Facebook has at least two technologies to listen to its users
Recent rumors that Facebook is preparing its “smart voice assistant,” competitor Amazon Echo and Google Home, gave rise to legitimate fear. And will not social networks spy on users and in the real world to influence their lives on the Internet? Facebook’s vice-president for advertising Rob Goldman said that the company “has never done this and does not plan to do in the future.”
Meanwhile, the technology itself for acoustic espionage and analysis of what a person is doing outside the Internet is at Facebook’s disposal. As early as 2015, the company filed a patent application for a system that creates an “acoustic imprint,” comparing sound vibrations of the environment and electrical signals in HDMI cables. Roughly speaking, if you decide to watch the video on your big screen, then the robot Facebook will be able to find out which one, even without direct access to the player or files.
Another patent application directly describes the technology of recording short fragments of sounds from the environment for subsequent analysis to understand what the user is watching on TV. To do this, the air is constantly scanned to determine the moment when the television is turned on, after which the microphone of the computer or smartphone starts recording high-frequency signals-markers from TV shows and advertisements. Data comes to the server, where they turn into bricks of the user’s personal profile , a description of his interests and needs.
In either case, there is no question of direct eavesdropping of the person, so that top managers do not shame the soul when they deny the accusations. But what makes these technologies different from classic “spyware” is not easy to understand. Yes, it can be recalled that all large companies are assembling technologies “in reserve” to avoid conflicts with patent trolls. And which of them will actually be used for commercial purposes, usually no one knows, including the developers themselves .