A number of years ago some of our kids purchased a black box that sat atop their game system. It was connected to the internet and had a camera built in. And it did magical things. Like watching for your movements and translating them into commands. You could actually wave at it and when you placed your hand on a menu item, it would be activated. And you could play tennis by standing there and swinging your arm to hit the ball on the screen. Or walk somewhere. Or run on the screen by running in place right where you were. All pretty amazing actually.
At that point I began to tell my family that somebody was watching them. I said that there was somebody in a different country that could watch what was happening right there in our TV room whenever they wanted to. And they could listen to our conversations if they chose to. When they eventually got rid of that black box, I said that there was a camera hidden somewhere in our television and all the same stuff was possible. And they all laughed at me and said I was nuts.
Well maybe not.
Several recent articles have revealed some pretty interesting things. Here are a few excerpts from the links below.
From Samsung: "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 your use of Voice Recognition."
Or this. "...there shouldn't be too much cause for concern when it comes to voice recognition services right now."
Did you see that? So I shouldn't be concerned right now. Perhaps later, then? Well, how much later??
"Google fans can use Google Now's voice recognition to get information on nearby restaurants, movie times, flight arrivals and a ton more. But the company stores voice requests as a part of an effort to make the platform better."
And there is now even a thermostat that listens to you: It "..appears to take "listening" a step further by offering up details about your habits to brands that might want to later target you with ads."
While I have to assume that these companies are actually not eavesdropping or invading my privacy, it is just a little disconcerting that the capability is really there that would enable them to do so if they chose.
Here are the links I referred to above.