by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Patents recently issued to Google provide a window into their development activities. While it’s no guarantee of a future product, it is a sure indication of what’s of interest to them. What we’ve given up in privacy to Google, Facebook, and others thus far is minuscule compared to what is coming if these companies get their way.
These patents tell us that Google is developing smart-home products that are capable of eavesdropping on us throughout our home in order to learn more about us and better target us with advertising. It goes much further than the current Google Home speaker that’s promoted to answer our questions and provide useful information, and the Google-owned Nest thermostat that measures environmental conditions in our home. What the patents describe are sensors and cameras mounted in every room to follow us and analyze what we’re doing throughout our home.
They describe how the cameras can even recognize the image of a movie star’s image on a resident’s t-shirt, connect it to the person’s browsing history, and send the person an ad for a new movie the star is in.
One patent, No. 10,114,351, reads, “According to embodiments of this disclosure, a smart-home environment may be provided with smart-device environment policies that use smart-devices to monitor activities within a smart-device environment, report on these activities, and/or provide smart-device control based upon these activities.”
So clearly they want to monitor us and report back what we are doing.