Monday, December 19, 2011

Cashless Voice Recognition System Now Being Converted to Analyze Behavior

Brandon Turbeville
Activist Post
December 15, 2011

In 2011, it is scarcely even possible to keep up with the new methods of surveillance and control being introduced by governments, corporations, and universities on what seems like a daily basis. I, myself, have had quite a time over the last few months trying to keep track of them all.

Indeed, in just a matter of months, we have seen the implementation of the Google Wallet Smartphone app in places like New Jersey and New York transportation systems, as well as the development of implantable microchips that can both react to -- and control -- the human brain. Not only that, but we have recently witnessed the introduction of vein scanners to the general public for the purpose of payment and identification.

However, with a recent announcement made by Homeland Security News Wire, it appears we can add one more strand in the web of the high-tech security grid that is being built before our eyes.

According to Homeland Security News Wire, research teams from all across the United States are hard at work developing a new voice recognition software that can analyze and determine whether or not a person is drunk, angry, or lying.

Dr. Julia Hirschberg, a computer science professor at Columbia University, is described in the article as being one of the researchers working on such a program. Her project involves the creation of a computer program that can “deconstruct an individual’s speech pattern to see if they are being honest by searching for cues like volume, changes in pitch, pauses between words, and other verbal signs.”

So far, Hirschberg’s team claims they have been able to tell whether or not an individual is lying with 70% accuracy.

The technology being developed by Hirschberg is similar in scope to the “emotion detectors” set to be implemented in Western airports, which claim to be able to translate subconscious eye movements, dilated pupils, biting, nose wrinkling, heavy breathing, pressing lips together, blinking, swallowing, and other facial movements into mathematical algorithms capable of predicting potential “terrorist” activity or emotions such as anger and resentment.

Another speech analysis research program, being conducted by Shrikanth Narayanan, a University of Southern California engineering professor, is set to develop a system that can analyze “an individual’s emotions using by using mathematical algorithms that scan hundreds of vocal cues like pitch, timing, and intensity.”

Although Narayanan claims that some emotions are difficult to determine, he says that anger is relatively easy to spot. He is also at work on a program that will be able to determine if an individual is drunk. However, that program, according to the report, has not progressed as far as the one focused on anger.

But perhaps the most interesting aspect of the research, particularly of Hirschberg’s programs, is the source of funding.

Interestingly enough, Dr. Hirschberg recently became the recipient of $1.5 million dollars by virtue of a grant from the U.S. Air Force to work on algorithms to analyze Arabic and Mandarin speakers. The grant also includes a directive to analyze English speakers, a very important tool if one is intent on tracking and tracing American citizens.

Of course, a $1.5 million grant from the Air Force simply means a $1.5 million grant from the U.S. taxpayer. So, ironically, the American people are funding the Big Brother control grid with their own money, but, unfortunately, with the level of knowledge currently held by the general public, that irony is likely to be lost forever.

In addition, Dr. Dan Jurafsky, a Professor at Stanford University whose research focuses on “the understanding of language by both machines and humans,” recently headed a study of the ability to analyze short conversations for qualities like friendliness and flirtatiousness. Dr. Jarufsky, whose research is quite similar to that of Dr. Hirschberg and Dr. Narayanan, was awarded a fellowship from The John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, an organization that is a major supporter of the Council on Foreign Relations, as well as numerous overseas and domestic programs that focus on “Sustainability” and “Population and Reproductive Health.”

However, programs that recognize voice prints are already in existence on the private market. Like the Google Wallet apps and the vein scanners that I have discussed previously in other articles, voice print recognition-based software is nothing new.

Indeed, in an article published in the New York Times, entitled “Software That Listens for Lies,” Anne Eisenberg writes that programs have been in place at call centers for some time with the ability to alert operators to potentially irate customers holding on the line.

Similar to the other forms of biometric identification, voice print software is also available for online payment. In what is being termed “Voice Biometric Technology,” a product created by VoiceVault (known as VoiceAuth), now allows shoppers to add items to an online shopping cart via their smartphones and subsequently make payments on the phones using their voice as an authorization program.

As seen in part one of the demonstration video below, once the product is brought up on the screen and the checkout steps have been taken, a randomly generated numeric code appears on the screen. At this point, the user must read the numeric code into the phone and the VoiceVault software will analyze and confirm the user’s identity based on their voice print, as seen in part two.

Another company, Perceive Solutions Inc., has also developed voice recognition software. However, Perceive Solutions Inc.’s version of the technology goes beyond the applications seen in VoiceVault’s version and it is also more indicative of the direction this technology will be headed once it is fully implemented in society.

Perceive’s software not only recognizes voice prints based on those voices already programmed into the system for authentification purposes, it allows for voice recognition and categorization of voices not yet entered into the system by the user.

Essentially, the software allows for users to receive calls or record the voices of others (by whatever means available) and then program those voices into the system for future recognition. This can easily be done without the other party’s permission or their knowledge. 
 The demonstration video below for the Voice Biometrics Software program offers a better understanding of how this works.              

Also, be sure to visit Perceive Solutions’ website to view the logo of the company. The all-seeing eye seems to be an increasingly popular symbol these days.

Nevertheless, it is important to understand that the technology on the scale of that being produced by Perceive Solutions is simply another brick in the Berlin wall of the high-tech security state. With these programs, each and every login serves as a data mining operation. Even better, it functions at the pleasure of the plebs who use it voluntarily, and not the result of a security state snooping project directed by force. Users of these programs unwittingly register and categorize themselves, so the majority of the work is essentially done for the technocratic authoritarians who wish to implement such a system in the first place. All the controllers need to do is introduce the surveillance net and the prey will take the bait and ensnare themselves.

Not only that, but the fact that this technology is able to catch voice prints from unwitting victims should also give rise to great concern about its use if it were to fall into the wrong hands – namely, those in the U.S. Corporate Government who would use it to document and spy on its own citizens, something that it has become rather open about as of late. Indeed, there is little doubt that this is the ultimate purpose of the technology to begin with.

With this in mind, imagine a surveillance state with the capability to record conversations held online or over the telephone. Now imagine that this surveillance state possesses the capability to record the voice prints of those conversations and store them in a database. Combine this technology with the incessant and voluntary online chatter by virtually every person in the country, digital accounts, palm scans, vein scans, blood databases, and Patriot Act snooping powers and, by now, you should be getting the picture of humanity’s future.

All of these capabilities are not only possible in the current system, they are readily available and they are being utilized. Never mind the fact that the private sector has had this type of technology for some time but, governments -- particularly the United States -- have had far more sophisticated systems for many years.

It is absolutely true that any system released and introduced to the general public has been obsolete for at least several generations and voice print recognition technology is no exception.

As a society, we have shown no signs of resisting this obvious encroachment on our basic freedom and, unfortunately, we have only helped to enslave ourselves that much more.

If the American people do not sever their gross attachment to convenience and gadgetry, there will be no hope for us in the future. For those of us who do value liberty and privacy, we must make our voices heard . . . even if they are being recorded.

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