Google is announcing a new service - Google Voice. Apart from the automatic transcripts of voicemail, call filtering and other user benefits, the service will give Google access to enormous amounts of information about your life - including recordings of your voice mail.
Of course, the Google creed is - Do no evil! But let's dig deeper into what Google will get their hands on:
- Records of voice mail calls, with automatic transcription - Google will have the voice AND a searchable text of your messages, possibly even your calls at some point
- Voice imprints of all the people who called you - and they can match those imprints to a source phone number.
- FULL listing of your incoming call list - since Google Voice is a service integrated with Grand Central (Google Number) which creates one single number and when the caller rings that number, you can select up to 6 phones to ring simultaneously.
I have no objection to the efforts of Google to make a profit - especially since they offer a free service for this.
But the amount of information that is going to be collected in this way will soon rival a system popularly known as ECHELON - a highly secretive grid of US and UK government datacenters and communication hubs used to intercept, process and analyze electronic communications.
So instead of having to spend billions of dollars to set-up and operate huge datacenters and hundreds of employees, the NSA, FBI, CIA and all other 3-4 letter agencies will just use USA PATRIOT Act or something similar to 'ask' Google for access to all recorded.
And it's not only the government that will try to get their hands on such info. I suspect that Google Voice will become a target of all kinds of hacker groups, intelligence agencies and generally anyone trying to extract possibly useful info from the archived data.
So next time you are phoning someone, first thing you do is ask the person on the other side - are you on Google?
Talkback and comments are most welcome
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