1984: 30 years late, but almost here

As if the NSA wasn't enough, Google is going full Big Brother. (Warning: really annoying autoplay ads with loud, unmuteable audio at link)
News that Google Inc. may be developing a television set-top box with a motion sensor and video camera has rekindled the debate over technology that can record so-called ambient action.
Google isn't the only one. The new Microsoft Xbox will have a mandatory video camera and motion sensor with facial recognition and voice activation that automatically logs you in by recognizing your face when you give it a voice cue.

Think about that for a moment. In order to listen for the voice cue, the microphone in the device is online and active at all times. It would be trivial to program these devices to listen for other key words and reports those secretly.

These devices are the telescreens from Orwell's 1984, as close to literally as makes no difference:
"The telescreen recieved and transmitted simultaneously. Any sound Winston made, above the level of a very low whisper, would be picked up by it; moreover, so long as he remained within the field of vision which the metal plaque commanded, he could be seen as well as heard. There was of course no way of knowing whether you were being watched at any given moment. How often, or on what system, the Thought Police plugged in on any individual wire was guesswork. It was even conceivable that they watched everybody all the time. But at any rate they could plug in your wire whenever the wanted to. You had to live- did live, from habit that became instinct- in the assumption that every sound you made was overheard, and, except in darkness, every movement scrutinized.
Hey, Google! 1984 scenarios are evil, even if your friend Obama gets to be Big Brother! Don't be evil!

This entry was published Tue Jul 30 01:18:14 CDT 2013 by TriggerFinger and last updated 2013-07-30 01:18:14.0. [Tweet]

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