Being Watched by TV
Back in 2011 I posted a blog Big Brother is Finally Here -- I wasn’t sure that bringing a voice recognition, body recognition, always-on system that is hooked up to the Internet was a good idea.
But convenience trumps privacy and no one seems to care much that this technology is getting more invasive all the time. To be honest I don’t really care that much either -- I’ve said, “Okay Google” to my phone and had it look for things. The fact I can just say “Okay Google” without pushing any buttons means, like a good butler, it’s quietly listening for my commands in the corner… and it hears everything.
So we have Xbox, your phone, and now it turns out your Samsung TV is recording your conversations and transmitting them to a server for processing by a third party. When called out on the fact your private conversations aren’t private, Samsung just added this to their privacy statement
Please be aware that if your spoken words include personal or other sensitive information, that information will be among the data captured and transmitted to a third party through use of Voice Recognition.
… and they don't say who the third party is.
This is disturbing on a lot of levels…
Now here’s the thing… I like the interconnectedness of things. I like the superpowers technology gives us. But, to quote the wise words of Stan Lee, with great power comes great responsibility.
As long as no one ever uses my private words against me, just like as long as they don’t use my Google searches or my rambling phone conversations with my brother about What’s Wrong With This Country, then we’re fine.
Or are we? Because the gestalt of data can be even more powerful. Remember our TVs and phones are the things that not only entertain us but provide us with the information that we base our decisions on.
Say we collect all your conversations and all of everything everyone is talking about and put it into a giant text algorithm. And say we have an agenda, maybe to sell more stuff, maybe something more sinister. And say we control your information source.
Now we know your opinions, we know the direction of thought. And we know what is informing that thought. And we can make it harder to get some information and easier to get some other information (by opposing Net neutrality for example).
I’m not suggesting this is happening, certainly not as consciously as some sinister room of men in suits. But when you have access to what people are thinking, and you control what they see…. It’s a pretty scary thought.
Ok Google. Post my blog.