Google is truly peerless when it comes to corporate creepiness. The search (and everything else) giant is planning to kill passwords, replacing them with biometric indicators called the Trust API.
Trust was announced at the company’s I/O conference and has some “enormous financial institutions” as guinea pigs. Face shape, voice pattern and, here’s the kicker, how you type, move and swipe the screen are all used for authentication. Of course, for these to be used they have to be measured. If that does not make the hair on the back of your neck stand up, I don’t know what will.
Google has pitched this as revolutionary. No more passwords guys! Just like the movies, guys! Customers forget the movies in which this kind of tech appears often has people fighting to escape the terrible oppressors misusing it. Minority Report, that bit in Idiocracy, to get to the point of tech in the Matrix this is surely one of the stepping stones (inside a stone, inside a stone, inside a rock…).
In case you are wondering what “smart” – as in “smart city” or “smart home” – means:
— Evgeny Morozov (@evgenymorozov) 1 February 2016
The Guardian‘s report on the news is worth reading because there is no critique of this whatsoever. We’re left to customer inertia to police society’s norms. Meanwhile, Google’s offices in Paris were raided, and the company is now under investigation for “aggravated financial fraud and organized money laundering“.
French prosecutors argued that Google is not honest about the work it does in Paris, London and other modern cities. They claim Alphabet uses these satellite offices to claim their headquarters are in drizzly Dublin or some small enclave only known for extravagant wealth and lenient tax laws while still offering hot locations for their peppy workforce.
In January Google paid the UK Treasury £130m in back-taxes; France is seeking €1.6 billion. What’s the difference there? Well UK politicians would rather be working for Google than
Her Majesty’s Government their electorate. French authorities have said that they do not negotiate on the amount of tax; the hardass statist sobs. Google is not alone- McDonald’s got a tax bill for €300m for profits the French authorities believed they funneled through Luxembourg and Switzerland.