New Patents: Google Wants to Monitor Everything You and Your Children Do at Home

Monday, November 26, 2018
By Paul Martin

by C. Mitchell Shaw
Monday, 26 November 2018

According to recently disclosed patents, Google is preparing to take “surveillance as a feature” to a whole new level, with devices in every room of users’ homes to watch, listen, and analyze users’ every word and action.

Promoting the new devices as a matter of convenience, as it has done with the Google Home speaker, the tech giant seems to expect that users will readily accept even more (and more detailed) surveillance for the promise of greater ease and convenience. The unevenness of that trade-off (something as precious as privacy for something as unimportant as convenience) is why this writer refers to such technology as “surveillance as a feature.”

While Google may have started out as a search engine and is still largely associated with that aspect of its business model, the reality is that Google’s main business (to which the search engine aspect is completely subservient) is data-mining and data analysis. Consider that the tech titan has amassed a net value of roughly $200 billion by offering “free” services, such as search, e-mail, calendar, and address book, along with YouTube and other services. That $200 billion has largely been made by gathering troves of personal data on its more than one billion users and leveraging that data into advertising revenues. The company also routinely filters and manipulates search results for the benefit of political candidates and policies favored by the company’s leaders.

The recently publicized patents reveal that the surveillance hawks at Google apparently don’t think enough is enough. In fact, those patents show that the new technology in Google’s offing blows past anything the company has done up to this point. The new technology includes the integration of cameras, microphones, and other sensors that would allow those devices to work together to monitor the comings and goings (using sensors on doors as well as cameras and microphones) of people in homes equipped (read: bugged) with the devices. The cameras and microphones would allow the devices and Google’s servers to recognize people and objects and analyze the significance of the presence of those people and objects. As PJ Media is reporting:

These patents tell us that Google is developing smart-home products that are capable of eavesdropping on us throughout our home in order to learn more about us and better target us with advertising. It goes much further than the current Google Home speaker that’s promoted to answer our questions and provide useful information, and the Google-owned Nest thermostat that measures environmental conditions in our home. What the patents describe are sensors and cameras mounted in every room to follow us and analyze what we’re doing throughout our home.

They describe how the cameras can even recognize the image of a movie star’s image on a resident’s t-shirt, connect it to the person’s browsing history, and send the person an ad for a new movie the star is in.

That degree of surveillance is far beyond anything found in the current state of “surveillance as a feature.”

The Rest…HERE

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