…to not have these things in our homes.
According to internal documents seen Wednesday by local media, German interior ministers are considering a proposal that would allow data from speech assistants to be legally permissible as evidence for the prosecution of crimes.
“Speech assistants”—is that what the kids are calling these things? The speech assistants to which those German interior ministers refer are “smart” home devices like Alexa, Siri, smart TVs, presumably Cortana, and on and on—any device we allow in our naivete into our homes—that listen to our every word, every sound we sigh, and records the most current of them.
Those interior ministers say those “digital data saved on devices” are there to be “collected and evaluated by authorities.” Those data, those interior ministers piously claim, are “‘increasingly important’ for investigating capital crimes and preventing terrorist threats.”
All very high-minded and pure of intent. There’s no need of any natural limiting principle to constrain this surveillance. Because no government would ever grow…curious…of the doings inside a private home. No government would ever get so protective of its own prerequisites that it would look preemptively for untoward, or rude, criticisms. No government’s bureaucrat would ever eavesdrop on the sounds of pleasure flowing through a home for his own jollies.
This is the People’s Republic of China’s overt, face-by-face surveillance of citizens in the public square brought into the privacy of a home. And, like the PRC’s surveillance, this one would be done solely with speculative intent.
So far, this effort is overt only in Germany, but we need to be vigilant against its spread and to ensure our own government doesn’t try to embrace such an invasion of our castles, our homes—our privacy.