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Meta Files New Patent: Voice ID Data for User Authentication…Progress or Privacy Concern?

Patent | Aug 3, 2023

Pixabay Mohamed hassan voice recognition - Meta Files New Patent: Voice ID Data for User Authentication...Progress or Privacy Concern?

Image: Pixabay/Mohamed hassan

Meta, formerly known as Facebook, is taking a significant step towards enhancing user security and personalization. The company has recently filed a patent entitled "User Identification with Voiceprints on Online Social Networks."

This article will explore the details of this patent and what it means for users and advertisers along with a look at privacy and other concerns.

  • Voice ID Authentication and Security
    • Meta's new patent aims to record and analyze users' voices to determine a unique digital voiceprint. This voiceprint can be used for authentication, providing a higher level of security over traditional password-based login. Users will have the option to opt-in or opt-out of this feature, ensuring privacy and control.

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  • Personalized Content Experience:
    • The patent also describes a process where the social-networking system may detect multiple people speaking and identify them based on their voiceprints. This identification can lead to customized content, including advertisements, news feeds, and suggestions, personalized to match the interests of the identified users.
  • Integration with AR and Wearables
    • Meta's current Ray Ban Stories glasses already respond to voice commands. The new patent likely relates to the expanded use of voice for the next generation of wearables, including AR glasses.
    • It could be more about shared interests in augmented reality, based on friends' activities and locations.

Concerns Over Meta Listening to User Conversations

  • "Always Listening" Myth?  For years, there have been rumours that Facebook (now Meta) listens to private conversations to serve targeted ads. While Meta has consistently denied this claim, the new patent has reignited these concerns.

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  • What if the system picks up random voices in the background or misidentification? Could this lead to unrelated ads or content being displayed? The effectiveness and accuracy of this technology will be crucial to its success.  For example, if you use voice ID at a concert, and the mic picks up a passerby, you might end up receiving unrelated ads. The accuracy and effectiveness of this technology will be vital to prevent such mishaps.
  • Even though the patent specifies that users can opt-in or opt-out, the potential for misuse or accidental identification cannot be ignored.

Progress or Privacy Concern?

Meta's new patent for gathering Voice ID data is an innovative approach to user authentication and content personalization. It promises enhanced security and a more tailored user experience. However, the potential challenges and privacy concerns cannot be overlooked.


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