Recent patents filed by Google reveal plans to monitor our moods, movements, even our children's behavior at home. They describe sensors and cameras mounted in every room to follow us and analyze what we’re doing throughout our home.
Dr. Robert Epstein, senior research psychologist at the American Institute for Behavioral Research and Technology, has been studying Google's algorithm, and says it's already been proven the company's home assistant listens to our every move.
“Even if you haven't given the wake up call which is 'Hey Google' or you're shouting out to Alexa, even without the wake up call they are constantly transmitting data,” he says.
It goes beyond steering users to certain products by manipulating ads on their devices. The goal says Epstein, is to develop digital models of consumers.
“Those models are being used to predict moment-by-moment in time what we're going to be doing, saying and feeling,” he says. “The better they can do that the more easily they can get us to do, say and feel what they want us to do, say and feel.”
Privacy advocates are sounding the alarm.
“When you have these platforms determining the information we get, it can lead to monopolization, privacy issues and lots of other consumer harm,” says Christine Bannan, consumer protection counsel for the Electronic Privacy Information Center.