One of the leading cause of concerns in this age of the internet is private social media platforms like Facebook, Google Plus, etc. who have been accused of leaking user data, and infringing the privacy of its users in the last few years. If companies spying on users on internet wasn’t enough, we have got more in real life as well. Today, Walmart was granted a patent for a new listening system for its retail stores, as the Verge reports.
Getting eavesdropped while shopping? – The Questionable Patent
The filing claims it’s “an example system for capturing and analyzing sounds in a shopping facility“. Everything up to this point feels like a simple security system. A technology which will help in preventing theft and human error in some cases. But, things turn out to be a bit, or rather, a lot creepier. The patent further adds that “Additionally, the sound sensors can capture audio of conversations between guests and an employee stationed at the terminal.The system can process the audio of the conversation to determine whether the employee stationed at the terminal is greeting guests.” In simpler terms, Walmart wants to eavesdrop its buyers and employees.
Although The surveillance aspect of the technology isn’t something new. What raises question is the technology’s motive to eavesdrop buyers and shoppers. The patent means Walmart will be able to listen to each and every conversation of the people present in the store, be it with each other or over the call. While some might say that eavesdropping at a retail shop isn’t something much cause of a concern, it still doesn’t change the fact that it’s a pretty significant breach into one’s privacy.