Prisons across the United States are reportedly building biometric databases that include voice recordings of incarcerated people, according to The Intercept. The report cites contracting documents for the state of New York's prison system, as well as statements from officials in Texas, Florida, Arkansas and Arizona confirming that prisons are actively using voice recognition technology that can extract and digitize voices to create unique and identifiable biometric signatures known as voice prints. According to the prisons, the systems are being used to improve security in the facilities and to combat fraud. Prisons can use the biometric identifier to track phone calls and find past communications that match the voice print of a particular person. The systems can also flag calls deemed to be suspicious to allow investigators to review the communications.
Over three-quarters of consumers in the U.S. have used voice commands to operate a digital device, indicating a comfort with voice-activated services -- but adoption of digital home assistants is still comparatively low, with only 11 percent of consumers saying they own an Amazon Echo/Dot or Google Home, according to new research from GfK. Put simply, people are used to the idea that they can command a device with their voice: 69 percent have used speech to send a text, ask a question, or make a search on a smartphone. But with digital home assistants like Amazon Echo and Google Home introduced less than two years ago, it may take a little bit longer for the average consumer to warm up to the idea of using voice-activated intelligent assistants to power more aspects of their daily lives. But while these devices haven't reach critical mass yet, the bridge is there: As stated, a majority of consumers already use voice commands on their smartphones. And, moreover, voice commands have an inherently "human" element; unlike VR or Google Glass, people ask for information using their voice absolutely everywhere, everyday, and they always have.
It is the voice-activated device that millions of Britons use to play music, order groceries or check on the weather. Now police are exploring whether an Amazon Echo could be used by victims and witnesses to report crimes without getting off their sofa. They want to use the technology to deliver daily crime bulletins direct to householders about offences being committed in their area, wanted suspects, missing people and even the whereabouts of the force helicopter. Lancashire Police is set to be the first force to launch news briefings through voice-activated smart speakers so local residents can'Ask Alexa' what is happening in their street or ward. The force plans to use the technology for internal'flash briefings' updating officers on anything from a major terrorist attack to reading out a crime log to an officer coming on duty.
Air, sea and land searches are under way for a couple whose car was found washed-up on a beach amid bad weather. James and Susan Kenneavy's empty Ford Kuga was found by workmen clearing debris on Drummore beach, near Stranraer in the south of Scotland, at about 07:30 on Thursday. The discovery followed heavy rain and flooding on Drummore coastal road on Wednesday. The search resumed at first light after being halted late on Thursday. A force spokesman said police were seeking the public's help to trace the couple, and the movements of their grey Ford Kuga - registration SJ15UKX.
The Crimestoppers charity is offering a 10,000 reward for information about the 1996 murder of Scottish schoolgirl Caroline Glachan. The 14-year-old was found dead on the banks of the River Leven in Dunbartonshire on 25 August 1996. Her mother, Margaret McKeich, recently led appeals as the inquiry reached 20 years without the killer being found. Crimestoppers said the reward would be paid for information which leads to an arrest and conviction. Information passed directly to the police will not qualify for the reward.