the Increasing implementation of these speakers in the homes of users . This is so 22% of Americans use one of them.

The same patent applications reveal a device that could “Recognize a shirt on the floor of the user’s room” . This would allow companies like Google recognize the object , compare it with the user’s search history and show you advertising about the product . Imagine a shirt with Darth Vader’s face. The system would recognize the face of the bad Star Wars and be responsible for showing you an ad about Star Wars movies on DVD the next time you enter Google.

Amazon does not fall short either

The patents of Amazon and Google with which they could spy you 24/7 even in your house

The patents of Amazon and Google with which they could spy you 24/7 even in your house

For its part, the Bezos company has filed a patent that can be interpreted as a ‘Sniffing algorithm * of voice’ . This algorithm could be used on several devices at the same time to analyze the audio captured by the smart speakers and more devices and process it in real time. To give you an idea of ​​what this means, imagine that you have an Amazon Echo in your room and, when talking on the phone with a friend, you say “I love the new [insert smartphone model], I want to buy it!” . The speaker would process words like “Love” , the model of the smartphone in question and “to buy” , and I would use them to show you recommended products when you enter the famous online store.

Amazon, of course, has not shut up either and he has defended himself in a statement . In it they affirm that they take “Privacy very seriously” and that “They do not use customer voice recordings to show targeted advertising” . As well confirm that they presented “Several prospective patent applications that explore all the possibilities of the new technology” and that “It will take several years to receive and do not necessarily reflect the current developments of products and services” .

These words collide head-on with the study conducted by Consumer Watchdog , who claim that “Digital assistants can be” awake “even when users think they are not listening” , as exposed in the Daily Mail. In the words of John Simpson , director of projects of privacy and technology of the non-profit organization:

Executives from Google and Amazon want you to think that Google Home and Amazon Echo are there to help you with the sound of your voice {…} However, they try to sniff at you and your family in your home, and gather as much information about your activities as possible […] You may find them useful sometimes, but think about what you are revealing about yourself and your family, and about how that information could be used in the future […] Instead of charging you for these surveillance devices , Google and Amazon should pay you to bring one to your home.

Finally, it should be noted that companies have thousands of patents that they do not use and that they may never use . That Google and Amazon have requested these patents do not mean that they will be introduced in a short / medium term, so, for now, and as far as possible, you can be “quiet”.

* Sniffer: computer program that records the information and activity performed on a specific device.

Sources : New York Times , Daily Mail , Patent 1 , Patent 2

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