Google Patents Background Noise: No Privacy!By: Shawn Hess - March 21, 2012
High-tech device users beware! Google has just patented the technology to filter sound, humidity, temperature, and various other factors from sensors on our devices to analyze and send us more relevant advertising. Google says it will respect our privacy with the new technology, but I think we should evaluate what is truly implied with these patents.
Number one, this confirms it is possible to detect a lot more about our environment via a cellphone conversation that just GPS coordinates. Second, someone is already experimenting with recording and using this data. Third, you can’t analyze background noise without taking note of the foreground noise, otherwise known as our cellphone conversations. Take a look at this diagram from their patent:
So essentially the patent office has given Google the green flag on technology that invades our privacy in one of the most fundamental ways. I don’t think a promise from a large corporation like Google is enough to set my mind at ease that they aren’t eavesdropping on my personal conversations. What gives them the right to invade people’s privacy in this way.
I guess we’re back to the same old argument, ‘how much is too much?’. Are targeted ads really worth giving a corporate giant access to your personal conversations? I don’t think so. Let’s see what others had to say: