Voice RT: Perhaps the Biggest Threat Yet to Privacy

Ava Kofman wrote an interesting yet terrifying piece in The Intercept about Voice RT. You’ve probably never heard of Voice RT before because it’s been one of those things the U.S. Government does in secret; in this case, it was developing technology that can positively identify someone by the sound of their voice. Your telephone conversations are already being recorded. Now they are being de-anonymized.

The technology works by analyzing the physical and behavioral features that make each person’s voice distinctive, such as the pitch, shape of the mouth, and length of the larynx. An algorithm then creates a dynamic computer model of the individual’s vocal characteristics. This is what’s popularly referred to as a “voiceprint.” The entire process — capturing a few spoken words, turning those words into a voiceprint, and comparing that representation to other “voiceprints” already stored in the database — can happen almost instantaneously. Although the NSA is known to rely on finger and face prints to identify targets, voiceprints, according to a 2008 agency document, are “where NSA reigns supreme.”

Ava Kofman’s article may be found in The Intercept web site at: https://theintercept.com/2018/01/19/voice-recognition-technology-nsa/.

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