Google Ups the Ante On Home Surveillance

Google is presently working on ways to expand its smart home system to keep tabs on the behavior, moods, and movements of every individual occupying a residence that uses their system, including their Nest products.  Security experts have raised red flags for years that the development of such systems from Google and others, touted as simplifying our lives, would eventually turn into mission creep to unleash intrusive spying into our lives. Ultimately, the information acquired about who we are, what we are doing at any given time and at any given place in our homes, as well as our opinions on or interest in any given issue could potentially be used to sell us out to the highest bidder. Those bidders could include a domestic government agency, advertiser, foreign government, or a company we do business with or own stock in when we consider Google has been in bed with the NSA and China.

According to the US Patent and Trademark Office, Google was recently given some interesting patents. As if recording voices and documenting questions on Google Home and controlling home temperatures with Nest wasn’t enough, the patents reveal potential development of cameras for every room that can recall Google browsing history, get an image of a person’s t-shirt of their favorite band seen in their laundry, then send an ad with concert dates or news articles to their Gmail about the band. The potential audio capabilities Google would embed in their products could monitor if and how a person is moving in their chair, if they are typing on a keyboard, a person’s mood based on the inflections, tone, and volume of their voice, how they prepare their meals and what time they usually eat based on refrigerator, utensil, microwave, and stove noises, and a whole host of other activities done in the home–intimate and otherwise.

Why should we care about any of this? Isn’t privacy really dead anyway? For any of us who are believers in Christ, we should care a great deal about privacy since it’s a tool that the Lord warned us several times would be to our benefit in the end times to preserve our lives, among other things. Think about it. If you were part of a home church gathering where you wanted to freely express your beliefs, would you want Google selling you out in some way over those beliefs? For example, what if your local government or homeowner’s association implemented ordinances against such meetings, then Google found out you were violating that ordinance?

There are just times when it’s best not to let others know what our plans or thoughts are. That’s why Nehemiah kept his plans for Jerusalem under wraps until the proper time when he left the Medo-Persian headquarters to rebuild Jerusalem’s walls. It’s part of the reason why Jesus told us in Matthew 6 that at certain times when we give for God’s glory or pray, we should keep things secret. Jesus warned us that in the last days people (including family) would look for opportunities to betray believers in Christ (Matthew 24:10; Mark 13:12; Luke 21:16) and would increase surveillance as a means to control people for nefarious purposes (Revelation 13:12-17), so why would anyone want to make themselves an easy target? Some things were just meant to be private, which is why the courts recognize spousal privilege, attorney-client privilege, and doctor-patient privilege in nations that uphold human rights.

Sources:

Phil Baker, Google Reveals Plans to Monitor Our Moods, Our Movements, and Our Children’s Behavior at Home, PJMedia.com, November 24, 2018.

Roger L. Simon, China, the NSA, Google, and the War on Freedom, PJMedia.com, November 24, 2018. 

(Featured image above of Google Home device found at tctechcrunch and used under Creative Commons license.)

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