Amazon’s New Patent Unveils A “Voice Sniffer” Algorithm

Thursday, April 5, 2018
By Paul Martin

by Tyler Durden
Thu, 04/05/2018

Seemingly undeterred by the recent outrage over tech giants’ abusing their access to personal privacy, a recent patent filed by Amazon with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO) has unveiled a new artificial intelligence system that could be embedded in an array of Amazon devices to analyze all audio in real time for specific words.

Amazon calls the technology “Keyword Determinations From Conversational Data,” otherwise known as a ‘voice sniffer algorithm,’ and this could be the next giant leap towards expanding mass home surveillance of consumers’ private lives.

This pending patent application shows how Amazon could use consumers’ home data collected and stored on servers “to draw disturbing inferences about households, and how the company might use that data for financial gain,” said the Consumer Watchdog, a nonprofit advocacy group in Santa Monica, Calif.

“The more words they collect, the more the company gets to know you,” Daniel Burrus, a tech analyst with Burrus Research Associates, Inc., told ABC News. “They are building a personality profile on the user.”

Currently, Amazon devices operate in a “listening” mode only and can be activated via user commands, such as “Alexa” or “Hello Alexa.” As far as we know, Amazon devices do not record conversations, as they only listen to commands after the user initiates a trigger word.

However, within the foreseeable future, Amazon devices could record all conversations — even without a trigger word to wake up the device, along with creating a corporate profile of the end user for “commercial purposes.”

Always on, Always listening.

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