As if we needed another reason to squirm, it’s been revealed that Google has just applied for patents on devices that would place sensors and cameras in every room of your home. Why? To watch and analyze your every move, of course! EWW.
Some of you out there with the tape over your laptop cameras might be going, “Duh, dummy. I told you so,” but for the others of you who have welcomed smart home devices into your humble abodes, well, we’re telling you now. You probably won’t listen because even your toddler’s addicted to making demands of the Alexa and Siri, but better late than never?
So here’s the skinny:
Using the excuse of “all the better to send you targeted ads, my dear” Google has filed a patent that would allow the company to mount sensors and cameras in our homes which would be attached to smart devices we already use.
The patent states that Google can “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.”
For example, if you’re wandering around your house wearing a Game of Thrones t-shirt, the sensors could capture this image and report it back to Google who would then start sending you targeted ads for the upcoming final season.
No, Google isn’t reading your mind, they’re reading your shirt because they can see you and now they know you’re amped to see who wins and more susceptible to ads.
If this doesn’t creep you out, it should because it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Google can also hear you – your conversations of an intimate nature, your crying jags, your fits of laughter. All of it. And what do they do with it? They sell your information to the highest bidder.
What’s more, the information they gather is for Google to use however they see fit and if you’re wondering “how the hell is this legal?” wonder no further, it is. There are no laws keeping them from peeping.
And just how are they planning on doing this, you ask? Well, the patent was awarded to the development team associated with Nest thermostats. So, maybe you want to rethink that smart thermostat and cool and heat your house the old-fashioned way.
Look, we’ve already given up our privacy. Facebook and Instagram track our every move, Alexa is listening to us, and way too many people in tech have tape over their laptop cameras for us to be surprised by this overture. As sure as winter, it was coming.
However, we may balk and say, “Well, this is a bridge too far!” and it is, but it’s too late. We did this to ourselves when we unwittingly invited them into our homes. Did you really think these corporations had your best interests in mind?
Remember, if the product is free, you are the product.