Patent filings by both companies — most of which are still under consideration — indicate that both tech giants want their smart home devices to listen more astutely to what happens in the home.
…A device could analyze speech patterns and pitch to identify that a child is present, sense movement while listening for whispers or silence, and give parents the option to program a smart speaker to “provide a verbal warning.
The filing gives the example that when children are near a liquor cabinet or are in their parents’ bedroom, the system may “infer that mischief is likely to be occurring…the system may report and/or record the findings for subsequent use,” and could then give the child a warning as a form of “deterrence.”
The patents also outline the possibility for monitoring the “emotional state” of the occupants of a home. For example, “crying may signify a sad emotional state, whereas laughing may signify a happy emotional state.” The document also discusses monitoring body temperature, audio signatures, and facial expressions.
…John M. Simpson, Consumer Watchdog’s privacy and technology project director [said] in a statement, “If these patents are implemented, there will be unparalleled surveillance of our private lives.”