automatedsurvFor over a year now, social media data has been being integrated into CCTV networks to more effectively track, identify, and keep automated tabs on individuals. This is already underway, with over 10,000,000 faces already stored, and many more being harvested daily from networks such as Facebook. In response to this, some have turned to face paint or anti-surveillance fashion. Unfortunately, there is more about us being catalogued than just our faces.

The war for our privacy is not just being fought on a single front, and as a recent report by the Associated Press revealed that voice biometrics have been maturing at an accelerated pace. This involved the capacity to identify us, even among background voices and sounds, through our speech patterns and voice.

“We sometimes call it the invisible biometric,” said Mike Goldgof, an executive at Madrid-based AGNITiO, one of about 10 leading companies in the field.

These companies have helped enter more than 65 million voiceprints into corporate and government databases, according to Associated Press interviews with dozens of industry representatives and records requests in the United States, Europe and elsewhere.

The three-pronged system of tracking relies on facial, gait (how you walk), and voice recognition to keep automated tabs on individuals moving through and around public spaces. The fact remains that systems depending on humans to watch all of the available data-streams would be impossible on both a practical and financial level, which is why both governments and companies have been integrating artificial intelligence into these systems.

This is not the type of situation where any of us can say that we mustn’t worry simply because we have “done nothing wrong.” Privacy is empirically established as a cornerstone of individual development and creativity. Although these technologies can be used to simplify life and improve public safety, their transparency and oversight are a necessary part of maintaining balance and safeguarding privacy. These types of checks and balances have to be established both in the corporate and private sectors, and as soon as possible.