Amazon's use of facial recognition has sparked fears of an authoritarian future resembling that described by George Orwell. Privacy advocates and campaigners have said Amazon using facial recognition in its smart doorbells could provide the perfect tool for extreme surveillance. The campaigners called the technology'nightmarish' and'disturbing'. Amazon bought the US-based firm Ring earlier this year. The doorbell company has previously filed for a patent to use facial recognition in its products.
Ding-dong, your doorbell is looking a bit creepy. Ring video doorbells, Nest Hello and other connected security cameras are the fastest-growing home improvement gadgets since garage-door openers. These cameras, often built into buzzers, alert your phone when someone is at your door and save footage online. Mine has helped me get deliveries and catch porch pirates stealing packages. Earlier this month, one caught a man licking a family's doorbell for three hours.
It has been a terrible week for Apple. Not only did the tech company report its first decline in revenues and profits in more than a decade, but it was embroiled in an embarrassing privacy scandal. A much-discussed bug in its FaceTime app meant that, in certain circumstances, you could turn someone's iPhone into an all-seeing, all-hearing spying device. The glitch was a blow to Apple's reputation for security, and a reminder that our smartphones are essentially surveillance tools. Even if your apps aren't riddled with bugs or malware, your phone is probably transmitting more of your private information than you realise.
In the near future as envisioned by Amazon, little drones will sit on the shoulders of police officers like parrots on a pirate. The company earlier this month patented the design for a tiny drone that, according to the patent filing, would be useful for a range of everyday tasks, but perhaps particularly useful for law enforcement. The drones could record video which, according to the patent, means they could "replace" cameras on the dashboards of police vehicles. Officers could have the drone perform tasks they would otherwise have to by giving verbal commands at a traffic stop such as "check plate." In a chase, the officer could ask the drone to fly alongside him or her.