Along the way, various and sundry entities are watching you– tracking you, following you, and adding information they gather from your online activities to their personal database which probably knows more about you than you know about you. What about Apple?
Apple could pay as much attention to you and your online activities as Google and Facebook, easily the worst offenders (both of which deserve to be broken up and regulated by the government), but the iPhone maker’s business model does not require personal tracking, stalking, or database data that tracks back to you.
Yet, Apple still knows who we are and has implemented a couple of technology functions that could make our devices even more personal. What? Who?
Siri. Face ID.
For now, Siri doesn’t know your voice from your partner’s voice from a ventriloquist, but thanks to Apple’s purchase of Shazam, that could change. Siri could gain the ability to differentiate your voice from other voices. That could eliminate someone else from using your iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Watch because Siri would know your voice and respond accordingly.
Sounds good, right? Just so long as the Siri that knows us also knows better than to tell Apple what we’re up to.
What about Face ID?
Apple seems all in on Face ID and it works much the same way as Touch ID, whereby all your personal data– what amounts to a digital version of your face– remains on the device. Face ID knows who you are and, thanks to Apple Patent #10,162,578 Face ID will not only know who you are but also know if you’re paying attention. Think of it this way:
Siri (your iPhone’s persona) could know what you’re looking at on the iPhone, Mac, or iPad screen, and respond accordingly. So, if you’re paying attention to the screen, you can get a pop up notification message. If you’re not paying attention, then there’s no need for a pop up notice.
Apple explains the geekiness this way in the patent application:
Such a display event may be executed as soon as possible after its generation. However, a gaze detection device can obtain information that indicates a user is not looking at the typed word on the display. In such a situation, it may be more intuitive to delay the execution of the display event until the gaze information indicates that the user is looking at the typed word.
Now, that kind of technology brings up all kinds of future scenarios. For example, not only can Siri (your iPhone’s persona) detect your face and recognize your voice, but can also determine how you feel by matching your facial expression to a database of sad, happy, unhappy, perturbed, angry, and so on.
Not only will your Apple device know who you are and what you’re doing on each device, but be able to interact based upon your facial expression as well as what you were doing.
Cool, right? Except for that part about Apple watching us while we work and play. That could be the most personal of personal privacy violations and something even Google and Facebook are not doing. They’re not doing that, right?