Google wants to listen to your calls

Google wants to listen to your calls

Your cell phone is ringing nonstop. It’s an unknown number, but you answer. On the other end, a voice says it’s calling from your bank and asking you to transfer. At that moment, your device vibrates and an alert appears on the screen: “Possible spam.” Google wants to make this feature a reality. At its developer conference on Tuesday, the tech giant announced its intention to enable a new feature that will use one of its artificial intelligence (AI) tools, Gemini Nano, to detect and warn users of potential scams during a call. To do this, the system will listen in real time for “conversation patterns commonly associated with scams.”

Through this feature, the multinational company led by Sundar Pichai aims to help users of the Android mobile operating system – the most popular in the world – from falling victim to phone scams or calls for commercial purposes. Google did not specify a specific date for launching the function, but indicated how optional it is.

However, this measure has raised concerns among privacy experts, who have warned of the risks that Google’s tracking of phone conversations could pose. “It’s very dangerous. It paves the way for centralized, client-side device-level scanning,” Meredith Whittaker, head of the encrypted messaging app Signal, complained in a message on social network X in 2018, which showed her fear that the system could be used for… Other. From “detecting scams” it’s a short step to “detecting patterns typically associated with seeking reproductive care” or “typically associated with providing LGBTQ resources” or “typically associated with reporting on tech workers.”

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step forward

“It sets up client-side scanning infrastructure on the device for more purposes than this, which regulators and legislators will want to abuse,” added academic Michael Fell, a professor at the University of London School of Law. Encryption expert and security technologist Matthew Green, a professor at Johns Hopkins University, shared Whittaker’s concern and warned that the European Union is taking another step forward in the proposed law aimed at combating child sexual abuse.

This detection model powered by Gemini Nano will run locally on each device. This means that the system will listen to your calls and analyze them using your mobile phone’s built-in AI, without automatically uploading their content to the cloud.

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