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Fear the Eavesdroppers

No, not the NSA:

The first thing that came out of our mouths when we heard that Google is working on a system that listens to what’s on your TV playing in the background, and then serves you relevant adverts, was “that’s cool, but dangerous”.

The idea appeared in Technology Review citing Peter Norvig, director of research at Google, who says these ideas will show up eventually in real Google products – sooner rather than later.

The idea is to use the existing PC microphone to listen to whatever is heard in the background, be it music, your phone going off or the TV turned down.

The PC then identifies it, using fingerprinting, and then shows you relevant content, whether that’s adverts or search results, or a chat room on the subject.

The chance that someone in the government might unintentional hear your call to grandma is almost zero; the probability that Google will actually and intentionally listen in to the noise emanating from your home: .9. You decide who is ‘doing no evil.’

Michael Tanji

Michael Tanji

Michael Tanji spent nearly 20 years in the US intelligence community. Trained in both SIGINT and HUMINT disciplines he has worked at the Defense Intelligence Agency, the National Security Agency, and the National Reconnaissance Office. At various points in his career he served as an expert in information warfare, computer network operations, computer forensics, and indications and warning. A veteran of the US Army, Michael has served in both strategic and tactical assignments in the Pacific Theater, the Balkans, and the Middle East.