MIT: Future Smartphones Will ‘Listen to Everything All the Time’

Ubiquitous surveillance to “detect your moods,” “pinpoint the sources of your stress,” and “present relevant information”

Paul Joseph Watson
August 14, 2013

The development of new smartphone technology that constantly records your private conversations in addition to all ambient background noise in order to “detect your moods” could mean the NSA might not have to bother with tapping actual phone calls at all in future.

Image: Wikimedia Commons

report by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology hails the era of “technologies that emphasize listening to everything, all the time,” ubiquitous surveillance aided by microphones installed on new smartphones, such as Google’s Moto X, that do not run off the main battery and can, “continually monitor their auditory environment to detect the phone owner’s voice, discern what room or other setting the phone is in, or pick up other clues from background noise.”

While the article fails to mention the nightmare privacy implications that this technology would engender, it focuses on the innumerable apparent benefits. The technology could, “make it possible for software to detect your moods, know when you are talking and not to disturb you, and perhaps someday keep a running record of everything you hear.”

Not only would such technology prevent accidental pocket calls by recognizing muffled sounds, or put unnecessary calls on hold by recognizing the voice of its owner, It could also be used to “pinpoint the sources of your stress” if you are talking too quickly, or “present relevant information” in relation to your audio environment (in other words bombard you with commercials).

It sounds like Big Brother and invasive Minority Report-style advertising rolled into one.

Chris Schmandt, director of the speech and mobility group at MIT’s Media Lab, relates how “one of his grad students once recorded two years’ worth of all the sounds he was exposed to—capturing every conversation. While the speech-to-text conversions were rough, they were good enough that he could perform a keyword search and recover the actual recording of a months-old conversation.”

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Isn’t it enough that the NSA can already read every email we send, snoop on every private Facebook message and eavesdrop on every Skype call? Now we’re opening the door to government to have a transcript of our every private auditory interaction? None of this is even addressed in the MIT piece.

Only in the final paragraph of the article does it admit that “people skittish about surveillance” might have a problem with any of this.


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